Direct energy conversion in combination with Concentrating Solar Energy (CSP) is a promising combination to achieve higher efficiencies. The Alkali Metal Thermal to Energy Converter (AMTEC) is a direct heat to DC electricity converter, which has been developed several years ago at KIT-INR. The ATEFA (AMTEC Test Facility, see Fig. 1) has been utilized for further investigation and development of the AMTEC converter. ATEFA is designed to operate in a wide temperature range of 600 – 900 °C and up to 0.5 bar overpressure. For safety reasons the facility is sheathed by stainless steel (see Fig. 1 left).
|Figure 1. ATEFA in AMTEC laboratory (left); ATEFA internals (right)|
The investigations performed up to now were focused on the development of metal-ceramic joints, analyses and tests of coating materials for the electrolyte (electrodes), tests of different materials and structures for the current collector, analyses of the electrochemical, electrical and thermal performances of the AMTEC cell, as well as comparison of the experimental data with numerical models.