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Proceedings Paper

Wireless power technology for application-specific scenarios of high-altitude airships
Author(s): Sang H. Choi; James R. Elliott; Glen C. King; Peter T. Lillehei
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Paper Abstract

A new power concept has been contemplated for High Altitude Airship (HAA) under the consideration of direct energy conversion cycles, such as photovoltaic (PV) cells and advanced thermoelectric (ATE) generator. The HAA has various potential applications and mission scenarios that require onboard energy harvesting and power distribution systems. Both PV cells and an ATE system were briefly compared to identify the advantages of ATE for HAA applications in this study. Utilizing the estimated high efficiency of a threestaged ATE in a tandem mode, the ATE generates a higher quantity of harvested energy than PV cells for mission scenarios. The ATE's performance figure of merit of 5 was considered to estimate the cascaded efficiency of a three-staged ATE system. The estimated efficiency of a tandem system appears to be greater than 60%. Based on this estimated efficiency, the configuration of a HAA and the power utility modules are defined. Conventional photovoltaic cells have been used for NASA's long duration airplanes, the solar-powered Pathfinder, and remotely piloted aircraft [1]. However, the cost and weight of high efficiency photovoltaic cells pose a shortcoming for wide and unlimited applications. Among others is the fuel cell, but it is a fuel-carrying power generation system. A conceptual study for the HAA power budget plan has been done at NASA Langley Research Center by utilizing new nanomaterials for solar power harvesting.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 March 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6172, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Electronics, MEMS, BioMEMS, and Nanotechnology, 61721D (31 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.657130
Show Author Affiliations
Sang H. Choi, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
James R. Elliott, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Glen C. King, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Peter T. Lillehei, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6172:
Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Electronics, MEMS, BioMEMS, and Nanotechnology
Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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