Hi-Z Technology has designed, built and tested a small thermoelectric module that is well suited to use the 1 watt radioisotope heater unit (RHU) as a heat source. The RHU is commonly used on space missions to keep electronics warm. Combining the Hi-Z module with the RHU allows the RHU to provide up to 40mW of electric power and 960mW of thermal power to heat instruments. The availability of this proposed radioisotope power supply (RPS) would broaden the range of missions that can be addressed by mission planners by enhancing the ability of space probes and experimental packages to operate in conditions that were previously not possible. The 20 year life expectancy, solid state nature and high reliability of the RPS make it an ideal solution for a wide range of missions including lunar, Martian and deep space missions. The RPS technology is already proven having been used in applications exceeding ten years. The purpose of this proposal is to enhance the shock resistance of the RPS. Hi-Z's design can survive up to 2,000G's in its axial dimension and could easily survive launch. The proposed work will enable the RPS to survive shocks up to 10,000G's making it useful in a wider range of missions. The objective of the overall 3-Phase program is to design, build, test and deliver a new RPS to NASA that uses a 1Wt RHU heat source. The technical objectives of the Phase II effort are as follows: 1. Survive a 10,000 G shock 2. Deliver about 40mW of electrical power 3. Have a life expectancy of about 20 years (30mW at EOL)More »
Hi-Z supports NASA's extraterrestrial missions thru the development of proprietary, superior low power thermoelectric devices. It is anticipated that the core technology of the thermoelectric generator will be developed by Hi-Z, with system-level packaging and heat source design accomplished by NASA. At the completion of this process, anticipated to take 2-3 years, the technology will be mission ready. Hi-Z will strive to enhance the quality and performance of its devices so NASA would use them on future missions. Furthermore, with NASA's permission, Hi-Z would reach out to NASA's counterparts in Europe, Japan and India to sell them the same or related device.
Hi-Z's improved and proprietary, scalable low power thermoelectric generator (40 mW) designed for extraterrestrial application in conjunction with a radioisotope power supply could be attractive for both extraterrestrial system designers as well as for more conventional terrestrial applications in the emerging energy harvesting market. Accordingly, Hi-Z will consider the following two markets for the new technology. 1)Microsatellite market: is growing tremendously and with the continued use of the CubeSat standard, further miniaturization of microelectronics and related technology such as sensors and wireless communication will continue. In addition, government and civilian applications globally are on the rise with increasing focus on earth observation, scientific, communication, remote sensing and reconnaissance missions. 2) Energy harvesting market: is also rapidly growing and relates to converting energy from existing ambient sources into a useful energy for power generation in non-grid applications and devices. When analyzing this market by energy source, thermal device sales in 2011 accounted for $40 million of the $323 million industry, representing 14.4% of the industry. The CAGR for thermal devices is 43.2%, leading to projected revenue of $445 million in 2017. Thus, Hi-Z wishes to pursue both the Microsatellite and Energy Harvesting Markets for Non-NASA Commercial Applications.
|Organizations Performing Work
|HI-Z TECHNOLOGY, Inc.
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
|San Diego, California
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)