Machining a horizontal Stirling engine

Satisfy your need to view some quality machining by looking through this Stirling engine worklog. We’ve seen these engines used a few other times in creating electricity from solar energy, powering a car, and even built from aluminum cans. [David Morrow] built this rendition to push the limits of his machining skills. We’d say he succeeded. The finished piece should run with the help of a heat source such as a candle. There’s no video of this engine, but we’ve embedded a clip of a similar device after the break in order to give you an idea of how this would work.

[Read more...]

12kW solar collector

Though not much info is readly available about it on the web, [Joe Carruth] is trying to build publicity (and venture capital) for his home-built solar electric generator. At its essence, it is a Stirling dish system with an adjustable composite mirror surface. This means that instead of having to rotate the entire contraption in order to follow the Sun, [Joe] only has to make  the mirror segments pivot. A Stirling steam engine at the tip converts the energy into the movement used to generate electricity. Solar power plants (or ‘farms’) that are emerging are beginning to consider the advantages of using more efficient Stirling dishes rather than less efficient solar panels. If anyone has an idea as to how [Joe] can automate sun tracking for the mirrors, please post it in the comments. A couple more videos on the topic (in general) are available below: [Read more...]

Dean Kamen’s Stirling engine car


[Dean Kamen]‘s company, the people behind the Segway, have created a hybrid car that uses a Stirling engine instead of a standard internal combustion engine. Stirling engines are closed cycle, meaning heat is applied to the outside of the cylinder walls. They are generally more efficient than standard car engines, but haven’t been used much outside of industrial applications. We suspect that the drivetrain arrangement is similar to the Chevy Volt where the engine is used to charge batteries which are in turn driving an electric motor. This is different from modern hybrids that can have either electric motor or gas engine driving the wheels. The article is unfortunately full of classic [Kamen] hyperbole and minimal detail. He calls the Stirling engine “an insurance policy” for the electric car since it can recharge the battery. That’s right, folks. If you run out of juice, you can put gas in the car. I doubt many Prius owners will fall out of their chair over that. Being a Stirling engine, we’d be more impressed if you could charge the thing by rubbing warm toast on it.

[via Make]