A new thermoelectric power generator from Johnson Space Center consists of an oven box and a solar cooker/solar reflector unit. The solar reflector concentrates sunlight into heat and transfers the heat into the oven box via a heat pipe.

A thermoelectric power generator consists of an oven box and a solar cooker/solar reflector unit. The solar reflector concentrates sunlight into heat and transfers the heat into the oven box via a heat pipe. The oven box unit is surrounded by five thermoelectric modules and is located at the bottom end of the solar reflector. When the heat is pumped into one side of the thermoelectric module and ejected from the opposite side at ambient temperatures, an electrical current is produced.

Typical temperature accumulation in the solar reflector is approximately 200 °C (392 °F). The heat pipe then transfers heat into the oven box with a loss of about 40 percent. At the ambient temperature of about 20 °C (68 °F), the temperature differential is about 100 °C (180 °F) apart. Each thermoelectric module, generates about 6 watts of power. One oven box with five thermoelectric modules produces about 30 watts.

The system provides power for unattended instruments in remote areas, such as space colonies and space vehicles, and in polar and other remote regions on Earth.

This work was done by John R. Saiz of Johnson Space Center and James Nguyen of Jacobs-Sverdrup. MSC-24268-1