Accueil du site Collaborations / Réseaux Projets européens SPACE TRIPS — FP7 SPACE (2013 – 2016)

SPACE TRIPS — FP7 SPACE (2013 – 2016)

SPACE TRIPS relates to an advanced thermal to electric conversion for radio-isotopic power systems (RPS). Indeed RPSs are key for space exploration as the solar power is very low in deep space. These systems will be also useful for Mars exploration, where solar power is subject to nights and dust storms.

Europe aims to get its independence for such missions, and ESA has initiated development of RPS. For 100W (electric power available) range, high efficiency is desirable. Thermo acoustic (TAc), coupled with magneto hydrodynamic (MHD) generator is an innovating technology free of moving parts. Unfortunately, the Technological Readiness Level (TRL) is low and the priority is given to Stirling in ESA’s programme, even if ESA has supported the first studies of TAc-MHD systems. This project is complementary with ESA’s approach.

The objective of SPACE TRIPS is to raise TRL of this technology and show that this option is viable for European RPSs. The approach is based on 3 axes :
- Theoretical modeling (already developed but need to be validated)
- Experimentation of a thermo acoustic engine coupled with MHD generator
- Design of the space RPS, equipped with its conversion system.

The targets are to validate the process efficiency (close to 20% or above) and to justify the compatibility of the technology with space missions.

The Consortium, coordinated by the start-up company HEKYOM, associates three research organizations : CNRS in France, IPUL in Latvia and Rossendorf in Germany. The space and nuclear industries are represented by THALES ALENIA Space-Italy and AREVA. THALES ALENIA Space represents also the end-user in term of space systems.

Institute Néel is mainly involved in the work package Conversion Loop Experiment with the design of the TAc engine and the MHD machine. About 30 men.months are involved to complete this engineering activity.

Contact at Institut Néel : Emmanuel ROY

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