The Thermionic Converter

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Thermionic Converters

At the beginning of the year at the Superyacht Design Festival in Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy), WIDER’s President Marcello Maggi announced a revolutionary technology: the Thermionic Converters (TCs). Responding to ever more demanding environmental requirements, the Thermionic Converters are solid-state devices that are able to transform heat directly into electricity with no moving parts, consisting of two metal plates separated by a vacuum gap. Developed by the Fintel Energia Group SpA, the technology will be the sole right of the WIDER shipyard where the nautical industry is concerned.

Thermionic Converters

A further step towards a fully electric future

The Thermionic Converters are solid-state devices that are able to transform heat directly into electricity with no moving parts, consisting of two metal plates separated by a vacuum gap. When one metal plate is heated to high temperatures, the surface will emit electrons across the vacuum gap to the cold metal plate, resulting in usable electrical energy. Historically, this technology has been used to power satellites because these devices are very compact and require almost no maintenance.

For many years, the drawback of TCs was a low conversion efficiency (4%) and their need for extremely high temperatures (>1800 C°). By revolutionizing the materials used and developing new system architectures, efficiency has been increased by >20x and the activation temperature has been dramatically lowered.

Compatible technology

The resulting technology is finally compatible for use in thousands of applications, creating the world’s first cost-effective combined heat and power solution.

There are many advantages of the Thermionic Converters including the fact that they are small and lightweight, they can now fit inside any source of heat and transform it into direct electricity.  There are no moving parts and therefore there is almost no need at all for maintenance.

Implementation of revolutionary technology

The aim is for the Italian shipyard to apply this revolutionary technology on all builds, namely the WIDER 180 and WIDER 135. The energy produced by the thermionic converters will be stored in the batteries to satisfy the Hotel Load that is required. The production of the 54m WIDER 180 will begin in the next weeks with delivery foreseen in two-years.

For further information contact: Head of Communication – Martina Casagrande mcasagrande@wider-yachts.com

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