NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S3.03-9087
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Power Generation and Conversion
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Efficiency, Nanowire Based Thermoelectric Devices for Radioisotope Power Conversion

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Structured Materials Industries, Inc.
201 Circle Drive North, Suite 102/103
Piscataway, NJ 08854 - 3723
(732) 302-9274

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nick Sbrockey
sbrockey@structuredmaterials.com
201 Circle Drive North, Suite 102/103
Piscataway, NJ 08854 - 3723
(732) 302-9274

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This SBIR Phase I proposal responds to topic S3.03 of the 2010 NASA SBIR solicitation, for Power Generation and Conversion. Thermoelectric devices offer a simple and reliable means to convert radioisotope thermal energy into useable electrical power. Previously, thermoelectric devices based on bulk semiconductor materials have been limited by low conversion efficiencies, with Figure of Merit (ZT) values around 1.0 or less. Increasing ZT above 1.0 has thus far proved difficult, due to the fundamental limitation of identifying semiconductor materials with both a high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity.

This SBIR project will develop high efficiency thermoelectric devices based on nanowires. The use of nanotechnology provides a means to circumvent previous limitations, and achieve combinations of properties not possible with bulk materials. Phase I will demonstrate technical feasibility by producing high efficiency thermoelectric devices based on nanowires. In Phase II, we will build and demonstrate prototype high efficiency thermoelectric devices. Phase II will also develop low cost manufacturing technology for the nanowire based thermoelectric devices, and demonstrate a technology readiness level of TRL 6.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Future NASA missions for deep space and planetary exploration will require radioisotope power conversion systems, for reliable electrical power both near and far from solar radiation sources. Thermoelectric devices offer a simple and reliable means to convert radioisotope thermal energy into useable electrical power, with no moving parts. The high efficiency thermoelectric devices proposed in this SBIR effort will increase the amount of available power for NASA mission requirements, and reduce overall size and weight of the power system.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The high efficiency thermoelectric devices developed in the SBIR will also fill many terrestrial needs for renewable energy and energy harvesting. Presently, about 90% of the world's energy comes from burning fossil fuels. This chemical energy is converted to mechanical energy in heat engines, operating at about 30% to 40% efficiency. The result is about 15 terawatts of energy lost as waste heat. Capturing even a small fraction of this energy with thermoelectric energy harvesting devices would have a huge impact, in terms of dollars saved, reduced consumption of fossil fuels, and reduced emission of greenhouse gases. In additional to the primary energy savings, waste heat recovery systems reduce the auxiliary cooling required to protect people and sensitive components from the waste heat.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Conversion
Generation
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Nanomaterials
Smart/Multifunctional Materials
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)


Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12