Solar Stirling Engine Plans To Build A Solar Stirling Generator
Solar Stirling Generator Plans Overview
Solar Powered Stirling Engine Advantages
Solar Stirling engine plans and easy diy blueprint. The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency and simpler set up.
Solar panels produce electricity through the photovoltaic effect, a process in which the panels release electrons once they are hit by light with the right frequency, hence generating electricity.
By contrast, the Stirling solar power generator does not use the light photovoltaic effect, instead it converts the sun rays into heat through a parabolic reflector that concentrate the rays into a heat collector. The heat generated is enough to start up and run a traditional and very green Stirling engine which in turn spins a generator, producing electricity.
Thus, in a solar powered Stirling engine, the energy from the sun is firstly converted into heat, then into mechanical power and lastly into electricity. It is therefore better calling the whole device a solar Stirling plant, since the Stirling engine is just part of it, the middle mechanical component working with the parabolic reflector at the start and the generator at the end to produce eventually electric power.
Despite the extra mechanical stage between the capture of the sun rays and the final electricity output, a
diy solar stirling engine holds three great advantages over standard diy photovoltaic panels. Firstly, it is even cheaper to build because the total costs of raw materials can be as little as $100, even cheaper than the cheapest homemade solar panel.
Secondly, it is easier and quicker to implement because there are no complicated soldering or fragile and easy-to-break solar cells to deal with. Thirdly and most importantly, it is more efficient, up to 24% efficiency at converting light into electricity compared to 12/14% of solar panels, offering a greater free power output.
Solar Stirling Engine Plans Vs Solar Panel Plans
Solar Stirling Generator Vs Photovoltaic Panels
Solar Stirling engine plans have the advantage of being accessible to most people and do not require deep technical knowledge. Despite the high price tag of ready made applications, the building process for a diy Stirling plant is relatively easy.
While a solar panel requires care and attention in soldering the fragile photovoltaic cells in the right order and the cells themselves, a Stirling generator requires a parabolic reflector plus a tiny and basic Stirling engine.
The whole plant is fairly quick to set up, but most importantly, the Stirling plant is very safe and green to operate, delivering more electric energy but occupying a smaller area than traditional photovoltaic units.
The total cost of basic materials can be as little as $100 for the tightest of budgets. A single diy Stirling plant can deliver up to 40% of the electric power of an average household, thus it can be scaled up to several units to supply the whole household electricity eliminating bills, similarly to solar panels but more efficiently.
Another advantage of the solar Stirling plant is that it offers a
longer lifetime comparing to conventional solar panels, while over all the parabolic dish combined with the Stirling engine offers the highest efficiency amongst all CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) systems.
Other sun concentrating systems include the linear fresnel reflector and the solar power tower, but the parabolic reflector as used for the Stirling plant is the most efficient.
The only caveat to a solar Stirling engine may possibly be the visual impact like for all renewable energy devices, as neighbors may be forgiven for thinking that the happy solar Stirling installer is really a maniac of satellite TV, especially if he/she has several parabolic units.
Having said that, even few units of Stirling plants may be a lesser eyesore than the whole roof carpeted with solar panels, the jury is out to decide what is unsightly and what is not.
Solar Stirling Engine Plans are a new and attractive option to get rid of the grid tyranny without having to bow to expensive ready made applications either.
Solar Stirling Engine Plans Vs Kits
Solar Stirling Generator Plans Vs Solar Stirling Engine Kits
There is a problem though, ready made solar powered Stirling generators are very, very expensive and the preserve of high end, top technology industries that so far have used this system for transportable military applications, making them unsuitable as an average household investment. They are just starting now to be used for civilian purposes in selected farms, but it would take many years for a private to pay it off.
The investment price itself, several $thousands for a single unit, would put the majority of people off. Right now sun generated electricity is dominated by photovoltaic solutions, both ready made and diy, while the Stirling option is still in its infancy from a commercial standpoint, plus there is no competition to pull the market price down. As a result, ready made solar powered Stirling engines are very expensive, more so than common solar panel kits, pushing up demand for solar Stirling generator plans.
The Stirling engine itself is an old time invention by a Scottish gentleman, Robert Stirling, that, though ingenious, is not quite top end technology and has been working very well since the last century when tools and technology were relatively rudimentary comparing to today's, while the parabolic reflector and the electric generator are not NASA engineering components either.
As of 2013, solar Stirling engine kits are still very expensive, if available at all, as the market of this alternative way to capture the energy from the sun and convert it into electric power has not blossomed yet.
Solar Power Stirling Engine Alternatives
Solar Stirling Generator Vs Photovoltaic Parabolic Dish
There is no mystery about the Stirling engine itself, an efficient mechanical engine invented two centuries ago by Rober Stirling which uses the temperature difference of an expanding and contracting internal gas to move a piston.
However, it is only recently that such an old technology has been coupled to concentrating solar power in order to spin a generator and produce electricity.
There is an array of large scale projects going on, especially in sunny countries like Arizona, where Stirling engine generators with parabolic dishes produce some of the most amazingly efficient power outputs of any known renewable source system. The parabolic dishes have proved more efficient than throughs (pipes with circulating internal fluid), reaching a 31% efficiency.
Most notably, Infinia has developed state of the art solar Stirling generators with outputs ranging from tens of watts to multiple kilowatts and parabolic dishes with a capacity of 32%.
And while it is true that parabolic dishes concentrating solar power to a Stirling engine are more efficient than conventional photovoltaic systems, the Israeli firm Zenith Solar has recently come up with ultra efficient photovoltaic parabolic dishes, not panels, that produce electricity without a Stirling engine.
This new system is based on HCPV (high concentration photovoltaic system ) to produce not just electricity but also heat for domestic use, such as hot water, at the same time.
For now, ready made applications of this kind are prohibitively expensive for the average consumers and would take many years to pay themselves off. Alternatively, a new wave of DIY projects has sprung to life to make it possible for green conscious people to take advantage of these new technologies.