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Directory:Stirling Engines

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How Stirling Engines Operate Work
How Stirling Engines Operate Work

The Stirling engine was invented in 1816 by the Rev. Robert Stirling who sought to create a safer alternative to the steam engines of the time, whose boilers often exploded due to the high pressure of the steam and the primitive materials of the time.


Major Developments

  • Infinia Corp gets $50 million investment - Infinia Corp. is a step closer to producing and marketing its 3-kilowatt solar energy generating unit, thanks to a $50 million investment by private equity funds, company officials announced Monday. The financing is a huge vote of confidence by investors, said J.D. Sitton, president and CEO of Kennewick-based Infinia. "It shows we have the right technology, right product, right market and the right team." (Tri-City Herald; Feb. 12, 2008)
  • Stirling Engine Ready for Production for Home Use - Whisper Tech has received a $300 million contract to supply tens of thousands of its WhisperGen units to homes in the UK. Powered by natural gas, it provides electricity and heat at a cost savings and cut in CO2 emissions. (National Business Review; Aug. 13, 2004)
  • Sandia, Stirling to build solar dish engine power plant : Goal is to deploy solar dish farms with 20,000 units producing energy.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories is joining forces with Stirling Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) of Phoenix to build and test six new solar dish-engine systems for electricity generation that will provide enough grid-ready solar electricity to power more than 40 homes. Solar/Sterling Engine Story Continues

Do It Yourself

  • Featured: DIY > Stirling Engines / Solar >
    Build a Stirling Solar Engine with Off-the-Shelf Parts - Green Power Science host, Dan Rojas, presents the basics of Stirling engine operation, suggesting how make one from off-the-shelf parts including a timing chain wheel for the flywheel, metal cans for the displacer piston, drill paddle bit for the shaft. (PESWiki; Jan. 24, 2009)
  • PowerPedia:Rotary Moon Stirling is a Stirling engine design for solar concentrators, with a rotary displacer (or "shader"). It is hoped that it can get near the magical 1000 EUR / 1kWe cost (when home-built or mass-produced).


  • Stirling Engines / Alternative_Fuels >
    Dean Kamen developing eco hybrid that will run on anything that burns - Dean Kamen – the multimillionaire inventor behind the Segway – is well down the road in the development of a new bike that combines electric power and a radical stirling generator which will allow it to burn almost any fuel; and is part of a project that also includes a car designed around the same technology. (GizMag; June 28, 2009)
  • Micro-Star International (MSI) Air Power Cooler - The better air piston design can transfer over 70% heat power and transfer to air power, that's great efficiency transfer from Stirling engine theory. Used to cool heatsinks on motherboards. (MSI; Feb 29, 2008)
  • Infinia Corp's Stirling Solar Technology - Infinia is the leading developer of free-piston Stirling generators ranging in sizes from tens of Watts to multiple kilowatts. Infinia also applies its free-piston technology in the development of cryogenic coolers and pressure wave generators that provide long-life, maintenance-free cooling for a variety of applications. (PESWiki; Feb. 21, 2008)
  • Stirling Energy Systems - Developing equipment for utility-scale renewable energy power plants and distributed electrical generating systems. Their most remarkable achievement is the recent contract with Southern California Edison to install a 4,600-acre solar system that will generate 500 megawatts.
  • Stirling Cycles "THIS Link Sends You to A Bogus Web Site Search Engine."- Innovative product design provides sturdy mechanical construction with reliable power at a fraction of the cost of other Stirling competitors. It is equally favorable over internal combustion designs for its stealthy operation, variety of usable fuels, and efficiency. It offers low vibration, reliablility, no odor, quiet fuel efficient operation.
  • Sunpower Unveils 2007 Micro Co-Generation Technology - Device uses Stirling engine to efficiently use natural gas to generate heat and 1 kW of electricity. Use this link Designed for kitchen installation in Europe. Brings distributed energy concept home. (PESN; Mar. 3, 2006)
  • Stirling Denmark - Provider of CO2 neutral Combined Heat and Power plant based on a biomass fired Stirling Engine. The advantage for combustion of biomass is that the combustion is not inside the cylinders like in an internal combustion engine. The hot heat exchangers have been designed directly for biomass combustion based on experiences from biomass steam boilers.
  • ReGen Power Systems - Developing a 1 megawatt low temperature Stirling engine to convert excess process heat and steam energy at industrial plants into electricity. It has an efficiency of 13% for steam and 20% for industrial heat, with O&M costs projected at $0.006/kWh and a payback period from 2-3 years.
  • WhisperGen - a home combined heat and power (CHP) generation unit manufactured by Whisper Tech, is Currently in advanced market trial stage in Europe. Unit is probably the most advanced development of the Stirling Engine "external combustion" technology that generates movement from even small temperature gradients.
  • Household Micro CHP - Disenco micro combined heat and power (mCHP) units use Stirling engines to convert 70-80% of the available energy in natural gas for central heating and 10-25% into electricity. By utilizing waste heat, they are 90% efficient compared to 45% for a central power station, and can reduce household fuel bills up to 30%. (Gizmag; Apr. 19, 2007)
  • TIAX - MicroPower platform uses a free-piston Stirling engine that operates on a wide variety of common fuels for clean, quiet, and reliable small-scale power. Its emissions are so low that indoor operation is completely safe and non-obtrusive.
  • Global Cooling - The Free-Piston Stirling Cooler has a high energy efficiency and uses earth friendly cooling substances. It has long life through the use of non-contact running surfaces, high efficiency over a wide temperature range, is light weight and uses environmentally safe helium as the working fluid.
  • Thermal Engine Corporation - The Heat Wave Stirling-cycle stove fan for wood/pellet stoves is placed directly on top of a hot surface and circulates the warm air using only the heat radiated by the stove as its power source. It increases stove heating efficiency by up to 35% and will run indefinitely while atop a hot surface while not costing a penny to operate.
  • Stirling BioPower - Stirling Biopower (formerly STM Power) designs, manufactures and sells the world's most advanced

Stirling-powered electrical generator called the PowerUnit, which is a 25-kW system used for various stationary and mobile power applications. It converts heat energy into mechanical and electrical energy. News Release.

  • Cyclone Technologies - The Cyclone Engine is an external combustion/internal expansion engine, using variable timing, variable compression ratios and multiple heat exchangers to efficiently use any liquid or gaseous fuel and create more power and significantly less emissions than current gasoline or diesel powered internal combustion engines. It is not a Stirling cycle but a newer Schoell cycle engine.
  • Kockums - Swedish submarines use Stirling engines for propulsion. The main feature of the Kockums air independent propulsion (AIP) system is the use of Stirling engines burning pure oxygen and diesel fuel in a pressurized combustion chamber.

How it works

Here are some questions which this site wishes to answer. With explanations, animations, photographs, theory, sofware, worksheet, videos…

Information media

Probably the best general book on Stirling engines. Explains how Stirling engines work. Covers all the current power producing uses of Stirling engines along with how to contact the people who build them. Covers everything from Stirling engines in military submarines, to a Stirling engine that powers the rotisserie for an Oklahoma mechanic's barbecue.


Do-It-Yourself model Stirling/Hot-Air machines

  • Kontax Stirling Engines - Ready-built unit of dimensions 3.5 x 5 inches. "This little charmer will run on any warm surface (the warmer the faster), even the palm of your hand and, amazingly, backwards (anticlockwise) on a shallow tray of ice cubes."
  • Exergia- " Sophisticated demonstration models, using alternative energy technologies for universities, schools and interested individuals like Stirling and Steam engines, fuel cells, photovoltaic objects, toys and more."
  • American Stirling Company - Features array of kits, includes instructions of how to build a Stirling Engine (from a kit). See San Diego Union Tribune feature article June 1, 2004: "Stirling engines, invented nearly 200 years ago, are being built by North County man."
  • eMachine Shop Simple Do-It-Yourself Stirling motor links Only requires a temperature difference of 8°C to run. A hot hand and/or an ice cube is enough to keep it running.
  • Little Machine Shop - Model Stirling Engine Assembly Kit.


  • Hybrid Vehicles >
    Revolutionary auto already on the road - The prototype vehicle, a zippy two-seat hatchback designed with more than a passing resemblance to the Volkswagen Beetle, can go about 60 miles on a single charge of its lithium battery and with practically zero emissions. "It's the world's first Stirling hybrid electric car, said Dean Kamen at DEKA. (Slashdot, Green Car Congress (Union Leader; Nov. 9, 2008)


"There are lots of little advantages that can be played with Stirling engines and phase change materials, but in general there is nothing there for utilization that will boost us to a higher level of energy utilization.

"What the world could use to good advantage is a cheap Stirling design. Don't know of any great ones. I only know of Dean Kaman's design with Decca Engineering (I think it is called, or Deka?) in Manchester, NH. Cheap and simple, but not cheap and simple enough."

--Ken Rauen, PES Network Inc, Science Advisor (Feb. 9, 2006)


Of Stirling engine information at Wikipedia


See also

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