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The characteristics of an auxiliary discharge thermionic energy converter are derived and compared with experimental results. It is shown that the power expended in the auxiliary discharge can be as low as 10 per cent of the power generated by the converter. Thus, efficiencies of about 25 per cent and power output densities as high as 10 w/cm2 can be obtained at temperatures of about 1500Â°K provided that low work function anodes are developed. The specific advantages of the auxiliary discharge technique over the conventional cesium converters are discussed.