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Red Squirrel 08-13-2010 10:07 PM

Sterling engines
 
I was watching various sterling engine videos on youtube and it looks like an interesting concept. Makes me wonder why it is not put to use more.

I was thinking, this would probably work better in very hot climates, but why not have a big sterling engine that uses the attic as a heat source, and the the indoor as the cold air source? The temp difference should be decent to at least get some kind of displacement, no? This energy could be used to help cool down the house, or something.

Or how about a sterling engine generator? It would have a parabolic dish you point to the sun, and you have yourself a fuelless portable generator. Perfect for camping, or boating etc. I don't know how much watts you'd get out of something that is small enough to carry though. Is it insignificant? It seems to me this is a more efficient method of using the sun, then solar power as solar panels are only like 10% efficient, or something like that.

SPS-1 09-03-2010 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Squirrel (Post 485455)
Or how about a sterling engine generator?

You mean like this --- http://www.tesserasolar.com/north-am...technology.htm

Thats 25 kW ( when the sun is shining ) I don't see a size on the web site, but it looks pretty big. I don't think they are selling those yet, but it sure looks likes its going to cost a heck of a lot more that a 25 kW Generac generator.

Red Squirrel 09-03-2010 08:47 PM

Yeah seen those before, but yeah think they're like half a million each or something. You can have multiple connect to a controller. They move with the sun and all.

I could see big industrial places using these though.

nap 09-03-2010 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Squirrel (Post 495642)
Yeah seen those before, but yeah think they're like half a million each or something. You can have multiple connect to a controller. They move with the sun and all.

I could see big industrial places using these though.

there are a couple installations out west with those (or some similar)

http://www.internationalrivers.org/f...hermal_web.jpg

Daniel Holzman 11-21-2010 08:15 AM

Solar cells range from 10 to 20 percent efficiency. The pictures posted showing parabolic reflectors are not Stirling engines, they are boiling water or pressurized water steam turbines, where the water is heated directly by sunlight. I believe the maximum efficiency on those types of installations is close to 30 percent, however they are complex because you need a mechanical system to force the reflectors to track the sun.

Stirling engines come in a variety of types. and in theory they can be more efficient than internal combustion engines. They have never become popular because you need a large engine to generate a relatively small amount of power, and they are relatively expensive per kilowatt to manufacture. They operate off the Stirling cycle, named after Robert Stirling I believe, inventor of the concept. Internal combustion engines run off the Carnot cycle, and jet engines (steam turbines) run off the Brayton cycle.

nap 11-21-2010 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman (Post 537974)
Solar cells range from 10 to 20 percent efficiency. The pictures posted showing parabolic reflectors are not Stirling engines, they are boiling water or pressurized water steam turbines, where the water is heated directly by sunlight. I believe the maximum efficiency on those types of installations is close to 30 percent, however they are complex because you need a mechanical system to force the reflectors to track the sun..

actually, the units I posted are Stirling engines.

http://billbrownclimatesolutions.blo...renewable.html

Quote:

The SES Stirling Energy Systems SunCatcher is a 25-kilowatt (kW) Solar Power System consisting of a 38-foot diameter dish structure that supports 82 curved glass mirrors. The system is also called a heliostat because it tracks the movement of the sun throughout the day. The device labeled "Power Conversion Unit (PCU)" is the Stirling engine and its housing.

There are solar powered steam systems as well but the one I pictured is using Stirling engines.


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