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School of Engineering

Power generation

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Associate Professor Tom Vandervelde is investigating new methods for solving inefficiencies in electricity production.
Two people in a lab

The National Science Foundation will fund Associate Professor Tom Vandervelde’s project, “Selective-Spectrum Thermophotovoltaics for Primary Power Generation and Energy Harvesting,” for a three-year grant term.

The investigation focuses on thermophotovoltaic cells (TPVs), a new type of device that can reduce or eliminate efficiencies in energy generation processes. Solar cells primarily absorb visible light, but TPV cells absorb infrared light (radiated heat) and could potentially be used to generate power from any heat source without moving parts.

Vandervelde, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, sees applications for this research in the improvement of existing energy conversion technologies, including natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy.