Electricity generation to power future space missions
European Thermodynamics (ETL) has been working with Leicester University and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) on a project to use waste heat generated from the chemical element americium to extract electricity. This can then be used to power space missions of the future.
Americium is not found in nature but is a by-product of plutonium production in the nuclear power industry. ETL supplied the thermoelectric generator (TEG) modules for the programme.
TEGs are suitable for this use because of their:
- ability to harvest waste heat and convert to power (using the Seebeck effect),
- lightweight and compact structure with no mechanically moving parts,
- use in any orientation and
- robustness and reliability.
For more information on the project click here.
ETL have their own range of TEGs available directly or through RS Components/ Farnell. For more information on the products click here.
There is a new SPRINT programme to support further advancement of space qualified thermoelectrics optimised for space nuclear power applications, for more information see the SPRINT programme website.