Maybe generating electricity. I could make a decent size Stirling
engine but I can't make a solar panel.
I haven't built a stirling engine yet but loads of more complicated
Maybe you already know the basics of Sterling engines but I will
repeat them anyway:
A Sterling engine gets it's motion from a fixed enclosed quantity of
expanding and contracting gas. A displacer shifts the gas (air) back
and forth between a heating and a cooling chamber. The displacer
cylinder does not have any seal (or even be cylindrical in shape), it
is purely an object that takes up space at either the hot or cold end
while the air is displaced to the other. The working cylinder is the
one that takes advantage of the expansion/contraction of the gas (I
suppose it could also be a liquid) and converts it to motion.
You can use anything to heat a Stirling engine.
My idea is to make the chamber flat enough for roof mounting and use
the cooling end for heating domestic water.
If the water heating capability is included in the calculation, it
should easily beat a photovoltaic panel for overall energy efficiency.
Plenty of links to various configurations of conventional Stirling
engines on google.
Thanks for the explanation.
I'm only familiar with hot air engines, but the principal sounds the
same or similar.
Latest issue of EIM, May 2004, is featuring a beginners series on
Strirling-Cycle engines. This should be interesting.
Camden also do quite a few books on the subject.