It is possible to operate a heat engine using a cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, as a heat sink and the atmosphere as a heat source.(C. A. Ordonez, American Journal of Physics 64), (1996) 479-481. With sufficient work produced per unit mass of liquid nitrogen, such a cryogenic heat engine may be suitable for powering short range, non-polluting automobiles.(C. A. Ordonez, Energy Conversion and Management 41) (2000) 331-341. Using existing liquid nitrogen plants to produce liquid nitrogen at about 50% of Carnot efficiency, and using renewable energy to power the liquid nitrogen plants, the cost to use liquid nitrogen to power an automobile per mile driven would be a few times the cost of using gasoline in the U.S. The increased ``fuel" cost may be acceptable for short range vehicles provided such vehicles have an acceptable price. We report on thermal-to-electrical energy conversion systems being studied for use as cryogenic heat engines. Specifically, capacitors made using paraelectric materials can provide energy conversion based on the electrocaloric effect. The electrocaloric effect is a change in electric field across a material that results from a change in temperature of the material.
APS Texas Sections Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- October 2001