Stirling engine market overview

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Stirling engine market overview

Postby shabs101 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:50 pm

Hi, my name is Shaya Blanc and I work for MAPA Group. My company is
thinking about the posibility of investments and therefore I am
doing a research on the Stirling Engine Market in th US....of
course, market overview information is very hard to find, so I was
wondering if you could give me hand....basically what I need is some
numbers about this type of engine, the market, how much of the needs
are being fulfilled in the USA, what are trends and potential for
this specific industry, what are the current uses and potential uses
and of course, competitors, main companies involved, providers and

Thank you in advance for the support, I hope you can help me and I
am very sorry for any inconvenience

Best Regards

Shaya Blanc
MAPA Group
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Stirling engine market overview

Postby stan.hornbaker » Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:43 pm

This inquiry would attract more interest and replies had it been posted on the Power Producing Stirling Engines forum.

Hardly a day passes but that someone is interested in purchasing a 2 1/2 HP or larger power output Stirling engine. There is a market but no supply of such machines currently available.

Click on the book "How I Built a 5-HP Stirling Engine" to go to the book details page and find a link in the third paragraph down to download Chapter 6 of the book in pdf format. Many photos of the fabrication and operation of a working Stirling Engine driving a rice hulling mill and burning the hulls to fuel the engine.

There is considerably more general information regarding Stirling engines on this site.

You can contact me direct at Attn:NotSCar
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Response to Stirling engine market overview

Postby bptdude___2569 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:50 pm

He is completely right about lots of people would want one.
It must have been fun to see one run.
Any current numbers would suggest not a good bet.

But ...

Should this year, something like a new ST-5 come out that can be made in common machine shops, and fed from a novel solar trough system that fresnel channels to the engine. One of this, just pretend, is a big hit at some energy event.

Your market numbers would suddenly change.


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Response to Stirling engine market overview

Postby tmckissick » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:16 am


This group can definitely provide you with some Stirling market insights and background info. HOWEVER, before that step, I think it would be appropriate for you to clarify exactly where MAPA Group's interests lie. I have read MAPA Group's entire web site and while it's very impressive, I see a few potential conflicts. I have personal experience with business services type companies that have vastly different root interests in a deal. If you have a specific company in mind, that becomes their problem, but in general, the people of this group and their respective companies are oriented toward the success of the entire Stirling related industry in solving as many world problems as it can. I think I speak for a fair amount of the group when I say we are not interested in building up something to be merged or acquired and have the owners paid off. We often see Stirling development startup companies announce big plans and then make silly decisions and then 5 years later, they still haven't hit the commercial market. To date, I only know of very few "commercial" manufacturers of these engines but they've oddly selected such tight markets that we cannot even get direct contact with them. I see that as the obvious result of a restrictive investment.

As a side bar (not that this topic isn't already a side bar from Stirling technology itself - sorry Stan but this is key to industry success), the right design could be applicable to so many markets that it becomes hard to identify just the best one until test results become available. The successful Stirling would be akin to designing the electric motor or internal combustion engine in that the applications are too numerous to mention. The R&D phase is shockingly complicated and requires advanced knowledge in materials, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, computer modeling and very advanced machining techniques. Each of these skill sets are highly exclusive and expensive. For these reasons, potentially successful design companies will have two major attributes. They will be only minimally capitalized (no collateral) and will have more concentration on the engine than it's application. This is in contrast to any investor who is unable to see the big picture and mandates a prearranged business plan. The plan needs to be flexible enough to switch gears (applications) should results be different than expected. I personally have not found a single investor willing to facilitate the R&D phase to gain 'engine only' data before requiring committments to a single application.

For these reasons, investment deals seem overly risky (much greater than the standard risks) and they fall through because of the level of equity the investor wants. One group actually valued this risk at 5 board members out of 7 PLUS 80% ownership... and then had the audacity to pitch it like it was golden. Stirling designers aren't as concerned with the money side early on as much as the opportunity to tap the various future applications so they want to maintain ownership of their companies. This contrasts with the concepts of going public, merging-up and being acquired.

If your company can play by these general guidelines, there are a number of companies and individual startups that have strong promise available that you may be interested in. Many members of this group can point you toward them and I know of others that you won't find in the public domain. First, however, tell us your company's goals.

Since this is distantly off the topic of "Stirling engines for education", I would encourage you to contact me at to continue any business talk in depth.

Todd McKissick
My appologies to Brent, Stan and the other members for this little off-topic rant.
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Response to Stirling engine market overview

Postby bptdude___2569 » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:24 pm

That was very nicely written.
I am obviously one of the silly idea people who like to banter with ideas, while so many other are just trying to assess how to buy ideas to resell for markup, etc.

I once asked a very respected business type, as in one that really played with his own large amounts of money. I asked if I came up with a way to extract power from something everybody had unlimited access to, like sunshine, and convert it using inexpensive engines, to make usable power in the form of electricity or hydrogen, would peope invest in it?

His answer # no. Unless he could control it, own it, patent it, as in having exclusive rights over others, the idea has no business value, even it would save the world.

Shaya, would your group be interestd in investing money to grow an industy that would feed all humanity if you made no money?

Somehow I don't think so. It is not good business, right?

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