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Ideas merging nuclear science & renewable energy technology

  1. Sep 22, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking for a senior design project idea that incorporates nuclear science/engineering with the technology used in renewable energy engineering.

    My partner and I have found the idea of betavoltaics but doubt we'd have the required beta sources available in our labs.

    The project could also be based on energy storage design or any idea that could be applicable to both, nuclear and renewable energy.

    Your help is much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2015 #2


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    Beta emitting isotopes are not renewable since the particular radionuclide must be created to replace what decays. The idea behind beta sources would be to collect the electrons in a direct conversion system. This is a challenge. Otherwise, one has to use the thermal energy from the particles slowing down and convert the thermal to mechanical (find the ideal thermodynamic cycle) and then convert mechanical to electrical, which is usually done with a turbine-generator set.

    Renewables like geothermal, solar, hydro and wind are renewable in the sense that humans don't need to create the energy source, but simply tap into what the earth and sun produce as energy.
  4. Sep 22, 2015 #3
    Yes, absolutely sir.

    My senior design partner is from renewable energy engineering while I am from nuclear science which is why we are looking for a collaborative project in which we both can apply our knowledge and skills

    The only reason we saw betavoltaics as nuclear + renewable technology was because it uses semiconductor technology (SiC in particular) which is similar to the photovoltaic panels used to capture solar radiation. A direct conversion system would be more efficient than this for sure. We'll have to research to see if our university can be accommodating.
  5. Sep 26, 2015 #4
    Thats a bit of an expensive build though dont you think? even if its successful it is highly unlikely you will generate enough to make it cost efficent (in comparison to a regular generator) not to mention since your talking about using solar equipment you will likely end up doing alot of polluting, you should spend extra time on your safety precautions and legal guidelines before you start, other than that good luck.
  6. Oct 6, 2015 #5
    Cost efficient, polluting & legal guidelines?
    It's a freaking final year engineering project, none of that matters.

    All that matters is whether the school has the facilities & will provide sufficient funds.They just want to see that you can design & build something that applies the skills you've learned.

    I think it's a great idea.
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