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Proceedings Paper

A micro solar heater for portable energy generation
Author(s): Raúl Zimmerman; Graham Morrison; Owen The; Gary Rosengarten
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Paper Abstract

This study presents a new concept that combines microtechnology with solar thermal energy to provide a free portable energy source. A water-methanol mixture flows through an array of parallel microchannels which are fabricated into a silicon matrix using conventional micro-fabrication techniques. A vacuum layer is interposed between the channels and the external surface to thermally insulate the channels from the ambient temperature. A selective coating is deposited on one of the vacuum walls to absorb the short wavelength incoming radiation and reduce the long wavelength radiation, hence reducing the heat losses. A geometry and material optimization is still being developed in order to obtain the highest possible efficiency for the micro-heater, while keeping a low pressure drop in the micro-channels. The methanol outlet temperature is predicted to be higher than 250°C. This temperature is required for hydrogen production in a methanol reforming micro-reactor. Therefore, it is envisaged that the micro-solar heater will supply the thermal energy needed for hydrogen generation, that can later be used as fuel for microfuel cells. Both technologies can be integrated in a portable device.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 January 2008
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6800, Device and Process Technologies for Microelectronics, MEMS, Photonics, and Nanotechnology IV, 68001A (11 January 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.759263
Show Author Affiliations
Raúl Zimmerman, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Graham Morrison, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Owen The, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Gary Rosengarten, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6800:
Device and Process Technologies for Microelectronics, MEMS, Photonics, and Nanotechnology IV
Hark Hoe Tan; Jung-Chih Chiao; Lorenzo Faraone; Chennupati Jagadish; Jim Williams; Alan R. Wilson, Editor(s)

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