A Stirling engine is a heat engine operating by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas, the working fluid, at different temperature levels such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work. Or more specifically, a closed-cycle regenerative heat engine with a permanently gaseous working fluid, where closed-cycle is defined as a thermodynamic system in which the working fluid is permanently contained within the system, and regenerative describes the use of a specific type of internal heat exchanger and thermal store, known as the regenerator. It is the inclusion of a regenerator that differentiates the Stirling engine from other closed cycle hot air engines.
Originally conceived in 1816 as an industrial prime mover to rival the steam engine, its practical use was largely confined to low-power domestic applications for over a century.
The Stirling engine is noted for its high efficiency compared to steam engines, quiet operation, and the ease with which it can use almost any heat source. This compatibility with alternative and renewable energy sources has become increasingly significant as the price of conventional fuels rises, and also in light of concerns such as peak oil and climate change. This engine is currently exciting interest as the core component of micro combined heat and power (CHP) units, in which it is more efficient and safer than a comparable steam engine.
Other articles related to "stirling engine, engines, engine":
... Philips was instrumental in the revival of the Stirling engine when, in the early 1930s, the management decided that offering a low-power portable ... determined that the almost forgotten Stirling engine would be most suitable, citing its quiet operation (both audibly and in terms of radio interference) and ability to run on a variety of heat sources (co ... that, unlike steam and internal combustion engines, virtually no serious development work had been carried out on the Stirling engine for many years and asserted that modern materials and know-ho ...
... to turn a motor, sunlight can be concentrated on the heat exchanger of a Stirling engine and used to drive a pump mechanically ... In some cases the Stirling engine may be suitable for local fabrication, eliminating the difficulty of importing equipment ... One form of Stirling engine is the fluidyne engine which operates directly on the pumped fluid as a piston ...
Famous quotes containing the words engine and/or stirling:
“The machine unmakes the man. Now that the machine is perfect, the engineer is nobody. Every new step in improving the engine restricts one more act of the engineer,unteaches him.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Oh, if thy pride did not our joys control,
What world of loving wonders shouldst thou see!
For if I saw thee once transformed in me,
Then in thy bosom I would pour my soul;”
—William Alexander, Earl O Stirling (1580?1640)