The proposed heat scavenging electrical power converter will find applications in NASA exploration missions to planets with atmospheres, such as Venus, Mars, and likely others. Example missions include small, power-limited probes released from an orbiter to enter the atmosphere, gather data during descent, land on the surface, and continue data gathering operations for some time. The proposed technology would generate electrical power during the hot atmospheric descent as well as surface operations. Another example would be a planetary sample return mission, where a small probe ascends a high speed through the atmosphere, with the converter providing power generated from scavenging heat from the vehicle's heat shield. Planetary missions to Venus and Mars are presently a part of the NASA roadmaps. Other applications of the proposed heat scavenging power converter include generation of electricity from hot cladding of radioisotopes used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators on years-long planetary missions and proposed to be used on decades-long planetary bases.
The proposed compact power generator devices have several aerospace and commercial applications. For example, power generator can be adapted for long range hypersonic vehicles reentering the earth's atmosphere. The customers for this application are the U.S. Air Force and the Navy. Compact, portable power generators are particularly suited for power generation on a small scale, such as for individual soldiers and campers/backpackers. In these applications, the hot source would be a burner consuming hydrocarbon fuel such as a portable propane cylinder, camping stove, etc. The government customers for this application include the U.S. Army, the U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Marines. Manufacturers of camping equipment would form a very large commercial customer base for this technology. The regenerative hydrides capability of our technology will have wide commercial applications in hydrogen storage systems for a variety of uses in the future hydrogen economy, including automobiles. Customers include various DoD agencies as well as a range of commercial manufacturers.