Affiliation: National Institute of Aerospace, 100 Exploration Way, Hampton, VA 23666, USA.
An analysis of the patented technology related to the use of conventional sources of energy is presented and the benefits offered by renewable energy systems are outlined. Current trends of patents on energy conversion technology show that the combination of two or more different forms of energy could surpass the limits of each individual conversion cycle. Photovoltaic solar cell tandem with thermoelectric generator is one of the examples. Thermal portion of the solar energy can be also extracted with a thermoelectric device to generate electricity. In the paper two types of solar thermal collectors (thermoelectric layer under the photovoltaic solar cell layer and thermoelectric tandem system under parabolic thermal energy collector) with thermoelectric ink and applications are presented. The solar thermal energy systems can be used for a wide range of applications including space mission.