4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby cchagnot » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:29 pm

Merrick Lockwood's analysis of the entire RHEP (Rick Husk Energy Project) is just plain

And his analysis of the problems that the Stirling Technology ST-5 Engine nothing but his
own fabrication of events and problems. How would he know about the ST-5, other than
seeing a couple of them in India? I know! I was there. I designed the ST-5 and have
thousands of hours of testing on numerous models. The Indian company, Stirling
Dynamics Ltd. used sub-standard parts to try and reduce costs. His attempts at deducing
the problems (few) that the ST-5 encountered in the early years seem to me to be nothing
but an attempt to justify his own failure. Today the ST-5 is alive and well. I'm working hard
in China at the moment to set up a Joint venture to get it into mass production and out to
the world at a reasonable cost.
I've uploaded photos of the ST-5 working around the world on Yahoo's HAES site. You can
see them by going to this link.I'm trying to upload photos to this site also but the server
doesn't seem to be working.

Cate Chagnot
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby bptdude___2569 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:13 pm

I am very much looking forward to the release of the ST-5. Somebody posted some current projects with Oraganic Rankine, which were cool, but much larger, more mechanically complicated, and already more than the estimated ST-5 market rate of about three grand each.

I have already checked with Cate about one possible personal mod on the heat side, and if I ever scrapped up some cash to buy one as a toy that might be hooked to the grid, even as a slightly not costeffective toy at first, I am pretty sure I could play with some idea for an optional enhanced cooling jacket.

Biomass in one country is is what is left of trees after I make firewood here in the New England states. Someday maybe even my solar trough feed made from my leftover beer cans and a concrete mold!


Go Cate !

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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby cchagnot » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:16 am

I want to point out that the Engine Sunpower
designed for the USAID project in Bangladesh was not the ST-5. True, it was an earlier
prototype but I branched off from Sunpower and the ST-5 is entirely
Stirling Technology's design, quite different in many ways from the Sunpower prototype.
The ST-5 was in production for awhile until the company in India went
belly up.


I've got to set the record straight.
I was the project engineer that led the Sunpower team of engineers that designed
the engine that Merrick Lockwood wrote his book about. These forums drive me to

The ST-5 was NEVER designed by Merrick. He was the Asia Foundation Administrator
of the USAID funded project that had my team at Sunpower design an earlier,
different version that was supposed to be replicated in Bangladesh and then put
into production there. Merrick was supposed to lead the implementation of
building four copies of the first engine designed and built by Sunpower. I led
the engineering team both in the US and Bangladesh. At least I was supposed to
in Bangladesh. I arrived in Bangladesh to find that Dr. Lockwood, (Entomologist)
had completely redesigned the engine to his own version. It never put out more
than 1 or 2 HP. I Advised the project for awhile until it finally became clear
that Merrick simply wanted to play around with his own ideas and wasn't
listening to our engineering advice. I looked at my last report to the Asia
foundation and saw that it said exactly the same as the previous two and quit
advising the project.

I left Sunpower, formed STI and proceeded to actually make successful engines
(The ST-5) in South India.

I don't want to disparage Merrick on the forum. we're still friends and see each
other from time to time. But his book should be titled;

"How I screwed up a perfectly good Stirling Engine Design Project for the Third

The ST-5 is a viable, proven engine as I've said. But it is entirely Stirling
Technology's design.
I tried desperately for a long time to get the engineering back to real
engineering and back on track. But Merrick was determined to play around with
his ideas. After I quit, he had to find someone to replace me in order to keep
the USAID money flowing. He brought in an advisory team consisting of I think
Graham Walker, William Beale (Who always loves the 'clean sheet of paper'
approach) and someone else I can't remember. This group of 'Specialists' then
designed or sketched a new design for him and he charged off, proceeding to do
the same thing he'd done before. I don't really know the details because I
wasn't involved at that point and I knew the Sunpower design engineers weren't
either. (At least as a proper design team, simulating, designing, prototyping,
de-bugging (Ah, that's why an entomologist is needed) and testing that new
engine design. The 'specialists' met for a few days in Dahka then went off,
leaving Merrick to do his backyard tinkering thing. Of course he couldn't have
it ready in time. If he'd had twenty years he'd still be playing around. USAID
finally stopped wasting the taxpayers money.I think the total project budget was
somewhere around $2,000,000

He titles his book, “How I built a 5HP Stirling Engine”. Sunpower built a 5HP engine
For that project but I donÂ’t think that any of his many engines ever produced more than a
few HP.
I donÂ’t know of any instruments being used to truly measure the power.

The original project had very specific requirements that had to be met to get it
to phase two where it would be transfered to Bangladesh, four copies made, then
beta tested and on to a small scale production by the end of phase three. Phase
one was that Sunpower design an engine that could run a small rice mill
(measured by myself as needing 5HP), and could be built in Bangladesh. The
Specialists met in late January (Dr. Walker, William Beale, Someone from USAID,
Merrick and the Sunpower design team to finalize the design approach. Once they
agreed, off they went and I and my team were left to demonstrate a working
engine producing 5HP (3.7 KW) by August 17th. That was a 'drop-dead' date. To
move to phase two that had to happen no later than August 17th of 1982.

We finished the design part in late March, started cutting metal in April then
tested and de-bugged the thing through the summer. Remember, we had to use
methods available in Bangladesh, we couldn't just send stuff out to a specialty
machine shop and have them do it. It was tough but we did it. August 17th came
around ( I don't think I'd slept for a week before that day) and we ran the
engine on rice husks proving the output of 5 HP with a calibrated dynamometer.

USAID signed off. The project went to phase two and was totally under Merrick's
control from that point on.....

Question; How does one make a small fortune in the Stirling Engine business?

Answer; Start with a large one!

Lockwood asserts that most of the mechanical changes were intended to make the
engine more amenable to manufacture using locally available resources and in an
attempt to overcome inherent weaknesses in the drive mechanism. But I understand
your concern when he strayed into modifications to the gas circuit which had
presumably been carefully optimised by whatever simulator was current at
Sunpower, and I guess introducing a brand new design (Ross alpha), no matter how
promising, was way off beam in the context of the project.

Merrick agreed to our method of fabrication in that meeting and to our approach
to design. His claims about easier manufacture in Bangladesh should have been
raised then, at the meeting. Now, he tries to use it as an excuse. But the issue
about the gas spring/ air pump we patented was after the fact and I don't think
it fair that he uses what I did in India with the ST-5 to justify his changes.
Beta testing of the prototype would have proved
the viability of the original design and most certainly we would have had to
make modifications. The ST-5 was after the fact and years after he changed his
design. For him to use it as an excuse is not only insulting, but a very lame
excuse for his wandering off into the DIY environment..

Before we even began to think about the design I spent a month in Bangladesh
examining all materials available, all machining capability and all casting
facilities (Al and Iron). I mean everything! A month in that miserable
place, everyday trudging everywhere to look at rice hullers, how they fixed them.
Diesel engines and how they serviced them. I looked at what bearings were
available (all imported). I came back to the States and Sunpower where we
examined all the info I'd gathered and started to design the 5HP RHEP engine
based on all this info. We made every design decision based on making it in
Bangladesh. The first thing my engineering team said was, ("Holy S%^*!). We then
came up with a design after a lot of work and careful thought to the inability
to control casting quality. A lot of consideration went into the issue of

When the review team met in Athens, to review our preliminary design, we'd run a
few numbers and presented how we'd be able to make it in Bangladesh, every part.
We ran the bearing numbers and came up with a 2000 hour TBO. We considered
service and made sure simple tools only were needed. A couple of screwdrivers,
allen wrenches and something to press the bearings in and out. We explained
every process. And, we told the team that we'd only make the prototype using those
processes in Athens.
We decided to fabricated the original Crankcase from local sheet steel because
of concerns about poor quality casting and the dangers associated with that.
Failure of a welded and fabricated crankcase would be to split a seam and though
damaging to the engine, not destructive to life.

That team, Graham Walker, William Beale, Someone from USAID, Eldon Beagle (Rice
husk combustion expert) and MERRICK LOCKWOOD agreed to the design approach and
signed off on it!

As I've said in a previous post off they went and we completed the design within
all of the agreed upon parameters, made it using fixtures we built as if we were
in Dhaka and then successfully demonstrated it by the required 'drop-dead' date.

We then air freighted the entire engine, burner and system to Dhaka and I
arrived in Dhaka a week after the engine and wondered why Merrick hadn't cleared
it through customs by then. He hadn't even tried and it took me, shoving a
reluctant Merrick another week to get it through customs.

I soon found out why. Remember we were supposed to then build four copies
locally for beta testing? We'd sent Merrick drawings of the fixtures we'd used
so he could start to get a 'jump start' on the project and we could hit the ground

What I found instead, blew my mind. He was more than halfway through a
completely new engine design of his own. Giant, cast iron crankcase. Changes to
the mechanism. Changes to the Heat exchangers. The heater head was now a
'Lockwood prickly pear' design. A bunch of little studs about 6 mm in diameter,
5 mm long spot welded here and there on the outside of a rolled can. I can't
remember what the internal heat exchanger was but at home I have the photos
somewhere. It was a completely different engine, not just in construction, but
thermal design as well.

We at Sunpower had known nothing of this. We were never consulted about whether
or not it could transfer the heat in and out. Nor were we consulted or asked to
simulate (and our programs at the time were usually right on the money) the
performance and expected power output.

But Merrick the Entomologist made it perfectly clear to me that he was in charge
and we could take our engineering opinion and shove it! I did manage to at least
set up our engine finally and run it (ran fine and ran the rice mill fine). But
as for making four copies, Ha! Merrick made what he wanted and basically started
a whole new R&D program of engine design and testing, one at a time, ad
infinitum.... Every couple of months or so I'd come back and along with Asia
Foundation and USAID folks to watch him try and run another DIY prototype. None
of them ever put any usable power.
I remember in one meeting with USAID that was important for him to keep the
money flowing he got angry at me and since he was in charge told me I was to keep my
mouth shut and stop talking about the total lack of engineering. It was after
that that I realized I couldn't win the project back to sense and real
engineering and fairly soon after that I quit the project.

The USAID budget was originally $2,000,000. It's my belief that had we followed
the entire project requirements as written and implemented them as planned we
would have been successful. Sure some changes would have come out of the Beta
testing phase but the original RHEP engine worked and worked well. I have photos
of it back home and I'll try and dig around and find them. Sunpower made two of
the original engines and I still have one of them at STI. It's in pieces at the
moment but all there. I may even have the drawings. When I get home, I'll try
and send or upload the photos and look for the drawings.

Maybe now you might have a better idea of my allergy to DIY Stirling, especially
to Merrick's book. Does he mention that $2,000,000 was spent?
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby cchagnot » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:54 am

With Regards to Releasing the Sunpower RHEP Engine Drawings and details;

In forming STI part of my deal with Sunpower was one of the original RHEP engines that
Sunpower built for another project and shares to them in my company.
A couple of years later William Beale announced to the world at the IECEC Conference on
Stirling engines that I'd won the "Beale" prize. Supposedly $10,000 for the first Stirling to
make it to commercial production.

The USAID project specifically required that the design be free to all the world. It was
always in the public domain as were most tax-payer funded projects in the US.

The big question is why didn't Lockwood release the detailed drawings and all the specs of
the Sunpower RHEP engine?

Maybe because then it wouldn't be called the "Lockwood Stirling Engine"?

I will look for those original drawings and take a bunch of photos of the original Sunpower
RHEP Engine and post them.
I think a bunch of folks out there can make that engine without too much trouble. And, I'll
be willing to guide them.
It won't be cheap, but hey, it'll work!

One reason I redesigned that engine into the ST-5 was to get patent protection. Which I
got and though some of the original patents have run out ,look for new ones soon....

Cate, (AKA Dragon Lady) (AKA Capt. Chaos)
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby garret » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:29 am

OH MY GOD ....

I could NOT IMAGINE spending 2 MILLION US dollars on a simple Stirling engine in INDIA !

I could have built 2,000 of the damn things !

There is no love lost between Cate and Merrick. Certainly Merrick has published a book and as an entamologist, I am sure he was able to work some of the bugs out of a machine !lol

Fact is that Merrick does not provide proof of his advances, his book is little more than "a journey into playing with Stirling engines" .. and why not. He did 2 MILLION DOLLARS worth of playing ! lol

I am sure Cate cannot release details of her Sunpower RHEP engine or the ST-5 because of copyright and IP issues .. and Merrick is probably Gin-Soaked with the prize money some place warm, and we will never get qualitative nor quantitative objective assessments from his changes nor detailed plans for engineering comparison if the RHEP engine truely did become public domain.

Good thing is that the ST-5 is a going concern and will be available in mass production .. and IF it truely does have problems .. I would suggest that Cate, Sunpower, Stirling Tech and who ever else was involved, would have egg all over them selves if that was the case.. and frankly would they risk anything like that ?? . NO NOT EVER !

So I am convinced that the ST-6 or St-5B or what ever it is called now would be as good as it gets.. Kind of like an old Lister 6 HP diesel engine that you know will be there when the grand kids come with their kids, just running on free fuel and only having to maintain it every 2000 hours rather than every 200 or so.

I did some figures and the ST-5 with free fuel and regular maintenance every 2000 hours, pays for it's self in under 2 years at TODAYS oil prices .. so they are ready to go to market and win some real ground ..

Diesel use for 5 HP (3.73 Kw) is 255 Grams per KWHr and at 0.85 Kgs per Litre that makes it 1.119 L per hour. or 0.3 Gals per hour.

So over a year of continuous running the ST-5 with be serviced 4 times, the lister around 10 times, and have used 9802 L (2589 USGal) of Diesel Fuel.

I think diesel is about $0.80 a Litre the moment ..
so a saving of around around $7841 ...

Admittedly that is 100% duty cycle ..

They can only gain more ground from now on as the oil price goes up and the carbon trading kicks in to increase prices even more.

Oh and as common sense prevails .. or is that against some Entropy principal in Physics like Ockham's Razor and Kaos Theory of the Economy.

Garret Krampe ...
previously quiet observer.
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby garret » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:02 pm

I have uploaded some videos of the ST-5 (3.7 Kw) I found.



Enjoy ..

Garret Krampe
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby ozairarshad » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:47 pm

i just need a 1KW Stirling engine to integrate it with a solar dish to electrify villages of Pakistan........ here i find lot of people with knowledge about Stirling engines...... if anybody can tell me where can i get a 1 or 2kw Stirling engine.....kindly mail me at : ozairarshad@yahoo.com
or if anyone can guide me with detailed engine design.
help in this regard will be highy appreciated.
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby bptdude___2569 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:40 pm

Read over the posts in your spare time, and you will notice discussion about an engine called the ST-5. Whatever else peopled are talking about, this engine is about to be mass produced in China, cost a few grand in dollars, run longer than a diesel engine, and will produce 5 HP to a shaft. It is designed specifically for recycle of rice husk biomass with an auto-feeder, like a farm device, but many people, including myself, will like to get one to play with solar collection.

You should not even think of playing with designs. I am sorry. One to purchase should be available later this year or so.

Your Pakistan remote village will get power soon enough, as will Marine Corps forward control bases, the Taliban, native peoples of Austraila, the entire upppe Sahara, everybody in Amazon River basin, and most of the American SouthWest.

Just come back later!

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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby moreshkokane » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:25 am

I have been searching for commercial manufacturers of Stirling Engines for a while now and it seeems there is absolutely no one in the world from where we can source it. We have a patented collector design that allows us to build very large composite Fresnel lens using PMMA. It allows us to rest the engine itself on the ground reducing the need of making the engine smaller and light wieght. The Prototype is being worked upon in India. Can some one recommend a supplier. I have spoken to all of the manufacturers that can be googled and no one seems to have an actual engine for sale. The targe specs I am looking for is 5 KW and 25 KW
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Response to 4.5 kW Biomass fueled engine

Postby zwart.johan » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:37 pm

Dear Cate,

You mentioned in your post that the original ST5 drawings could be made public so that other individuals could have there go at it.
Can you elaborate where I could find a set of these drawings to roughly get to 5HP.

I hope that your production in China goes very, very well since a lot of people are waiting for this product.

Thank you,

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