An innovative modification has been made to a previously patented design for the Phase Change Material (PCM) Thermal Generator, which works in water where ocean temperature alternatively melts wax in canisters, or allows the wax to re-solidify, causing high-pressure oil to flow through a hydraulic generator, thus creating electricity to charge a battery that powers the vehicle. In this modification, a similar thermal PCM device has been created that is heated and cooled by the air and solar radiation instead of using ocean temperature differences to change the PCM from solid to liquid. This innovation allows the device to use thermal energy to generate electricity on land, instead of just in the ocean.

This work was done by Jack A. Jones of Caltech for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NPO-48630


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Phase Change Material Thermal Power Generator

(reference NPO-48630) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the June, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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