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Proceedings Paper

Recent Advances In Alkali Metal Thermoelectric Converter (AMTEC) Electrode Performance And Modeling
Author(s): C. P. Bankston; R. M. Williams; B. Jeffries-Nakamura; M. E. Loveland; M. L. Underwood; T. Cole
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Paper Abstract

The Alkali Metal Thermoelectric Converter (AMTEC) is a direct energy conversion device, utilizing a high sodium vapor pressure or activity ratio across a beta"-alumina solid electrolyte (BASE). It has been operated at a device efficiency of 19% and at power densities near 1.0 W/cm2. This paper describes progress on the remaining scien-tific issue which must be resolved to demonstrate AMTEC feasibility for space power systems: a stable, high power density electrode. Two electrode systems have recently been discovered at JPL that now have the potential to meet space power requirements. One of these is a very thin sputtered molybdenum film, less than 0.5 micron thick, with over-lying current collection grids. This electrode has experimentally demonstrated stable performance at 0.4-0.5 W/cm2 for hundreds of hours. Recent modeling results show that at least 0.7 W/cm2 can be achieved. The model of electrode performance now includes all loss mechanisms, including charge transfer resistances at the electrode/electrolyte interface. A second electrode composition, co-sputtered platinum/tungsten, has demon-strated 0.8 W/cm2 for 160 hours. Systems studies show that a stable electrode performance of 0.6 W/cm2 will enable high efficiency (near 20%) space power systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 April 1988
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 0871, Space Structures, Power, and Power Conditioning, (6 April 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.943630
Show Author Affiliations
C. P. Bankston, California Institute of Technology (United States)
R. M. Williams, California Institute of Technology (United States)
B. Jeffries-Nakamura, California Institute of Technology (United States)
M. E. Loveland, California Institute of Technology (United States)
M. L. Underwood, California Institute of Technology (United States)
T. Cole, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0871:
Space Structures, Power, and Power Conditioning
Raymond F. Askew, Editor(s)

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