A detailed theoretical study of a heat-driven lamp has been performed. This lamp uses a plasma produced in a thermionic diode. The light is produced by the resonance transition of cesium. An important result of this study is that up to 30% of the input heat is predicted to be converted to light in this device. This is a major improvement over ordinary thermionic energy converters in which only approx. 1% is converted to resonance radiation. Efficiencies and optimum inter-electrode spacings have been found as a function of cathode temperature and the radiative escape factor. The theory developed explains the operating limits of the device.