Investing in Precious Metals 101 Ad

Stirling Engine

Login or register to post comments Last Post 4723 reads   41 posts
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 41 total)
  • Mon, Apr 27, 2009 - 10:08pm

    #1

    LindaBobzien

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 12 2008

    Posts: 12

    count placeholder

    Stirling Engine

Here is an interesting thing I came across thru work today.  It’s very old technology called a Stirling Engine.  I wonder if it could be useful?  Rigged up so to speak? 

http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/23/smallbusiness/solar_power_infinia.fsb/index.htm

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

 

  • Mon, Apr 27, 2009 - 11:02pm

    #2
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

 Very cool. Thanks for posting.

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 12:56am

    #3
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Segway and an electric Car use a Stirling Engine

The Segway uses one:

http://www.stirlingengine.com/FullPower.adp

The same inventor used it for a car too.

Dean Kamen’s Stirling engine car

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 03:08am

    #4
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

The Stirling engine is a heat engine just like the internal combustion engine or steam locomotive.  It relies on a source of heat and a reservoir to absorb that heat.  In the process of the heat transfer, it can do useful work.  The Stirling cycle is very efficient compared to the other two.  It also has fewer fuel limitations.  That said, it is no panacea.

On a small scale (household, small business) a Stirling cycle requires a cheap abundant fuel to provide reliable power for useful work.  On this planet, that means some form of carbon compound suitable for combustion.  Currently, the best bang for the buck is still fossil hydrocarbons.  Sad, but true.  Everything else has lower returns in terms of energy per unit mass and recovery from the environment.  If your time is worth anything, buy petroleum to run your Stirling engine.

Solar produces heat if sufficiently concentrated.  The higher the concentration  the greater the efficiency.  Focusing sunlight on a Stirling engine can produce very high temperatures.  The trick is to compensate for the Sun’s motion and the problem of it disappearing over the horizon each day.  Passing a working fluid through a stationary collector may be easier to manage, but it still means quite an investment in infrastructure to collect the heat.  If your working fluid can undergo a convenient phase change, storing heat for use after dark can be more efficient, but likely more expensive.

Getting heat off the electrical grid is a non-starter.  Better to just buy an electric motor.  Same with wind.  With wind you do have the option of using the mechanical energy directly.

One of the challenges with alternatives is how to renew the technology after the oil and coal runs out.  There’s a lot of talk about running this and that on renewable energy, but how about producing this and that without the fossil carbon based infrastructure?  Every mechanical system eventually wears out and must be repaired or replaced.  This means melting metal, casting it, rolling it, forging it, welding it, machining it, etc.  Not much of this is happening with alternative fuels.  The Stirling engine is a clever idea, but without the current support systems, it may be of less utility than a water wheel.  It reminds me of an old saying that a gun without bullets is just a club.

To be blunt about it, a Stirling engine in your car is not a transition to a low energy, localized economy.  It’s an attempt to hang onto delusions about happy motoring into the distant future.  The problem is not that we have the wrong kind of cars, but that we have a life centered on cars and all of the infrastructure that supports and demands it.  As we descend Hubbert’s Curve, personal transportation and all that it entails will be too energetically expensive.  The sooner we jettison it, the sooner we can begin to bring our infrastructure in line with what we can realistically expect from the future.  The longer we wish upon a star for Stirling engined automobiles, the more difficult the inevitable transition will be.

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 12:46pm

    #5
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

I’m with Durangokid I’m afraid…..  it just goes to show with fossil fuels you can do anything, even make/run sterling engines off alternative power.

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 01:45pm

    #6
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

I currently work in aerospace, and believe it or not, applications and further development of the Stirling Engine is an interest, only this time to power aircraft. Currently the power output is lower than combustion, but it does work rather well. The design I have seen tossed around work uses sets of pistons and cams to create rotary motion. It uses hot and cold air to cycle the pistons, and a heat exchanger to recycle some of the heat. Thats about all I know about it.

Here is the thing. The military probably already has in development alternative sources of energy not reliant on fossil fuel. They are just secret, partly due to corporations financial interest, and/or fear of the technology being duplicated by hostile countries. Someday maybe they will declassify it. Most major technological advancements were born in military and filtered out to civilian society. GPS, internet, nuclear fusion, ect…..

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 01:49pm

    #7
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

Has anyone seen the car that runs on compressed air? This could be the ticket, if they can get the car to compress its own air. Cool beans.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4217016.html

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 02:03pm

    #8
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

However Stirling’s are relatively easy to make, even with low tech tools (Couple of Con-Rods, Fly-wheel, two pistons and cylinders, a length of Copper tube that can hold pressure, some bolts, and maybe some compression fittings).

The hard thing to make would be the pistons, and cylinders, but that could be salvaged from an internal combustion engine. Which while it "used" fossil fuels in it’s original construction, you’re not using much more in it’s salvage/repurposing. Chuck one cylinder or engine end in a fire (not literally of course) and Robert is your fathers brother (or less cryptically it works, maybe, once everything is up to temperature). Better yet if you can run this off waste "heat" then you are converting that heat into some form of usable energy rather than losing it to the environment.

Another relatively cool technology that has a relatively simple construction (at least in comparison to mainstream) is the Tesla Turbine (I investigated this for possible steam powered electricity generation). It consists of a series of plates, and works on friction. Anyway I digress.

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 02:23pm

    #9
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

[quote=SPM]

Here is the thing. The military probably already has in development alternative sources of energy not reliant on fossil fuel. They are just secret, partly due to corporations financial interest, and/or fear of the technology being duplicated by hostile countries. Someday maybe they will declassify it. Most major technological advancements were born in military and filtered out to civilian society. GPS, internet, nuclear fusion, ect…..

[/quote]

SPM –

Wrong verb tense.  "Developed" is correct. 

FM:  USS NAUTILUS

TO:  COMSUBLANT

DTG:  17JAN55 1600Z

SUBJ:  DEPARTURE REPORT

1.  UNDERWAY ON NUCLEAR POWER.

BT

 

One more minor point of order – nuclear fission not fusion – as far as an energy source.  Although a fusion weapon does release a lot of energy.  Just a tad bit tricky controlling it once primary ignition has started. 

  • Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - 02:58pm

    #10
    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Status Bronze Member (Online)

    Joined: Oct 31 2017

    Posts: 1613

    count placeholder

    Re: Stirling Engine

[quote=Gungnir]

The hard thing to make would be the pistons, and cylinders, but that could be salvaged from an internal combustion engine. Which while it "used" fossil fuels in it’s original construction, you’re not using much more in it’s salvage/repurposing. 

[/quote]

The piston design is the toughest,  I have read that is recommended is made of a very wear resistant and light material like carbon due to you do not want to use lubricants  Lubricants have a tendancy with heat and the fluids that are used in the system like air could start a fire.  Oh the recommended fluids for these systems are air, helium and Hydrogen gasses.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 41 total)

Login or Register to post comments