A Solar Powered Stirling Project

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A Solar Powered Stirling Project

Postby stan.hornbaker » Tue Mar 09, 2004 8:01 pm

A solar powered Stirling engine project is posted on the "Stirling
engines for education" forum, with link to text and photos.
This is suitable for a science fair project.
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Response to A Solar Powered Stirling Project

Postby ralphm.miller » Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:54 pm

Many years ago, a solar powered Stirling engine producing 60 cycle AC was proposed in an article from, either Popular Science or Popular Mechanics magazine. The electricity was produced at the cold end by making the piston of magnetic material and wrapping the cylinder with magnet wire to form a coil of the proper size. The heat was supplied by a Freznel lens oriented to the Sun. A small amount of the energy was used to keep it oriented. The article proposed to cover a section of the Arizona desert with these units to provide gigawatts of power for the public utility companys.
The idea has obvious merit and the simplicity of the design proposed, say that such an engine should eventually be cost effective! Get back to me @ ralphm.miller@netzero.net Meanwhile, I'm a newby here & I like what I read! I'll be back.

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Response to A Solar Powered Stirling Project

Postby stan.hornbaker » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:11 pm

Welcome to the Stirling engine forums Ralph. Three different/similar solar powered Stirling engine power producing array projects have been started in the south western desert and contracts made to deliver the output to southern California. When the R&D money ran out or for other reasons the projects came to an end. Soon a new similar project would be started and go through the same cycle of boom and bust. To date to the best of my knowledge there is nothing really new and viable under the Arizona desert sun.

PS if you clicked on the "Send me updates" link you automatically receive any/all new messages to a thread you post to.
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Response to A Solar Powered Stirling Project

Postby bptdude___2569 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:53 pm


Hi Ralph, welcome to the quest for the holy grail. U.S. lab report states a 100 by 100 mile grid of solar collecting engines running about 25% efficiency would be enough to turn off all other means of making electricity in this country, if you could pay for the build-out and transport the power.

But, it is like the story of the mice who met to deal with the cat. One little mouse suggested they just hang a bell around the cat, so they would know when it was coming. The old mice reminded him nobody has figured out how to hang the bell.

Build a reliable heat engine that can be easily build for low cost to process concentrated solar power, and you could change the global energy equations.

Have a seat at the think table!

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