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11/11/2007

UNIVERSITY
OF GÄVLE STIRLING ENGINE

MAIER Christoph
GIL Arnaud
AGUILERA Rafael
SHUANG Li
YU Xue
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Index

Summary ........................................................................................................................ 3
Introduction .................................................................................................................... 4
History............................................................................................................................ 5
Presentation of Stirling Engines..................................................................................... 7
I. Stirling thermodynamic cycle ............................................................................. 7
II. Engine configurations ......................................................................................... 8
1. Alpha Stirling: ................................................................................................. 9
2. Beta Stirling................................................................................................... 11
3. Gamma Stirling ............................................................................................. 13
4. Other types .................................................................................................... 14
Reasons to use a Stirling Engine .................................................................................. 15
Analyze from Economic point ..................................................................................... 18
Applications of the Stirling power ............................................................................... 20
I. Cars ................................................................................................................... 20
II. Submarine ......................................................................................................... 21
III. Aircrafts ......................................................................................................... 22
IV. Heat and power System ................................................................................. 23
V. Cryocooler......................................................................................................... 24
VI. Nuclear power ............................................................................................... 24
VII. Solar Energy .................................................................................................. 25
Conclusion ................................................................................................................... 29
References .................................................................................................................... 31

2
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Summary

This essay mainly makes an exposition of the Stirling Engine. Firstly, the
history of Stirling Engine is showed to make a guide of first comprehension. Then the
Stirling Engine’s thermodynamic cycle is explained and the configuration is analyzed,
which we do to make sure a further insight into the Stirling Engine. After that, the
reasons to use a Stirling Engine are discussed, especially from an economic point of
view. This is to describe why the Stirling Engine is widely used in nowadays’ world.
And the last part is to show out how the Stirling Engine is applied in each field. But
with a special focus on sterling engines in applications with renewable energies. This
whole essay displayed a broad overall presentation to the Stirling Engine, and
analyzed its intrinsic value for the future.
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Introduction
"…These imperfections have been in a great
measure removed by time and especially by the
genius of the distinguished Bessemer. If Bessemer
Iron or steel had been known thirty five or forty
years ago there is a scarce doubt that the air
engine would have been a great success … It
remains for some skilled and ambitious mechanist
in a future age to repeat it under more favorable
circumstances and with complete success…"
(Written in the year 1876 by Dr. Robert Stirling
[1790-1878])

Figure 1 : Sketch of Robert Stirling of his invent

The Stirling Engine was invented by Robert Stirling. This device was born as a
competence to the vapor machine, since a Stirling Engine works with smaller pressures than
the device created by Watt and it did not require a qualified train engineer. At the end of
s.XIX with the development of the internal combustion engine and the appearance of electric
engines, the machine of this study was forgotten.

Nowadays the technology that involves the invention of Robert Stirling is in


completely development because of the fact that now very useful applications are available.

This document travels in the history of this curious device looking for reasons of this
incredible development in this called high technology with its different applications and doing
an analysis from the point of view of the economy. This project explains the principle
function of the engine with a deep investigation. And we show how the Sterling Engine in
combination with renewable energy sources can be part of a sustainable energy supply.
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History

The Stirling Engine is one of the hot air engines. It was invented by Robert
Stirling (1790-1878) and his brother James. His father was interesting in engine and
he inherited it. He became a minister of the church at Scotland in 1816. At this period,
he found the steam engines are dangerous for the workers. He decided to improve the
design of an existing air engine. He hope it wound be safer alternative. After one year,
he invented a regenerator. He called the “Economiser” and the engine improves the
efficiency. This is the earliest Stirling Engine. It is put out 100 W to 4 kW. But the
internal combustion engine substituted for it quickly. The Ericsson invented the solar
energy in 1864 and did some improvements for after several years. Robert’s brother,
James Stirling, also played an important role in the development of Stirling engines.

Figure 2 : Earliest Stirling engine

Robert Stirling gets a patent for the economizer with an air engine
incorporating it in 1817. Since the Stirling engine worked at a lower pressure, and
could not cause steam burns, the danger to explode is impossible. In 1818 he built the
first practical exponent of his engine, used to pump water from a quarry. The
inventors sought to create a safer engine instead of steam engines at that time, whose
boilers often exploded as a result of high pressure of the steam and the inadequate
materials.

The original patent by Reverend Stirling was called the "economizer", for its
improvement of fuel-economy. The patent also mentioned the possibility of using the
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device in an engine. Several patents were later determined by two brothers for
different configurations including pressurized versions of the engine. This component
is now commonly known as the "regenerator" and is essential in all high-power
Stirling devices.

Figure 3 : Stirling Engine’s principle of operation

Stirling engine of the second generation began in 1937.The Philips of Holland


used new materials and technology to ascend a very high level. The knowledge about
the heat transfer and fluid physical, which is a great significance to improving of the
structure and raised the stability.

Throughout World War II and by the late 1940s, Philips’ subsidiary Johan de
Witt does this work continued. And they did the Type 10, incorporated into a
generator set as originally planned The set progressed through three prototypes
(102A, B, and C), with the production version, rated at 200 watts electrical output
from a bore and stroke of 55x27mm, being designated MP1002CA.

In 1951, the price of Stirling engine is too high for the market. It made used of
radios at that time. Though the MP1002CA may have been a dead end, it represents
the blooming of the modern age of Stirling Engine development. In addition to which
the advent of transistor radios with their much lower power requirements meant that
the market for the set was fast disappearing. Though the MP1002CA may have been a
dead end, it represents the start of the modern age of Stirling engine development.

6 Stirling Engine
Presentation of Stirling
Engines

I. Stirling thermodynamic
thermodyna cycle

The Stirling engine cycle is a closed cycle and it contains, most commonly a
fixed mass of gas called the "working fluid" (air, hydrogen or helium). The principle
is that of thermal expansion
ansion and contraction of this fluid due to a temperature
differential.
So the ideal Stirling cycle consists of four thermodynamics
thermodynamic distinct processes
acting on the working fluid: two constant-temperature
temperature processes and two constant-
constant
volume processes.

Each
ch one of which can be separately analysed:

 1-2: isothermal compression process.


process Work W1-2 is done on the working
fluid, while an equal amount of heat Q1-2 is rejected by the system to the
cooling source. The working fluid cools and contracts at constant temperature
TC.
 2-3: constant
onstant volume displacement process with heat addition.
addition Heat Q2-3 is
absorbed by the working fluid and temperature is raised from TC to TH. No
work is done.
 3-4: isothermal expansion process.
process Work W3-4 is done by the working fluid,
fluid
while an equal amount of heat Q3-4 is added to the system from the heating
source. The working fluid heats and expands at constant temperature TH.
 4-1: constant volume displacement process with heat rejection.
rejection Heat Q4-1 is
rejected by the working fluid and temperature decrease from TC to TH. No
work is done.

Figure 4 : A pressure/volume graph of the ideal Stirling


cycle

Stirling Engine 7
The process lines in the figure above reflect the properties of an ideal gas. The
main processes, like for most heat engines, are cooling, compression, heating and
expansion. A Stirling engine operates through the use of an external heat source and
an external heat sink having a sufficiently large temperature difference between them.

Compared to the ideal cycle, the efficiency of a real engine is reduced by


irreversibilities, friction, and the loss of short-circuit conducted heat, so that the
overall efficiency is often only about half of the ideal (Carnot) efficiency.

The gasses used inside a Stirling engine never leave the engine. There are no
exhaust valves that vent high-pressure gasses, as in a gasoline or diesel engine, and
there are no explosions taking place.

Another useful characteristic of the Stirling engine is that if supplied with


mechanical power, it can function as a heat pump (reversibility of the Stirling cycle).

Understanding how a Stirling engine works is not a simple matter. It is not


overly intuitive. Let’s explain the device through the presentation of the different
engines configuration.

II. Engine configurations

Mechanical configurations of Stirling engines are classified into three


important distinct types: Alpha, Beta and Gamma arrangements.

These engines also feature a regenerator (invented by Robert Stirling). The


regenerator is constructed by a material that conducts readily heat and has a high
surface area (a mesh of closely spaced thin metal plates for example).

When hot gas is transferred to the cool cylinder, it is first driven through the
regenerator, where a portion of the heat is deposited. When the cool gas is transferred
back, this heat is reclaimed. Thus the regenerator “pre heats” and “pre cools” the
working gas, and so improve the efficiency.

But many engines have no apparent regenerator like beta and gamma engines
configurations with a “loose fitting” displacer, the surfaces of the displacer and its
cylinder will cyclically exchange heat with the working fluid providing some
regenerative effect.

8 Stirling Engine
1. Alpha Stirling:

Alpha engines have two separate power pistons in separate cylinders which are
connected in series by a heater, a regenerator and a cooler. One is a “hot” piston and
the other one a “cold piston”.

Figure 5 : Alpha engine’s configuration

The hot piston cylinder is situated inside the high temperature heat exchanger
and the cold piston cylinder is situated inside the low temperature heat exchanger.
The generator is illustrated by the chamber containing the hatch lines.

Expansion: At this point, the most of Transfer: At this point, the gas has
the gas in the system is at the hot piston expanded. Most of the gas is still in the
cylinder. The gas heats and expands, hot cylinder. As the crankshaft continues
to turn the next 90°, transferring the bulk
pushing the hot piston down, and
of the gas to the cold piston cylinder. As
flowing through the pipe into the cold it does so, it pushes most of the fluid
cylinder, pushing it down as well. through the heat exchanger and into the
cold piston cylinder.

Stirling Engine 9
Contraction: Now the majority of the Transfer: The fluid is cooled and now
n the
expanded gas is shifted to the cool piston crankshaft
shaft turns another 90°. The gas is
cylinder. It cools and contracts, drawing therefore pumped back, through the heat
both pistons up exchanger, into the hot piston cylinder.
Once in this, it is heated and we go back
to the first step.

This diagram is feature of an alpha engine.


The most important is to have the biggest
grey area which represents the
recuperated work during a cycle.

Figure 6 : Example of a real cycle of an alpha engine

The Alpha engine is conceptually


conceptually the simplest Stirling engine configuration,
however suffers from the disadvantage that both pistons need to have seals to contain
the working gas.

10 Stirling Engine
This type of engine has a very high power-to-volume
power volume ratio but has technical
problems due to the usually high temperature of the "hot" piston and its seals

2. Beta Stirling

The Beta configuration is the classic Stirling engine configuration and has
enjoyed popularity from its inception until today. Stirling's original engine from his
patent drawing of 1816 shows a Beta arrangement.

Both Beta and Gamma engines use displacer-piston


displacer piston arrangements. The Beta
engine has both the displacer and the piston in an in-line
in line cylinder system. The Gamma
engine uses separate cylinders.

Figure 7 : Beta engine’s configuration

The purpose of the


the single power piston and displacer is to “displace” the
working gas at constant volume, and shuttle it between the expansion and the
compression spaces through the series arrangement cooler, regenerator, and heater.

A beta Stirling has a single power piston


piston arranged within the same cylinder on
the same shaft as a displacer piston. The displacer piston is a loose fit and does not
extract any power from the expanding gas but only
serves to shuttle the working gas from the hot heat
exchanger to the cold heat
at exchanger.

When the working gas is pushed to the hot


end of the cylinder it expands and pushes the power
piston. When it is pushed to the cold end of the
Figure 8 : Beta engine
cylinder it contracts and the momentum of the machine, usually
with momentum
enhanced by a flywheel, pushes the power piston the other way to
flywheel
compress the gas. Unlike the alpha type, the beta type avoids the
technical problems of hot moving seals.

Stirling Engine 11
Expansion: At this point, most of the gas in Transfer: At this point, the gas has
the system is at the heated end of expanded. Most of the gas is still located in
the cylinder. The gas heats and expands the hot end of the cylinder. Flywheel
driving the power piston outward. momentum carries the crankshaft the next
quarter turn. As the crank goes round,
the bulk of the gas is transferred around the
displacer to the cool end of the cylinder,
driving more fluid into the cooled end of the
cylinder.

Contraction: Now the majority of the Transfer: The contracted gas is still located
expanded gas has been shifted to the cool near the cool end of the cylinder. Flywheel
end. It contracts and the displacer is almost momentum carries the crank another quarter
at the bottom of its cycle. turn, moving the displacer and transferring
the bulk of the gas back to the hot end of
the cylinder. And at this point, the cycle
repeats.

12 Stirling Engine
Figure 9 : Example of a real cycle of a beta
engine

3. Gamma Stirling

A gamma Stirling is simply a beta Stirling in which the power piston is


mounted in a separate cylinder alongside the displacer piston cylinder, but is still
connected to the same flywheel. The gas in the two cylinders can flow freely between
them and remains a single body. This configuration produces a lower
lowe compression
ratio but is mechanically simpler and often used in multi-cylinder
multi cylinder Stirling engines.
Gamma type engines have a displacer and power piston, similar to Beta machines, but
in different cylinders. This allows a convenient complete separation between
betw the heat
exchangers associated with the displacer cylinder and the compression and expansion
work space associated with the piston.

Figure 10 : Gamma engine’s configuration

Furthermore during the expansion process some of the expansion must take
place in the compression space leading to a reduction of specific power. Gamma
engines are therefore used when the advantages of having separate cylinders outweigh
the specific power disadvantage.

The advantage of this design is that it is mechanically simpler because of the


convenience of two cylinders
cylinders in which only the piston has to be sealed. The

Stirling Engine 13
disadvantage is the lower compression ratio but the gamma configuration is the
favorite for modelers and hobbyists.

Figure 11 : Small gamma engine

Figure 12 : Example of a real cycle of a


beta engine

4. Other types

Changes to the configuration of mechanical Stirling engines


engines continue to
interest engineers and inventors who create a lot of different version of the Stirling
engine.

There is also a large field of "free piston" Stirling cycles engines, including
those with liquid pistons and those with diaphragms as pistons.

For example, as an alternative to the mechanical Stirling engine is the fluidyne


pump, which uses the Stirling cycle via a hydraulic piston. In its most basic form it
contains a working gas, a liquid and two non-return
non return valves. The work produced by the
fluidyne
luidyne goes into pumping the liquid.

14 Stirling Engine
Reasons to use a Stirling
Engine

There are several reasons to use a Stirling Engine:

 One reason is that for this kind of engine it’s almost impossible to explode.
You don’t have to produce steam in a high pressure boiler. And inside the
cylinder there are no explosions needed to run the pistons like in an Otto or
Diesel engine. There are no ignitions, no carburetion because you only need
one kind of gas and no valve train because there are no valves. This was a big
advantage to the steam engines in the days when Stirling invented his engine
because it was much less dangerous to work next to a Sterling Engine than to a
common steam engine.

 Inside the pistons can be used air, helium, nitrogen or hydrogen and you don’t
have to refill it because it uses always the same body of gas.

Figure 13 : Schematic Stirling Engine

Stirling Engine 15
 To produce heat you can use whatever you want: fuel, oil, gas, nuclear power
and of course renewable energies like solar, biomass or geothermal heat.

Figure 14 : Solar panel

 The external combustion process can be designed as a continuous process, so


the most types of emissions can be reduced.

 If heat comes from a renewable energy source they produce no emissions.

 They run very silent and they don’t need any air supply. That’s why they are
used a lot in submarines. E.g. in the Royal Swedish Navy.

Figure 15 : Figure 16 Gotland : HMS

16 Stirling Engine
 They can be constructed to run very quiet and practically without any
vibration.

 They can run with a small temperature difference, e.g. with the heat of your
hand or from a cup of hot coffee. They can be used as little engines for work
which needs only low power.

Figure 16 : Low power Stirling engine

 They can run for a very long time because the bearings and seals can be placed
at the cool side of the engine → they need less lubricant and they don’t have to
be checked very often ( longer period between the overhauls ).

 They are extremely flexible. The engine can run as a CHP (combined heat and
power) because the heat which is produced to run it can easily be collected. Or
in summers they can be used as coolers.

Figure 17 : CHP

Stirling Engine 17
Analyze from Economic point

As said above the


he Stirling engine is a kind of external combustion engine, and
it can use a variety of fuels. It can
can be estimated that combustible gases are the best
material, including gasoline, diesel, propane, sunshine and salad oil; even cow dung
can be run on as fuels.

A cup of coffee cannot become a cup of gasoline, but it can be also used as a
Stirling engine driver.
iver. There is a famous experiment that a Stirling engine can easily
run on a cup of coffee. The Stirling engine is a kind of piston engine. In the external
heating sealed chamber, the expansion of gases inside the engine promotes the pistons
work. After thehe expanded gases cooling down in the air-conditioned
air conditioned room, next
process is taking on. As long as a certain value of the temperature difference exists, a
Stirling Engine can be formed.

Figure 18 : Stirling Engine working on a cup of coffee

This experiment shows that only a very small power operation can carry out a
Stirling engine, which contributes a lot to energy conservation. This characteristic
especially shows out on economy point. The benefits obtained from the Stirling
engine
ne are definitely far beyond the costs.

So once solar is used to produce energy for the Stirling engine, the cost would
surely be cut down for quite a lot. As long as there is sunshine, the Stirling engine will
run on and on. Of course it costs much to manufacture
manufacture a Stirling engine, as it requires

18 Stirling Engine
a high level of the materials and manufacturing processes. The expansion-side heat
exchanger’s temperature is often very high, so the materials must stand the corrosive
consequences of the heat. Typically these material requirements substantially increase
the cost of the engine. The materials and assembly costs for a high temperature heat
exchanger typically accounts for 40% of the total engine cost.

But once the Stirling engine is made and put into a proper condition, quite a
few costs would be paid for keeping it running.

Some engines cause a lot of pollution, so much is cost for pollution control
and government. On contrast, Stirling engine exhausts cleanly and avoid this type of
matter. Development and utilization of solar will not pollute the environment, as solar
is one of the cleanest energy. While the environmental pollution is becoming more
and more serious today, this characteristic is extremely valuable. It saves the cost for a
lot while making sustainable development.

At the end of 18th century and the early 19th century, heat engine generally is
steam engine. Its efficiency is very low, only 3% to 5%, that is, over 95% of the heat
is not used. Stirling thermodynamic theory is aiming to improve the thermal
efficiency. Stirling proposed that the Stirling cycle efficiency, under the ideal
condition, may get the infinite enhancement. Certainly it cannot come to 100% due to
the physical limitation, however the theory provide a direction for improving the
thermal efficiency. In fact, now the efficiency of Stirling engine can come up to 80%
or even more. So another part of cost is saved.

Nowadays, more and more countries have recognized that a society with
sustainable development should be able to meet the needs of the community without
endangering future generations. Therefore, use clean energy as much as possible
instead of the high carbon content of fossil energy is a principle which should be
followed during energy construction. Vigorously develop new and renewable sources
of energy utilization technology will be an important measure to reduce pollution.
Energy problem is a worldwide one, and it is sooner or later to get into the transition-
to-new-energy period. Because of its sustainability, renewably and efficiency, the
Stirling engine is just the very one being consistent with the requirements of the
times.

Stirling Engine 19
Applications of the Stirling
power

I. Cars
In the ages of 1970s and 1980s several automobile companies like “General
Motors” or “Ford” were researching about Stirling Engine. This device is good for a
constant power setting, but it is a challenge for the stop and go of the automobile.

A good car can change the power quickly. One possibility to obtain this
important characteristic is design a power control mechanism that will turn up or
down the burner. This is a slow method of changing power levels because is not
enough to accelerate crossing an intersection.

The best solution in spite of these difficulties in automobiles is hybrid electric


cars where Stirling Engine could give enough power to make long trips where could
get burn gasoline or diesel, depending on which fuel was cheaper. The batteries could
give the instant acceleration that
drivers are used to. This invention
makes the car silent and clean
running.

On March 20, 2002 I


delivered one of our KY-2000
Stirling engines to the Mechanical
Engineering department at San
Diego State University. While I was
there I had the opportunity to see
their hybrid diesel/electric car. It has
a 60 hp diesel engine and a 200 hp
electric motor. The extra power
(above 60 hp) for the electric motor
is of course supplied by the batteries
when needed.“Brent Van Arsdell",
March 21, 2002.

Figure 19 : Hybrid car designed by GM 1

20 Stirling Engine
II. Submarine
“Kockums”, a Swedish defense contractor, produce Stirling Engines for the
navy making the quietest submarines in the world.

Figure 20 : AIP system

This high-technology is named air-independent propulsion (AIP). There are


four submarines equipment with Stirling AIP. The models are HMS Näcken, which
was launch in 1978 and after ten years 1988 became the first submarine equipped with
AIP system, by means of a cut and lengthened by an intersection of a Stirling AIP
section, which before the installation is equipped by two Stirling units, liquid oxygen
(LOX) tanks and electrical equipment.

Successful demonstration of AIP system during many routine patrols of HMS


Näcken made that Gotland, another type of submarine, was the first submarine
designed from the beginning to operate with AIP system.

The other four submarines that operates with this technology are two
Söderman class were upgraded by 2004.

If the Stirling was designed to operate at ambient


pressure (and had a valve system to ensure such) then it
could be enclosed in a small bubble of gas that would
slowly be crushed by the pressure of the ocean and
increase the internal working volume of gas to a level that
could not be easily achieved at sea level. With such
enormous internal pressure the power output would be
huge!

“Mick Viner, June 23, 2002”

Figure 21 : Stirling engine in Näcken

Stirling Engine 21
III. Aircrafts
In relation about Stirling engines in aircraft, the communities near airports
could benefit from the quiet engine. Unlike other types of aircrafts this kind of
aircrafts increases the performance climbs to altitude.

Figure 22 : Torque-Crankshaft Angle

Like is showed above vibration is an area that Stirling excel. The shaft torque
on four cylinders varies from 100% negative to 350% positive in each revolution.
Only 5% of variation characterised the quiet engine obviously increasing the comfort
of occupants as well as airframe fatigue is greatly reduced and isolator’s materials.
Less vibration is good advantage for
the propeller in means of torque,
nowadays the propeller is designed
considering the pulse of torque As
long as the prop is also the flywheel
it must be heavy and robust.

Usually the first failure is the


ignition system, in the Stirling the
ignition is necessary at the beginning
to start the fire after is not needed.
Figure 23 : Altitude-Airspeed
Another hamper is eliminated

22 Stirling Engine
without valves. In the following graph it is possible see that the performance of the
Stirling engine increases with altitude because the system is sealed without reference
of ambient air density. As the outside temperature declines, engine power increases.
This compounds the natural ability of the aircraft to fly faster as air density decreases.

Stirling allow the plane to cruise above the weather rather than trough it thus it
is a safety aspect because there are many accidents because the weather. In addiction,
the possibility of the pilot to choose the altitude could benefit the optimize use of the
winds.

There are several reasons for the superior fuel economy. First, the Stirling is a
much more efficient powerplant. An internal combustion engine takes in new air and
fuel for each stroke, saving nothing from the previous one. But the Stirling re-uses the
same heat energy on successive strokes; the fuel is only needed to make up the losses.
The second reason is that the fuel is always burned full lean, at the best air/fuel ratio,
while normal aircraft engines actually use gasoline as a coolant. The Stirling also
uses the exhaust from the burner to preheat the incoming combustion air. Since the
Stirling exhaust is cool, it is obvious that less energy is being thrown away.

“Darryl Philip, April 1993”

IV. Heat and power System


This device replaces traditional boilers in houses. It is an innovative system
developed to provide central heating, water heating and electricity.

Usually this device is called “Micro Combined


Heat and Power (CHP)” and produces much less
carbon dioxide than other ways of providing heat and
power. In fact, if the level of CHP was increased to the
Government's target of 10,000 MW, the UK could be
one third of the way to meeting its international
commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“...We can combine the building of homes with


building communities with combined heat and
power...”

Figure 24 : AC Whisper Gen “Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister”

Stirling Engine 23
The company Whisper Gen has launched to the market the market MkV AC
gas fired that consists in four cylinders with double acting Stirling cycle. It is possible
coach heat output from 7.5-12KW at 220-240V
Benefits:
• Savings through the production of own electricity.
• Reduce emissions of CO2 and other emissions.
• Avoiding peak-load costs when the network is overloaded.
• Allows for rapid introduction of new generation capacity.

The performance is over 90% of the fuel energy resulting in a cleaner and
more cost effective alternative to traditional electricity generation. Electricity
generated can be fed back into the electricity grid or used in the home, reducing
electricity costs even further. Invent provides an average household with a saving of
about £150 per year. It also reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1.5 tonnes per
year, a real contribution towards tackling the effects of global warming. That’s 20%
less carbon dioxide per household.

V. Cryocooler
If It is applied mechanical energy instead of cold and heat sources by means of
external engine, It is possible reach temperatures like 10 K (-263°C) in machines of
high technology.

The first Stirling-cycle cryocooler was developed at Philips in the 1950s and
commercialized in such places as liquid nitrogen production plants. This company is
still active in the development and manufacturing Stirling cryocoolers and cryogenic
cooling systems.
A wide variety of smaller size Stirling cryocoolers are commercially available
for tasks such as the cooling of sensors.

Thermoacoustic refrigeration uses a Stirling cycle in a working gas which is


created by high amplitude sound waves.

VI. Nuclear power


Steam turbines of a nuclear plan can be replaced by Stirling engine thus reduce
the radioactive by-products and be more efficient. Steam plants use liquid sodium as

24 Stirling Engine
coolant in breeder reactors, water/sodium exchanger are required, which in some
cases that temperature increase so much this coolant could reacts violently with water.

NASA has developed a Stirling Engine known as Stirling Radioisotope (SRG)


Generator designed to generate electricity in for deep space proves in lasting
missions. The heat source is a dry solid nuclear fuel slug and the cold source is space
itself. This device converter produces
about four times more electric power
from the plutonium fuel than a
radioisotope thermoelectric generator.

These generators have been


extensively tested but have not yet
been deployed on actual missions.
Thus each SRG will utilise two
Stirling converter units with about 500
watts of thermal power supplied by
Figure 25 : Conceptual design of the SRG by Lockheed
two GPHS (General Purpose Heat
Source) units and will deliver 100-120 watts of electric power. Each GPHS contains
four iridium-clad Pu-238 fuel pellets, stands 5 cm tall, 10 cm square and weighs 1.44
kg. The hot end of the Stirling converter reaches 650°C.

The power output of the generator will be greater than 100 W at the beginning
of life, but the wear out of plutonium decrease the heat source. However control
system allows long life.

VII. Solar Energy


Placed at the focus of a parabolic mirror a Stirling engine can convert solar
energy to electricity with efficiency better than non-concentrated photovoltaic cells.

In 2005 It is created a 1 kW Stirling generator with a solar concentrator, this


was a herald of the coming of a revolutionary solar, nowadays It generates electricity
much more efficiently and economically than Photovoltaic (PV) systems whit
technology called concentrated solar power (CPS). Nowadays the company Infina
Applications has development a 3 kW Solar Stirling Product.

Stirling Engine 25
Figure 26 : Solar Dynamic Brayton Schematic

Some companies are launching technology using steel, cooper, aluminium and
glass in the same low cost manufacturing techniques used to make consumer products.
The equipment is well characterized with over
ove 25,000 hours of on-sun
sun time.
This technology is the world´s most efficiency for the conversion of solar
energy to grid delivery electricity, roughly twice as efficient of the others alternative
solar technologies.

By a mirror to focus the sun’s rays on the


receiver end of a Stirling engine. The internal side of
the receiver then heats hydrogen gas, which expands.
The pressure created by the expanding gas drives a
piston, crank shaft, and drive shaft assembly much like
those found in internal combustion engines but without
igniting the gas. The drive shaft is connected to a small
electricity generator. Figure 27 : Solar Dynamic Brayton
Schematic

This solar application is called concentration solar power (CSP) and is


significant potential grid for water pumping or electrification.

In California there
here is a big contract where the electrical output represents from
approximately 1.4 percent to 2.6 percent of Edison’s annual sales.

26 Stirling Engine
Estimated Estimated
Annual Annual Initial
Possible
Initial Energy Energy Phase Completion Term of Estimated
Gen. Expansion
Seller Size Based on Based on On- Date for Agreement Capacity
Type Size
(MW) Initial Expansion Line Initial Size (Years) Factor
(MW)
Size Size Date
(GWH) (GWH)
SES Solar
Solar Thermal Jan. 23.90
500 850 1,047 1,780 Dec. 2012 20
One (Stirling 2009 percent
LLC Dish)
Tabla 1: www.stirlingenergy.com/breaking_news.htm

Next year the Stirling solar dish will be able to be in the market, therefore high
capacity to produce energy with the power of sun helping to reduce emissions of CO2
gases.

It is possible nowadays dream with CHP plants working with Stirling Engines
and it is expected that this technology will be commercially available within the next
few years.

Electric power output - Stirling engine KW 35 70

Thermal power output - Stirling engine kW 105 210

Thermal power output - CHP plant kW 230 460

Fuel power input (based on NCV) kW 300 600

Electric efficiency - Stirling engine % 25,0 25,0

Overall electric efficiency - CHP plant % 11,7 11,7

Overall efficiency - CHP plant % 88,3 88,3


Working gas Helium Helium
Mean pressure Pa 4,5 4,5
Temperature of hot heat exchanger C 750 750
Revolution speed pm 1.010 1.010
Engine weight kg 1.600 3.500
Tabla 2: www.stirling.dk/default.asp?ID=120

NASA uses an advanced system to concentrate the sunlight. Waste heat is


removed through a heat exchanger and dissipated by radiator panels to space. The
power and distribution system is based on the closed Brayton cycle. A recuperative
heat exchanger between the turbine discharge and receiver inlet is used to improve

Stirling Engine 27
cycle efficiency. Long life is made possible through the use of non-contacting gas
bearings, hermetic sealing of the gas circuit, redundant electronic components, and
ultraviolet/atomic oxygen protective coatings on all optical surfaces. Radiation
degradation is reduced relative to solar photovoltaic arrays since semi-conducting
materials are not used on the large exposed surfaces.

Figure 28 : Solar Dynamic Brayton Schematic

28 Stirling Engine
Conclusion

Stirling engines qualify for “free energy” designation when they allow us to
tap previously inaccessible sources of naturally occurring energy. Stirling cycle
engines are very efficient for a given temperature difference between the heat source
and the heat sink. Actually, steam engines (the Rankine cycle) fall into this category,
too. But depending upon what kind of hardware and its maintenance you prefer, one
or the other will be preferred. Steamers have fewer parts and higher power density.
Other fluids, such as a variety of refrigerants, can be used instead of water. Stirlings
avoid fluid containment problems, as they can run with air as the working fluid, and
will have less maintenance issues.

Stirling Engines are very flexible. There are a lot of different types of engines.
They can be very small and run with only a small temperature difference, they are
very quiet, for example to use them in submarines or they can be used as a CHP plant.

Another good point is that they can be constructed in a way that they produce
no emissions. That means, in combination with solar or geothermal heat, they can be
used as a renewable energy source to produce electricity.

As is showed above, the Stirling engine has strong economic practicality.


Above all, the original cost is quite lower than for any other engines. Even a few
calories can drive it and keep it running. The next point is that the auxiliary costs are
low, because the Stirling engine costs little on environment protection. The fuels it
uses can be clean, so it costs little to handle with pollution governance. What is more,
the profit of the Stirling engine is far beyond the cost. And the high efficiency can
bring the maximum utilization. And last but not least, the Stirling engine is consistent
with the requirements of sustainable development. It is the main development way in
the future, so the Stirling engine does not only meet the economic needs at present
time, but also in the future.

The Stirling engine is an interesting device like it is showed in this document


with various applications and high development. Its advantages are really beneficial
for the environment because it is possible produce electricity with the power of sun
with high efficiency (theorically like the Carnot Cycle). It is a huge advantage to the
economy because is possible to burn the cheapest fuel and it is working instead of the
more expensive one. And this engine is comfortable for the people because is quiet
and not noisy like an internal combustion engine.

Stirling Engine 29
The real renewable energy is the solar application for this device because the
other ways to produce the heat source are burning something. It is possible to
decrease the emissions of CO2 or other toxic gases but not eliminate completely this
problem for the earth and therefore for humans. This application could be one of the
different ways to solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions and to continue and
also to develop our comfort.

In all applications that was showed in this presentation the performance the
devices are better, obviously increase the efficiency is good

Depend of which kind of fuel is getting burn in process. The Stirling Engine is
a machine of external combustion thus if it is burned fuel the emissions of CO2 is not
solved. It is showed that the performance is better but in the point of view of
environment the real problem continues existing.

Find a heat source to make it works, this is the case of biomass fuels in
connection with a Stirling engine are concentrated on transferring the heat from the
combustion of the fuel into the working gas and in the same way the solar application.

Because, as companies look increasingly to alternative power units, it is


entirely possible that the Stirling engine will find its own niche in the marketplace,
perhaps as part of a hybrid power plant, or through further development and
optimization. No high-tech materials are needed. This competes with solar cells.

Taking one with another, Stirling engine bring a tremendous revolution to


human being. We think there is also a lot of potential in this area because modern
industrialization should be sustained by regenerate power system. It is not a dead end
but a new start.

30 Stirling Engine
References

In order to accomplish the current project, the following web pages have been
consulted. The authors of the project would like to thank the following for their
accuracy, clarity and conciseness.

• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine
• http://www.kockums.se
• http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/tmsb/index.html
• http://www.infiniacorp.com/main.htm
• http://www.stirlingenergy.com
• http://www.whispergen.com/index.cfm
• http://www.sunpower.com/index.php
• http://www.sesusa.org/index.html
• http://news.soliclima.com
• http://www.nrel.gov/csp
• http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/%7Ekhirata/english/others.htm
• http://www.cec.uchile.cl/~roroman/
• http://www.stirlingengine.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-
msg.tcl?msg_id=00000D&topic_id=Power%2dproducing%20Stirling%20engi
nes&topic=4
• www.blog.steamshift.com
• www.techfreep.com
• www.sensi.org
• www.energytech.at
• www.Sterlingenergy.com
• www.Stirlingengine.com
• www.logicsys.com.tw/wrkbas.htm.
• www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A9042707
• www.ent.ohiou.edu/~me321/chapter4th.info/Chapter3.html
• www.ent.ohiou.edu/~urieli/stirling/me422.html
• www.stirlingengine.com/faq/one?scope=public&faq_id=1#4

Stirling Engine 31
References of figures:
Last visit of these websites: 10/11/2007

Figure1 www.sunpower.com

Figure2 www.creusot.net/archives/idee/stirling/img/stirling.gif

Figure3 tw.f14.yahoofs.com/myper/38.gq_GFHRT.YwEw_4YGB5QSPA--
/blog/ap_20060827013919701.jpg?TT_8kNHB1B7ghYo0

Figure4 http://mac6.ma.psu.edu/stirling/ideal_stirling_cycle/index.html

Figure5 http://www.ent.ohiou.edu/~urieli/stirling/engines/engines.htm

Figure6 http://www.moteurstirling.com/alpha.htm

Figure7 http://www.ent.ohiou.edu/~urieli/stirling/engines/beta.html

Figure8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine

Figure9 http://www.moteurstirling.com/beta.htm

Figure10 http://www.ent.ohiou.edu/~urieli/stirling/engines/gamma.html

Figure11 http://www.moteurstirling.com/gamma.htm

Figure12
http://www.diracdelta.co.uk/science/source/s/t/stirling%20engine/source.html

Figure13 http://blog.steamshift.com/2005/05/

Figure14 http://techfreep.com/category/energy/

Figure15 http://www.kockums.se/News/photostock/photo.html

Figure16 http://www.sensi.org/~svo/stirling/

Figure17 http://energytech.at/(en)/kwk/portrait_kapitel-2_6.html

Figure18 jiucifang.blog.bokee.net/bloggermodule/blog_viewblog.do?id=961285

Figure19 www.autobloggreen.com/tag/ford/

Figure20 www.kockums.se/Submarines/aipconversion.html

Figure21 www.kockums.se/Submarines/aipconversion.html

32 Stirling Engine
Figure22 www.cse.iitk.ac.in/.../371/abhishe/main1.html

Figure23 www.cse.iitk.ac.in/.../371/abhishe/main1.html

Figure24 www.whispergen.com/main/acwhispergen/

Figure25 www.grc.nasa.gov/.../5000/5490schreiber.html

Figure26 www.stirlingenergy.com/solar_overview.htm

Figure27 www.stirlingenergy.com/images.asp?Type=solar

Figure28 www.grc.nasa.gov/.../doc/adv_sd_tech.html

Stirling Engine 33