Stirling engines are rarely seen in the media, but they are actually one of the few options we have in turning raw heat to electricity. Indeed, some variations of the almost 200-year-old engine are more efficient than others, but it’s good to see experimenters from around the globe tackling them, and solving their shortcomings step by step.
Today I stumbled upon this video made by a DIY experimenter called Oleg Petuhov (probably from Russia) and I was pretty impressed by the performance of his home-made stirling engine.
The thing made with only a couple of tools in an environment with limited technological possibilities such as a home-based one, succeeded to reach 1687 revolutions per minute and, as Oleg claims in the title, produce 10 watts of power. Now this is nothing unusual as far as efficiency is concerned, but I’m sure properly equipped labs out there could do better.
This kind of engine can be powered by any source of heat, and the first one that springs to my mind is solar power, since it’s free. So make one such engine, put it in the focal point of a parabolic solar concentrator, and there you go – free, limitless power. The production efficiency will then only depend on what you’ll be able to get out of your motor – the gas you use, the materials, etc.
Watch the movie and post your comments below the article.
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Join the Discussion4035 total comments so far. What's your opinion ?
The problem with Stirling engines is that they have very little torque. NASA developed a Stirling Engine to go in a car with American Motors after the Arab oil embargo in the 70's. Thats the design to look at for replicating. If it had enough power to run a car you could do lots of other things with it. The one complaint was the warm up time. People want to get in a car and take off immediately and this had a minute or so warm up time.