Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) energy conversion devices which are used for direct generation of electricity as a clean energy source technology have shown innovative aspects and received renewed interest in recent years due to an increasing concern of environmental issues of emissions and the limitations of energy resources. TPV technology potentially offers several distinct advantages over other technologies. TPV power generation offers a potential application in direct generation of electricity in portable electric generators, stand-alone domestic gas-furnaces, silent electrical power supplies on recreational vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, cogeneration of electricity and heat, large-scale recovery of high-temperature waste heat from industrial processes such as glass-manufacture, and many others. In this paper, a background on the basic concept and performance aspects of TPV energy conversion are presented and some recent patents of TPV power generators with their important and relevant applications to direct generation of electricity are reviewed. The list of patents reviewed here is by no means supposed to be thorough or complete but demonstrates, however, evolution trends related to TPV power generation technology.
Keywords: Alternative clean energy technology, electric power generation, solar energy, thermophotovoltaic, TPV convertor, TPV emitter, TPV radiators, waste-heat applications, power generation technology, recreational vehicles
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