The Photon Vagabonds (TPV)

logo11 2023Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) Test Facility

Problem statement

Our world increasingly needs solutions to reduce carbon emissions as the effects of global warming become exponentially detrimental and permanent, though many renewable energy sources output power depending on weather and time of day. Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells are a breakthrough technology that can convert thermal radiation into electricity. They have the potential to facilitate low cost energy storage, allowing for further implementation of renewable resources. For example, metal forging plants exude large amounts of excess heat energy from their equipment. That heat energy is typically dissipated into the surroundings, but TPV cells have the ability to convert that excess heat into electricity. This may not seem feasible, but in laboratory settings, TPV cells have exhibited efficiencies as high as 41.1% [1]! However, future development of TPV cells is limited because it is hard to accurately measure the intangible quantities that the cells are evaluated on, such as waste heat, electricity generated, and efficiency. Our client, Prof. Eric Tervo, has focused his research on increasing the efficiency of TPV cells, but currently has no way of measuring the efficiency, or testing the TPV cell, in any way, and no viable commercial solutions exist. We intend to build a test facility that Prof. Tervo can use to accurately measure and quantify the characteristics of TPV cells. Other researchers, such as LaPotin, Datas (Cabrera), Narayan, and Prof. Tervo himself, have constructed TPV test facilities in the past. However, prior facilities had little flexibility in the size of emitters and devices (TPV cells) that could be tested [1]-[3]. Our final design will result in a test facility that is adjustable, accurate, and easy to use. Our test facility will help professor Tervo accomplish his research, and by doing so, help people around the world by producing knowledge and technology focused on curbing emissions. [1] A. Cabrera, A. Ramos, I. Artacho, M. Gomez, K. Gavin, A. Marti, and A. Datas, “Thermophotovoltaic Efficiency Measurement: Design and analysis of a novel experimental method,” 2018 Spanish Conference on Electron Devices (CDE), 2018. [2]A. LaPotin, K. L. Schulte, M. A. Steiner, K. Buznitsky, C. C. Kelsall, D. J. Friedman, E. J. Tervo, R. M. France, M. R. Young, A. Rohskopf, S. Verma, E. N. Wang, and A. Henry, “Thermophotovoltaic efficiency of 40%,” Nature, vol. 604, no. 7905, pp. 287–291, 2022. [3] T. C. Narayan, D. P. Nizamian, C. Luciano, B. A. Johnson, M. Limpinsel, A. R. Young, J. A. Briggs, L. Y. Kuritzky, A. J. Ponec, E. E. Perl, B. M. Kayes, E. J. Tervo, M. K. Arulanandam, R. M. France, R. R. King, M. A. Steiner, and D. M. Bierman, “Platform for accurate efficiency quantification of > 35% efficient Thermophotovoltaic cells,” 2021 IEEE 48th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2021.

Team membersteam 11 2023

Payton Bartow – leader
Vijay Shah – communicator
Madeline Morrell – accountant
Jon Carlson – admin



Eric Tervo, UW ECE & ME Departments