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Category: Science
Date: 11/20/10 06:00 PM

50 Responses to Stirling Engine

  1. Profile photo of madest
    madest Male 40-49
    7378 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 5:31 pm
    Link: Stirling Engine - This 200yo invention turns heat into mechanical energy.
  2. Profile photo of KtySpix
    KtySpix Male 18-29
    621 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm
    Ok I so want to build one
  3. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm
    I thought everyone knew about these.

    There are photovoltaic cells that are more efficient, but the big advantage with Stirling engines and mirrors is that they can be made cheaply, without hi-tech labs and without rare materials. Which means they can be mass produced to make a solar power station.

    Having said that, the same is true of CSP, which is basically using mirrors to focus sunlight to create heat instead of using coal/oil/gas/nuclear to do it.

    Does anyone know the pros and cons of those two types of solar power?
  4. Profile photo of Fatninja01
    Fatninja01 Male 30-39
    25420 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 6:57 pm
    Ok now i have to build one!
  5. Profile photo of almightybob1
    almightybob1 Male 18-29
    4290 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm
    First line: You Can Use the Sun as a Source of Heat


    STOP THE PRESS.
  6. Profile photo of ZackDark
    ZackDark Male 18-29
    299 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:13 pm
    @Angilion: Besides the obvious ones (no significant energy production during mildly overcast days, loss of efficiency over time due to scratches on the mirrors) I don`t there are cons to it.

    At least not cons that everything else also have.
  7. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm
    @Angilion: Besides the obvious ones (no significant energy production during mildly overcast days, loss of efficiency over time due to scratches on the mirrors) I don`t there are cons to it.

    At least not cons that everything else also have.

    I should have made my question clearer. I meant relative to each other, not relative to generating electricity in ways other than solar.
  8. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    32761 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm
    Using a focused mirror array (dozens or hundreds of mirrors) for solar energy (via heating a liquid) is amazing hard to do. Only a small amount of dust knocks their efficiency all to heck, and they take up a lot of space for a little power output. Not to mention the whole clouds thing...
    Also it`s great for heating liquids from (idk exact numbers, this is from long ago memory) 20C to 80C, but then the system becomes less efficient around 100C.
    Idk about the Sterling Engine tho, lolz!
  9. Profile photo of phoneybone
    phoneybone Male 18-29
    1744 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm
    make something like that that can power a car, then i`ll be impressed
  10. Profile photo of OldOllie
    OldOllie Male 60-69
    15841 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm
    I couldn`t help but notice that the big parabolic reflector was in Spain. Isn`t that where they sunk $billions into a giant "green jobs" boondoggle, and now their economy is practically in ruins with the highest unemployment rate in Europe at over 20%?
  11. Profile photo of xiquiripat
    xiquiripat Male 18-29
    2422 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm
    I love home garbage engineering.
  12. Profile photo of twenty5
    twenty5 Male 18-29
    167 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    rofl.. I made one of those for a drating highschool project. simple as pie
  13. Profile photo of danky
    danky Male 18-29
    559 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm
    quiet operation

    not very quiet
  14. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    November 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm
    I still believe that the Thorium Fuel Cycle nuclear plants have the better solution.
  15. Profile photo of Lionhart2
    Lionhart2 Male 40-49
    8306 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 12:24 am
    Did anyone else put a `fap fap fap fap` sound to that rubber grommet on the side, or am I just twisted?
  16. Profile photo of Volsunga
    Volsunga Male 18-29
    1548 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 1:01 am
    too bad you can`t get enough torque out of one of these to do anything useful.
  17. Profile photo of Intaresting
    Intaresting Male 18-29
    812 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 1:48 am
    It`s always about power with you yankees, ain`t it? Even though a cleaner, non-fossilic power source for automobiles is possible, the Americans don`t want it because they want their cars to be powerful. What a joke.
  18. Profile photo of TalcumX
    TalcumX Male 50-59
    561 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 3:21 am
    @ intaresting....why don`t you fly your solar powered airplane over here and demonstrate your theory.
  19. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 5:08 am
    @ intaresting....why don`t you fly your solar powered airplane over here and demonstrate your theory.

    Game, set and match to TalcumX.
  20. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 5:16 am
    It`s always about power with you yankees, ain`t it? Even though a cleaner, non-fossilic power source for automobiles is possible, the Americans don`t want it because they want their cars to be powerful. What a joke.

    Nationalist babble.

    None of the other power sources for cars work particularly well yet. Right now, the internal combustion engine is the best solution available.

    That has nothing to do with the USA. Nor does it have anything to do with power - an electric car can have plenty of power and is inherently better suited to acceleration due to the far flatter torque curve. Given the tradition of the quarter mile in the USA, it might even be easier to sell a properly practical electric car there. If one existed.

    I`m waiting for someone to reply that the answer is hydrogen fuel cell and not electric.

    Yes, many anti-ICE advocates really are that ignorant.
  21. Profile photo of bex753
    bex753 Male 40-49
    221 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 6:48 am
    the statement that it is all about power with the yanks is so true look at the fact that the same modal of car in America always starts with an unnecessarily bigger engine that its European counterpart and no diesel engine offered which these days have amazing fuel economy
  22. Profile photo of DickenMcHunt
    DickenMcHunt Male 18-29
    1299 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 7:28 am
    "None of the other power sources for cars work particularly well yet. Right now, the internal combustion engine is the best solution available.
    I`m waiting for someone to reply that the answer is hydrogen fuel cell and not electric."

    Electric cars are fast becoming more viable. The people that discount hydrogen as a potential fuel source are retarded. Ethanol is extremely practical. Diesel is extremely practical. Gasahol is extremely practical.

    The fuel source that makes the most sense, however, is bio-diesel. Bio-Diesel engines last longer than gasoline and require less maintenance. They get better MPG, have better emissions and Bio-Diesel can be produced in large and sustainable quantities in a variety of ways including algage, plant watse animal waste, recovered oils (from garbage/landfills,) waste commercial oil, waste food oil, etc-etc.

    If we combined these sources we would have excess bio-diesel and cost would be far cheaper than the curr
  23. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 7:55 am
    Angilion: Hydrogen fuel cell, No. Would be easier and cheaper to convert current ICE engines to burn hydrogen, Sure it won`t be as efficient as hydrogen fuel cells, but then we won`t have to worry about those damn expensive batteries going dead in 3-5 years either.
  24. Profile photo of simim23
    simim23 Female 18-29
    1427 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 8:06 am
    "the statement that it is all about power with the yanks is so true look at the fact that the same modal of car in America always starts with an unnecessarily bigger engine that its European counterpart and no diesel engine offered which these days have amazing fuel economy"


    It`s a combination of our suburban sprawl and our love for speed.

    I don`t drive to get from point A to point B. If I needed to do that and that alone, I could take the bus, metrorail, other forms of public transit, hitch a ride, bicycle, walk, take a plane if need be, etc.

    I drive because I like feeling the wind rush through my hair, listen to NOFX blaring in the speakers, and smoke my cigarette out the window at 80 mph. I drive because it makes me feel like a badass. If it was merely about transportation I`ve got plenty of other fuel-efficient ways to do it.
  25. Profile photo of IkeRay
    IkeRay Male 18-29
    2704 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 8:20 am
    dicken, they are also working with Algaes that fast create dino-oil (crude), it was originally started in the late 90`s, but an oil boom dropped the price of gas too far for algae to even compete. I don`t know if you`re old enough to remember, but 10 years ago, gas stations were selling gas for $.59/gal, the lowest I saw it go was $.29/gal.
  26. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:10 am
    the statement that it is all about power with the yanks is so true look at the fact that the same modal of car in America always starts with an unnecessarily bigger engine that its European counterpart and no diesel engine offered which these days have amazing fuel economy

    It isn`t about power. European and Japanese cars frequently have more power than USA cars.

    It`s about fuel prices, cost and driving habits. USA drivers tend to clock up more miles and tend to expect cheaper cars, so the emphasis has been on build costs and longevity. The big USA engines are simple and in a relatively low state of tune. That makes them cheaper to build and allows them to run for more miles without having to make them better (i.e. more expensive). The drawback is that they need to be much bigger to get the same power output and they`re not as economical - two things that traditionally haven`t mattered much in the USA.
  27. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:16 am
    Angilion: Hydrogen fuel cell, No. Would be easier and cheaper to convert current ICE engines to burn hydrogen, Sure it won`t be as efficient as hydrogen fuel cells, but then we won`t have to worry about those damn expensive batteries going dead in 3-5 years either.

    You don`t need batteries with a fuel cell - it can supply on demand. Batteries are usually used for more flexibility and to allow for regenerative braking, but they`re not used anywhere near as much as in a battery-only care and thus last much longer.

    Burning hydrogen in an ICE has many problems. It`s not a simple conversion and it`s innately dangerous.

    But the biggest problem is that we don`t have any practical way to extract hydrogen in quantity. Or store it. Or transport it. Hydrogen simply doesn`t work yet.

    Massive improvements in batteries looks much more likely. With high enough charge to mass and charge to volume ratios, battery cars are practical.
  28. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:22 am
    Electric cars are fast becoming more viable.

    If these things happen:

    i) Massive improvements in batteries. We need at least 5 times the charge to mass ratio and at least double the charge to volume ratio. we also need a massive reduction in rare materials use and a massive decrease in maximum charge loss.

    ii) Massive increase in electricity generation. At least triple current capacity.

    iii) A national network of battery exchange stations. Drive in, swap battery, drive out. Batteries recharged at the stations. Driver "refuels" in minutes, just like now. Requires (i) and (ii).

    (i) is on the cards. It`s already at the prototype stage. They`re expect a tenfold increase in charge to mass ratio, which would get a useful battery down to about 50Kg, which would make swapping practical.

    (ii) could be, maybe, with better tech. Thorium cycle nuke anywhere, wave and solar where it works. Could work.

  29. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:28 am
    The people that discount hydrogen as a potential fuel source are retarded.

    They`re educated beyond media hype stories.

    Oh, sure, it`s a *potential* power source. So is nuclear fusion. Both are nowhere near practical now and might never be.

    Hydrogen is highly reactive, so it`s always found atomically bonded with other elements. Breaking those bonds takes energy. A lot more energy than is generated by using the hydrogen as a fuel. Now and for the foreseeable future, hydrogen is a very inefficient energy carrier, not an energy source, and that`s before you even consider the problems of storing and transporting it.

    We need something that can be made to work soon, not something that can potentially be made to work at some point in the future.
  30. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:36 am
    Ethanol is extremely practical. Diesel is extremely practical. Gasahol is extremely practical.

    Alcohol, oil, oil with a bit of alcohol. So the last two are still oil. More on alcohol later.

    The fuel source that makes the most sense, however, is bio-diesel.

    It shares the same problem as alcohol - to produce enough, you need to monocrop vast areas of fertile land, which causes huge social and environmental problems. People are already starving because biodiesel/alcohol crops are being grown instead of food.

    You can get some by processing waste, but it`s nowhere near enough to replace oil. It`s great if you do it yourself from waste cooking oil(*) because it costs you buttons, but there`s not enough.

    * Anyone who`s thinking of trying this should do their research first. It works on *some* diesel engines without modification, but the key word is *some*.
  31. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:38 am
    I`m waiting for someone to reply that the answer is hydrogen fuel cell and not electric.

    Yes, many anti-ICE advocates really are that ignorant.

    In case anyone missed my point: hydrogen fuel cell cars are electric cars. It`s sad how many anti-ICE advocates don`t even know that much about the technology they think they`re advocating for.
  32. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:59 am
    There`s also the interesting Jaguar C-X75 concept car. It`s a hybrid, but not the usual oil/electric hybrid motivated more by politics than actual function (a good diesel is more efficient). The Jag is a jet/electric hybrid.

    It sounds bizarre, but it makes sense when you look at the details. It`s similar to diesel/electric trains, but jets work better on a car-sized scale.

    The two jet engines work at a constant speed, which means they are very efficient. They generate electricity for the electric motors, which have variable power output and are thus useful for powering the car. They`ll burn almost any liquid fuel and burn it very efficiently, so emissions are very low. You can also switch them off and do your urban driving and short commutes on electric alone.

    Oh, and it has 970 bhp and 1600 lb-ft of torque if you switch the jets to drive rather than charge. "Only" 780 bhp and 1200 lb-ft with the electric motors.

    Shame they can`t put
  33. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 10:27 am
    Check out "White Zombie" on Youtube for a laugh. The builder wanted to make a point, so he started with a really dire car. A 1970s Datsun 120. Crap when it was made and ~35 years hasn`t improved it. He converted it to be all-electric and now he drag races it. It does 0-60 in 1.9s and a quarter mile in 10.3, so it`s not slow. It`s road legal, too.
  34. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 11:46 am
    Angilion: Burning hydrogen in a fuel injected ICE, And most cars are fuel injected these days, Is no more innately dangerous than burning gasoline. Fuel cells require batteries, They need them to provide the low end torque that drivers expect when accelerating from a stop. Not to mention that fuel cells operate best at a normal range of temperature, If they get too hot they can be dangerous, Too cold they don`t want to work at all. ICEs are know to work well at a much larger range of temperature.
  35. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 11:57 am
    Angilion: We can and have been extracting hydrogen from coal for decades, As well as from petroleum sources. Hydrogen can also be catalyzed from nearly any biological oil source. It`s considered a waste product in the oil industry and most of it ends up being burned off with the other gases that lighter than butane.

    used to live next to 3 oil refineries, When I was a kid, Pretty much know petroleum chemistry by heart, And by nose as well.
  36. Profile photo of Initzero
    Initzero Male 13-17
    31 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm
    I thought it was cool, kinda jury-rigged but still is very cleaver technology.
  37. Profile photo of SvampeBob
    SvampeBob Male 18-29
    3076 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm
    I was to amused by the bug on the site if you move your mouse over the left side of the page where there is facebook and twitter loge and move your mouse from the top to the buttom and up again and stop in the middle of the ad on the white it will go inn and out over and over again XD
  38. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm
    Angilion: Burning hydrogen in a fuel injected ICE, And most cars are fuel injected these days, Is no more innately dangerous than burning gasoline.

    Apart from the tank full of highly compressed hydrogen, which blows up rather spectacularly when mixed with air and which makes its way through almost anything.

    It`s not impossible to bring the risks down to something practical, but it is innately more dangerous.

    Fuel cells require batteries, They need them to provide the low end torque that drivers expect when accelerating from a stop.

    True, but so is what I wrote before:

    You don`t need batteries with a fuel cell - it can supply on demand. Batteries are usually used for more flexibility and to allow for regenerative braking, but they`re not used anywhere near as much as in a battery-only care and thus last much longer.
  39. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm
    Not to mention that fuel cells operate best at a normal range of temperature, If they get too hot they can be dangerous, Too cold they don`t want to work at all. ICEs are know to work well at a much larger range of temperature.

    That`s a good point.

    I`d like to point out that I`m not arguing in favour of hydrogen fuel cells either. Most of the same problems apply because you still need the hydrogen and that`s where the worst problems are.
  40. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm
    Angilion: We can and have been extracting hydrogen from coal for decades, As well as from petroleum sources. Hydrogen can also be catalyzed from nearly any biological oil source.

    Yes, it`s how nearly all the hydrogen available today is made.

    It`s very inefficient, it requires the fossil fuels that hydrogen is supposed to replace and it`s quite badly polluting. May as well just burn the fossil fuels - that`s more efficient.

    Also, it isn`t possible to make enough that way to switch from oil to hydrogen.

    It`s considered a waste product in the oil industry and most of it ends up being burned off with the other gases that lighter than butane.

    Do you have any figures for how much?

    Hydrogen...or gaseous compounds containing hydrogen? If it`s the latter, as I think it is, then you`ve still got the energy-intensive purification process to worry about.

    And it`s still using fossil fuels.
  41. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm
    On the plus side with hydrogen, there`s some initial research that indicates it might be possible to bioengineer lifeforms to extract hydrogen from various compounds containing it.

    That opens another can of worms, of course.

    Not a joke. Termites fart hydrogen.
  42. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm
    Hydrogen can also be catalyzed from nearly any biological oil source.

    Missed that bit - it also covers oil from plants.

    Which causes the same problems as making biodiesel on a suitably massive scale...and why not just make biodiesel with it instead? Or alcohol.
  43. Profile photo of BigMordecai
    BigMordecai Male 18-29
    94 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 6:07 pm
    Cool construction-link was stupid. We do use heat to power some invention and are well aware of it. Many thermodynamic engines are considered in the construction of automobiles. Yeah heat makes engine go, concept of combustion engines for some time now.
    On alternative energy Angilion is completely correct. Hydrogen is currently impractical as well as most current "alternatives". There are great diminishing returns to these items, as true with everything economically, in fact Ethanol and other resources on large scales have negative efficiency. This can be modeled using differential equations and has been. Another alternative is subcritical fission. It uses particle accelerators on even unrefined Uranium and even nuclear waste to create energy at a fraction of the input energy without producing dangerous waste. Thorium similarly cannot make a bomb or too dangerous waste and is a common resource relatively.
  44. Profile photo of BigMordecai
    BigMordecai Male 18-29
    94 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm
    Correction- good link, good project, bad site.
  45. Profile photo of davymid
    davymid Male 30-39
    12140 posts
    November 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm
    Holy smokes! We`ve suddenly solved the world`s energy crisis via the medium of Youtube by inventing a perpetual motion machine!

    No, wait...
  46. Profile photo of FrameRaid
    FrameRaid Male 30-39
    102 posts
    November 22, 2010 at 5:09 am
    Where do you put the weed?
  47. Profile photo of meepmaker
    meepmaker Male 30-39
    6694 posts
    November 22, 2010 at 8:00 am
    Well, ok then.
  48. Profile photo of Angelmassb
    Angelmassb Male 18-29
    15511 posts
    November 22, 2010 at 8:15 am
    According the author:

    "The age-old problem with Stirling engines is the difficulty in getting sufficient power out of them without having a massive engine. Using compressed hydrogen or helium is much more efficient but requires excellent sealing. The most promising engine coming to market is the Stirling Energy Systems parabolic dish solar Stirling engine, which uses high tech and hermetic sealing of free-piston engine. The best solar to electric efficiency so far."
  49. Profile photo of K3vin
    K3vin Male 18-29
    487 posts
    November 22, 2010 at 10:01 am
    new project!
  50. Profile photo of DickenMcHunt
    DickenMcHunt Male 18-29
    1299 posts
    November 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm
    "None of the other power sources for cars work particularly well yet. Right now, the internal combustion engine is the best solution available.
    I`m waiting for someone to reply that the answer is hydrogen fuel cell and not electric."

    Electric cars are fast becoming more viable. The people that discount hydrogen as a potential fuel source are retarded. Ethanol is extremely practical. Diesel is extremely practical. Gasahol is extremely practical.

    The fuel source that makes the most sense, however, is bio-diesel. Bio-Diesel engines last longer than gasoline and require less maintenance. They get better MPG, have better emissions and Bio-Diesel can be produced in large and sustainable quantities in a variety of ways including algage, plant watse animal waste, recovered oils (from garbage/landfills,) waste commercial oil, waste food oil, etc-etc.

    If we combined these sources we would have excess bio-diesel and cost would be far cheaper than the curr

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