Rīta Panorāma

Berlīnes "Zelta lācis" dokumentālai filmai "Dahomeja"

Rīta Panorāma

Rīta Panorāma

Latvijā rada jaunu elektrības ieguves paņēmienu

Latvian researchers work on new electricity generation method

Latvian scientists have managed to demonstrate for the first time in the world a new type of electricity extraction technique that is suitable for remote space missions, as well as on the ground, in places where it is not possible or very expensive to supply electricity, Latvian Television reported February 26.

For the first time in the world, a new type of power generation technique has been demonstrated that can be used for extreme long-range space missions. The prototype “SpaceTRIPS” was produced at the Institute of Physics of the University of Latvia (LU). It is designed to combine two very rare technologies in the world: thermoacoustic engine, namely, a machine that converts nuclear fuel heat into sound in space, and a generator that converts sound into electricity.

“What is thermoacoustics at all? There's a small display stand here. I have a normal tube in my hand. Inside the tube is a metallic sieve. The sieve serves as a heat exchanger. I'll warm up one end. One end will heat up, the other will be cooler. Let's see if this way it's possible to generate sound by converting heat into sound. I'll warm it up a little. It's getting red,“ said Artūrs Brēķis, lead researcher at the LU Institute of Physics.

The SpaceTRIPS machine works on a similar basis.

“Two thermoacoustic engines in the machine. So two heat converters in sound, sound generators. The two are connected in a loop. There's a loop at the top. One creates a wave of sound. The sound wave spreads through the tube, enters the next engine, is amplified, and thus goes back to the first, forming a closed sound wave and some of the sound power in these branches goes straight to the liquid metal that is inside the generator. Sodium fluctuates in a magnetic field back and forth, and that way, we can generate electricity,” the scientist said.

The advantage of this technology is that it doesn't have moving parts. The only thing that moves is liquid metal, which doesn't require any maintenance as a result, which is critical for space missions that last decades.

“When we find that the experiment is successful, it was indescribable sensations. Indeed, champagne was poured, and it can be compared to winning Latvian ice hockey last year's championship. Created by the LU Institute of Physics, a new method of generating electricity that can be used in space missions,” he added.

The facility was developed in collaboration with scientists from France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. Latvians built the machine itself and tested it in the lab. The facility has already drawn interest from the European Space Agency.

He is confident the technology could be useful not only in space probes but also on the ground, producing electricity in places where no infrastructure has been established. All you need is a source of heat. This can be provided by solar collectors, for example, and then the new plant will be able to produce electricity in large enough quantities.

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