NASA STTR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 T8.01-9920
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Revolutionary (>30% Conversion Efficiency) Thermo-Electric Devices
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ultraefficient Themoelectric Devices

NAME: MicroXact, Inc. NAME: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
STREET: 2000 Kraft Drive, Suite 1207 STREET: Physics Dept, Robeson Hall (0435)
CITY: Blacksburg CITY: Blacksburg
STATE/ZIP: VA  24060 - 6373 STATE/ZIP: VA  24061 - 0002
PHONE: (540) 392-6917 PHONE: (540) 231-6544

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vladimir Kochergin
2000 Kraft Drive, Suite 1207
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 6373
(614) 917-7202

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 5
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Thermoelectric (TE) devices already found a wide range of commercial, military and aerospace applications. However, at present commercially available TE devices typically offer limited heat to electricity conversion efficiencies, well below the fundamental thermodynamic limit, calling for the development of higher efficiency materials. The team of MicroXact Inc., Virginia Tech and Sundew Technologies Inc. is proposing to develop a revolutionary ultrahigh efficiency thermoelectric material fabricated on completely new fabrication principles. The material comprises the three-dimensional "wells" of Bi2Te3/Bb2Te3 Quantum Well Superlattices fabricated by a conformal coating of macroporous silicon (MPSi) pore walls. Such a material will provide ZT >2 at macroscopic thicknesses of the material, permitting 15% or more conversion efficiencies. In Phase I of the project the thorough model of the proposed TE material was developed, the achievable efficiency and ZT of the material were confirmed through numerical modeling, and conformal coating of pore walls with Sb2Te3 was experimentally demonstrated, validating the proposed concept. In Phase II the team will fabricate the proposed material and device, and will demonstrate ZT>2 and conversion efficiencies exceeding 15%. After the Phase II MicroXact will commercialize the technology.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The largest immediate NASA application of the proposed ultraefficient thermoelectric materials and devices is thermoelectric generators, already actively using in a large number of NASA missions. The advantages of the proposed technology (unmatched efficiency combined with the small size and low weight) would provide the competitive advantage to MicroXact sufficient for successful market penetration. Other potential NASA applications, including potential powering small devices from human thermal energy, etc. can be allowed by the proposed technology as well. Due to the unique benefits the proposed ultrahigh efficiency TE materials and devices are expected to penetrate these and other NASA applications. The proposed concept, when developed and commercialized, is expected to cause a significant impact on the cost, safety and reliability of future NASA missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to NASA applications, the proposed ultraefficient thermoelectric materials and devices are expected to find applications in such fields as electronic device cooling (microprocessors, focal plane arrays, etc.), food storage/processing (wine cellars, Freon-free refrigerators), automotive and aviation industry (to enhance the fuel consumption). Due to the unique performance expected from proposed materials and devices all these markets can be potentially addressable with the proposed technology. The most promising market for initial penetration is believed to be the electronic component cooling market, where the benefits of the proposed technology (high efficiency combined with potentially reduced size) would provide the largest competitive advantage.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Thermoelectric Conversion

Form Generated on 05-25-10 13:36