Thermal Integral Micro-Generation (TIMGen) systems on the scale of a few Watts are proposed for use with solar or fuel-derived heat. The optics, the thermal receiver, and several alternative generation technologies, including MEMS heat engines (Stirling and Brayton cycles), thermal photovoltaics, and thermoelectric, are discussed. Analysis of system performance shows the potential for efficiency comparable to photovoltaic cells and large-scale thermal plants. A major advantage of thermal systems over PV cells is the possibility of hybrid operation, both with sunlight and with another heat source when sunlight is not available. The alternative heat source can be another renewable or conventional fossil fuel. TIMGen plants compared to large-scale centralized thermal plants offer the advantages of modularity, scalability, redundancy and low cost via mass production. They can prove to be a very attractive option both for remote, self-contained electricity generation, and as an alternative to large-scale centralized plants.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME|
|State||Published - May 2002|