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Linear Acoustic Nuclear Conversion Engine (LANCE), Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Nirvana Energy Systems (NES) has pioneered and is commercializing an innovative ThermoAcoustic Power Stick (TAPS), partially based on technology developed by Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) and NASA. NES has demonstrated and is building a 1 kW TAPS for use in remote power applications where reliability for 15+ years is of paramount importance. Moreover, NES is developing the Thermoacoustic Radioisotope Generator (TRG), a 300 W Radioisotope Power System (RPS), under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program for NASA based on TAPS technology. The novel TAPS technology has no hot moving parts and incorporates well proven, reliable linear motors and alternators in an engine based on the Stirling cycle. NES has designed, optimized, built and tested all sub-systems for reliability, ease of manufacturing and cost reduction over currently available Stirling engines. The TRG is a 300 W tunable power thermoacoustic device which is insensitive to radioisotope heat degradation, capable of 20+ years continuous operation, is inexpensive to manufacture using well established methods, and yields greater than 25% thermal to electrical efficiency all while being designed for a convertor specific power greater than 30 W/kg and anticipated system specific power near 10 W/kg. The TRG will serve as the foundation for the Linear Acoustic Nuclear Conversion Engine (LANCE), which will satisfy all of the Z1.03 solicitation requirements, as a robust and redundant 10 kW tunable power supply, representing the ultimate in remote power devices and the next step in reliable dynamic power conversion for space. More »

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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