The proposed high temperature energy conversion ceramics will provide structural Energy Harvesting where other technologies fail due to high temperature or high radiation exposure conditions. These function in situations where other environmental energy conversion may not feasible. This can include installation in propulsive systems such as fuel tanks, engines or secondary launch systems both primary and boost, during launch that are not normally exposed to solar, but have very substantial levels of mechanical (elastic) vibration energy that can be converted to electrical energy (with the further benefit of inducing structural damping. Boeing has already identified that the proposed technology could have direct application to several avionics programs that will encounter high temperatures (such as Venus) or high radiation (such as the Van Allen belts, Europa or Io) or on potential Heliosphere missions such as a Solar Probe Mission.
Although there are many other potential commercial applications, our near term interest is on the oil & gas industry. Solid State Ceramics Inc, (SSC, Inc) has been working with the Oil & Gas industries in regard to transition of its high temperature withstand ceramic-based power technology. At this time, down well communications are very restricted due to the very high temperatures of operation, battery technology is generally unsafe at such temperatures, and not used. Ceramic energy harvesters could safely and reliably harvest the mechanical energy (there is lots), at the very elevated temperatures encountered during exploration and monitoring, to power remote communications. These same high temperature capable energy-harvesting devices can remain at these locations to power other sensors installed for monitoring normal energy extraction performance and incipient failures.