Using diamonds to generate green electricity seems an extravagant idea but not so to Dr. Neil Fox from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry. The researcher has been awarded a €980,000 grant by an energy company E.ON to develop a true alternative of photovoltaic systems to generate solar electricity.
Theplan is to make use of devices called thermionic energy converters(TECs), which carry special electrodes using nano-particles ofindustrial diamond powered, which isn’t that expensive and is readilyavailable as well. TECs are commonly used in spacecrafts where theyrequire temperature well above 1,500?C to produce sufficientelectricity to power the craft.
To make the system feasiblefor use on the surface of the planet, Dr. Fox replaced the conventionalelectrodes with diamond-based material that allows the TECs to work attemperatures as low as 320?C, which can easily be achieved by focusingsunlight using parabolic dishes, which are common in today’s CSP towersgenerating multi-megawatts of electricity.
Via: University of Bristol [Press Release]