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11 January 2008 A micro solar heater for portable energy generation
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Abstract
This study presents a new concept that combines microtechnology with solar thermal energy to provide a free portable energy source. A water-methanol mixture flows through an array of parallel microchannels which are fabricated into a silicon matrix using conventional micro-fabrication techniques. A vacuum layer is interposed between the channels and the external surface to thermally insulate the channels from the ambient temperature. A selective coating is deposited on one of the vacuum walls to absorb the short wavelength incoming radiation and reduce the long wavelength radiation, hence reducing the heat losses. A geometry and material optimization is still being developed in order to obtain the highest possible efficiency for the micro-heater, while keeping a low pressure drop in the micro-channels. The methanol outlet temperature is predicted to be higher than 250°C. This temperature is required for hydrogen production in a methanol reforming micro-reactor. Therefore, it is envisaged that the micro-solar heater will supply the thermal energy needed for hydrogen generation, that can later be used as fuel for microfuel cells. Both technologies can be integrated in a portable device.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Raúl Zimmerman, Graham Morrison, Owen The, and Gary Rosengarten "A micro solar heater for portable energy generation", Proc. SPIE 6800, Device and Process Technologies for Microelectronics, MEMS, Photonics, and Nanotechnology IV, 68001A (11 January 2008); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.759263
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