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Directory:Power Chips PLC

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Power Chips™ use thermionics to convert heat directly into electricity. This will be one of the first industrial applications of nanotechnology. These small, solid-state devices promise to improve current power generation and waste heat recovery techniques. Power Chips will deliver up to 70-80% of the maximum (Carnot) theoretical efficiency for heat pumps (conventional power generation equipment operates at up to 40% Carnot efficiency). (Ref. PowerChips home page.)

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Power Chips PLC


Physics

Text copied from Power Chips web site

By creating a heat differential, energetic electrons are made to "tunnel" from one side of a tiny vacuum gap to another, creating a usable flow of electric current. This process is called thermotunneling and is based on known principles of quantum physics.

As a result of certain states being forbidden, electrons are forced to a higher energy level. The work function - the amount of energy needed for an electron to leave the surface -- has dropped. And Power Chips that work at low enough temperatures to recover waste heat become achievable.

Image:Power_Chips_Physics.png

Efficiency

The projected Carnot efficiency should be 70%-80%, which compares to a 15%-30% Carnot efficiency of today's internal combustion motors and turbines.

Comments

See Discussion page

  • Environmental Heat Engine - Yahoo!Groups discussion list surrounding the environmental heat engine concept. Encouraging replications, refinement of theory, and ultimately getting a feasible product to market.

See also


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