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"This video describes the Stirling engine, an external combustion engine which creates heat energy to power the motor, and can use many types of fuel. It can be used for both stationary and propulsion purposes and has advantages of better fuel economy and cleaner exhaust than internal combustion engines. The engine is shown being road tested at Langley Air Force Base."
Originally a public domain film from NASA, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization.
Wikipedia license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
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...
Robert Stirling was the Scottish inventor of the first practical example of a closed cycle air engine in 1816...
The engine is designed so that the working gas is generally compressed in the colder portion of the engine and expanded in the hotter portion resulting in a net conversion of heat into work. An internal Regenerative heat exchanger increases the Stirling engine's thermal efficiency compared to simpler hot air engines lacking this feature.
As a consequence of closed cycle operation, the heat driving a Stirling engine must be transmitted from a heat source to the working fluid by heat exchangers and finally to a heat sink. A Stirling engine system has at least one heat source, one heat sink and up to five heat exchangers. Some types may combine or dispense with some of these.
The heat source may be provided by the combustion of a fuel and, since the combustion products do not mix with the working fluid and hence do not come into contact with the internal parts of the engine, a Stirling engine can run on fuels that would damage other types of engines' internals...
Other suitable heat sources include concentrated solar energy, geothermal energy, nuclear energy, waste heat and bioenergy. If solar power is used as a heat source, regular solar mirrors and solar dishes may be utilised. The use of Fresnel lenses and mirrors has also been advocated, for example in planetary surface exploration...
Heater / hot side heat exchanger
In small, low power engines this may simply consist of the walls of the hot space(s) but where larger powers are required a greater surface area is needed in order to transfer sufficient heat. Typical implementations are internal and external fins or multiple small bore tubes.
Designing Stirling engine heat exchangers is a balance between high heat transfer with low viscous pumping losses and low dead space (unswept internal volume). With engines operating at high powers and pressures, the heat exchangers on the hot side must be made of alloys that retain considerable strength at temperature and that will also not corrode or creep.
In a Stirling engine, the regenerator is an internal heat exchanger and temporary heat store placed between the hot and cold spaces such that the working fluid passes through it first in one direction then the other. Its function is to retain within the system that heat which would otherwise be exchanged with the environment...
The primary effect of regeneration in a Stirling engine is to increase the thermal efficiency by 'recycling' internal heat which would otherwise pass through the engine irreversibly...
Not good for business as it requires less maintenance and will cause unemployment to rise as it also requires less parts to run and has higher fuel efficiency .
Thats some of the reasons why it didn't get to mass production.
And thats folks is why governments withhold technological advancements .
After reading some comments below, I can see that it probably be easily made for running at a constant speed to power an electric generator, used to charge batteries and power electric vehicles, sort of like a mini diesel/electric locomotive.
Why do you people know about this stuff?
You should be living under a rock waiting for your next issue of people! You don't understand the first thing about thermodynamics or chemistry! You don't even understand Newtonian mechanics like power and torque etc. You aren't familiar with the concept of a unit.
How can you people feel like you know what you are talking about!? You don't! Leave it to smart people!
Give yourself a hand for tying your shoes! You deserve it! Stop watching videos about free energy and alternative engines and conspiracies! You are too stupid! It's ok!
It consistently delivered more miles per gallon. What the hell does that mean? As compared to what? A tank? Notice today more then 30 years after this film there are NO Sterling powered anything. There's a reason for that. They're useless. If there was any practical applications or benefit over conventional engines they would be all over the place. They are nothing but curiosity's.
Evidently most people don’t know there are full size submarines in some countries using stirlings for main propulsion, if I remember correctly the Swedish and the French I believe were using them with kerosene and liquid oxygen for fuel.
One application this NASA film didn't go into is developing a Stirling engine generator using the heat from radioactive decay from spent nuclear fuel (it's still quite hot, just not enough to run a turbine) enclosing the whole package in a pressure container and using it for power on the eventual Mars mission (if it ever happens, we could go now if the funds could be found and equipment built), it would be a hundred fold more efficient than the thermocouplers used now.
theoretically we wouldn't even need to burn anything to heat it, an electric heating coil should work fine, while i'm aware that it would then be more efficient and powerful to just use an electric motor to power the vehicle, i'd like to point out that because this engine isn't directly getting its power from the batteries, it doesn't immediately stop working when the batteries run out
A spikedpsycho The tests were performed by NASA, ground tests to check the durability of the engine that can be used to generate electricity in space, the other types of engines simply would not be capable of operating there. The experiment is not about the potential car or truck application, and this engine can utilize the temperature difference between the exposure to sun and shaded surfaces.
+Steven Correa Better off as a stationary generator.
Stirlings could have been used to power ships but by the 1900's turbines found their niche in naval applications and began replacing steam piston reciprocating engines. The one advantage of the Stirling; you didn't need a massive and potentially dangerous boiler or steam for that matter. Direct heat against the piston. However the temperature and metallurgy involved would have been substantial. However the turbines greater power to weight ratio made the stirling and piston engines in general obsolete. When civil ships converted to diesel by the 1950's, their superior power to weight ratio, ease of use, familiarity among mechanics and faster throttling put the stirling engine in the dust. It's not to say stirling's don't have modern applications but vehicles aren't one of them. Some submarines are powered by stirling engines and are impeccable and impressive. But stirlings have other applications.
- Combined heat and power: Heat from natural gas can power a small building and the heat can be used to provide water/space heating. Way more efficiently than the power losses of grid electricity. About 30% of electricity generated in power plants sent to overhead lines is lost as parasitic heat loss. Generating power on site or within 50 miles reduces energy losses and vastly decreases fuel consumption.
- Any industry where heat is generated in large quantities like steel, chemicals, forging, etc can use the waste heat as a potential energy source allowing factories and plants to produce their own electricity or sell it to the grid.
- There's substantial potential for nuclear to simplify reactor design. Since a stirling relies on direct heat, it eliminates the need for water around the reactor and can be cooled with pumped air addressing the concern for nuclear plants that always need water in dry regions like Nevada and arizona.
- Stirlings operating in reverse can operate as a poweful cryocooler wih temperatures achieved as low as 50 kelvin (-360 degrees fahrenheit).
- Desalination: Any powerplant that uses thermal energy there's waste heat. Harnessing the waste heat via stirling engines can operate pumps to pump seawater thru reverse osmosis membranes making fresh water. Desalination is always prohibitively expensive because of the direct energy costs, with stirling engines using waste heat as their energy source energy costs are eliminated, fresh water would merely be a byproduct of power generation.
No one is suppressing this technology. You're free to build one if you want.
At 75 horsepower, it's enough for a small economy car, but not for a truck or SUV where power is required. The downside to stirling engines is they cannot be well throttled compared to internal combustion engines, they don't start immediately and the power to weight ratio is poor. These engines are best for generators than for car engines. Secondly, the acceleration is sluggish and start up times are longer; Versus a normal engine you can start it up, put it in gear and drive off in five seconds.
+kain hall It's pretty common problem, but not so hard to fix. After trying different springs you always find a proper ones.
In Ural, for example, many people used ones from a tape players. Much easier than trying to find what system failed with all these sensors and commutators)) In a long trip you need somethin' to replace and go, that's why I always keep my old contact ignition with mechanical advance (and a new coil as well)
tell me about it..... my dad and i spent so much money and hours trying to figure out the detonation on his 72 Plymouth 440
finally, we fixed the machine shops hot rod....and in the old school tradition, that means he gets to fix our hot rod
re-curved the advance...new springs and weights.....my dads is so happy, the car ran like crap for years
lot more of an old grey bread skill than plugging in a laptop and changing numbers
+AtheosPhyve But actually, they can use the same type of centrifugal governors, as in the ignition system of old IC cars. It was made to advance/retard the ignition without road and acceleration/braking affect
I think you would need a rather big stirling engine, when a much smaller gas engine would make the same power. You can see that sterling engine is filling up the engine bay of a truck and only making 75 horsepower? In todays market i think it would be to under powered. maybe technology makes us able to make more power in the same size engine, but i dont think it will be very practical.
In the market of gigantic 2-3 ton trucks that for some reason also need to do burn-outs this is the wrong choice of engine.
But if one goes for "eco box" cars that stay under a ton, small frame and run 50-70HP diesel engines for maximum gas mileage in the first place, then the Stirling is a good option, or it would be if they were manufactured on larger scale.
There's no need for gearbox because stirling has so much torque. As an example, steam-powered cars can run 60-70 mph on 30-40 hp engines, because all the power is transmitted directly to your driving wheels, with almost no losses. Stanley Rocket was the fastest vehicle in the world in 1906 breaking the land speed record of 127 mph on Ormond Beach. In 1907 it crashed at speed over 200 mph with 40-50 hp engine...
Not so convenient in transportation, takes a long time to get going, no big burst of power, with engine power the size needs to go up proportionally,...
These things are much better in use with static applications at a steady RPM.
conspiracy theories aside Stirling are too heavy to be more fuel efficient than equivalent power ICE in cars which isn't a problem in marine environments because the water provides an excellent cold reservoir dramatically increasing the temperature difference in a way that does not exist in cars and as we should all know greater temperature difference equals greater power
+Corpsie Because it's cheaper to update old well-known technology)) People's trust was always at proven side, almost nobody cares about all these ecological things... If 10 people would buy Priuses and Teslas, another 20 will buy 55-57 Chevy BelAir with huge V8 or something more pleasant-looking and roaring. Or some oversized pickups and jeeps
wait you read that in a book and you buy into it? based on wat I jst saw that only fuels my belief that big oil slammed this engine, oil stays clean uses any fuel, that would have hurt the oil companies bad.
chuckels431 he's responding to a previous commenter who said that he read in a college textbook that the stirling engine doesn't work for automobiles and that anyone who believes it does is a conspiracy theorist
to those saying the engine doesn't throttle up and down well, that could be easily solved. to throttle up, simply make the heat source variable in temperature. for throttling down, valves on each cylinder that can open to allow equal drops in compression until the desired rpm is achieved. next question?
stirling is only good as a generator and in conjuction wich cogeneration (power and heat), forget it if you try use it as a car engine.
Thats what the nasa final relatory said, i read that in a book here in my university. No big oil conspiracy, or iluminatti or e.t. bullshit
taken straight from the NASA paper on the subject:
"The ASE program goals to develop an alternative
automotive engine and to transfer Stirling technology
to the United States have been achieved by the Mod 11.
The Mod I1 reflects the advancements made in Stirling
technology and represents a competitive alternative
power plant that has evolved from a laboratory
curiosity to a viable engine ready for prototype or
That sure sounds like they believe a stirling is a viable alternative automotive engine if i've ever read one.
"A Wave of the Future"
Robert Stirling was a Scottish minister who invented the first practical example of a closed cycle air engine in 1816, and it was suggested by Fleeming Jenkin as early as 1884 that all such engines should therefore generically be called Stirling engines.
it is possible to make a everlasting car... but same time not...... we live in a world built on money baced on oil..... and we need money to rotate not stangnate
that why we make garbage to keep you investing money
i see here in norway that if i planned somthing realy good i could actualy become realy independent from sosiety allready...
if i can crate my free electisty.... chop my own wood.... hunt my own meat .... grow my own potato.... goverment have no power to forsce me here....allso water is no problem here
I would imagine speed was controlled with a CVT ( continuously variable transmission) like snow mobiles and Jeep Compass. I would sure like to see a mechanical schematic or an exploded view of that engine, I would love to try it.
1992, and this is the first time I have heard of it being used in a vehicle. This world gets on my nerves! They even said by 2016 the Navy will be running their ships on hydrogen. Pretty cool that they will be floating on their fuel source! Wonder if they got that idea from a guy like Stan Meyers? But hey! if you believe in free energy you might just be crazy! because the sun, the wind,the rain and nature all around is going to send you a bill in the mail? This planet gives me a headache!
Yea, since it can run the engine at it's most efficient torque at all times like ICE in a hybrid. This thing is full of highly compressed helium (possible explosion hazard) and it's still weaker than ICE. Maintenance would be weird since lube would be in the high pressure vessel and you don't want your helium going to waste.
the temperature difference can be done by using dry ice or liquid N2. it's would start up instantly. After that its can be run on a normal radiator. the design of the engine can change to rotary type Stirling engine for more efficient. and the piston can change to aerogel, all of the moving parts also change to ceramics. Nowadays, as the technology has more development, Why not do it again?
@SoraTheSol: No car company in the world wants an engine that never wears out and no oil company in the world wants a cleaner, more fuel efficient engine, so no they would never use it.
Also, as far as how fast it heats, up, although I have never seen their machine in operation, this is not a Stanley Steamer that has to bring water to a boil, its a Stirling engine which will heat up in seconds.
Compared to many older cars which had to warm up anyhow, its probably as quick or quicker.
On top of that, with more modern metallurgy, even more rapid heat-up is readily available, using super thin, highly conductive tungsten alloys which can hold in the pressure while delivering near perfect heat transfer.
interesting article about performance of this configuration. the fact its a sterling engine dose not negate inclusion of a alternator in this design. if you do further resear it simply looks like they modified a standard engine header to include that bulbus thermal vessel above the pistons.
The Stirling engine certainly has some benefits over ICE, despite the wrongly reported figures. As the demo car/truck/vans would have had an alternator for normal electrics, they should have added a HHO plant for the burner fuel...Water Power is FREE.
No, it's not 'free' but it does recapture otherwise wasted energy during idling, thus improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines. If the Stirling engine idles, then adding an HHO generator is a very good idea for further improving efficiency. You just need to automatically release the clutch on the HHO generator when accelerating or when RPMs are far from the ideal torque output so that you're not robbing performance. And the other thing is that you can actually use a Stirling engine on top of an ICE to put to use all the heat so as to improve efficiency even more. I would use a turbine/Stirling/HHO/electric hybrid.
Gee what happened to this technology. I see they also had one mounted on a dyno. hooked up to yellow high temp thermocouples which means they actually ran the engine. Nominal cost,lower emissions and better mileage WTF over???
i want to design a stirling engine to put into an M35A2 cargo truck .. from one multifuel engine to another.. problem with steam engines is there are two parts to a steam system.. the engine itself which takes steam pressure and converts it to mechanical energy, and the boiler system to convert the water into steam, this also requires a water tank, but the stirling engine doesnt need that second part, just the engine itself making them significantly lighter and capable of just as much efficiency
plus, stirlings are very, very simple in design, you can find youtube videos of functioning stirling engines made out of pop cans.. i will probably be engineering my own stirling engine for my own application though, probably a four-cylinder design to ease back on vibrations
When was this made? I'd judge the early 70's from the voice, but the planes seem later.
The Sterling engine promises much: They could be installed downstream of current generators in power stations and recover any remaining energy in the hot gases from the furnaces and the remaining energy from the turbines that currently go straight up the chimney or into the cooling towers.
Perhaps carbon pricing may provide the incentive to make power generation more efficient
Awesome engine for gasification powerplants. This efficient and simple engine allows use of "dirty" fuels that would damage an internal combustion engine. Also, it could easily use heat from a Thorium reactor to generate electricity. Thanks to everyone for sharing this information. Seek peace and truth in all things.
Yes it is, but not very effective since there is no way to buy one. What they are actually pitching is more money to NASA for further research. But we the people don't get the product of the research which our tax money sponsored. I would like to own one of these 75hp engines to build a light tractor around it just for my personal use. I'm not even that concerned about the fuel economy as an auto. I was sold on 'no need for oil changes'.
but you still burn something and you need to regulate NOx and SOx besides CO CO2 and HC.... How Stirling's engine developed by nasa disappeared? how come we dont drive cars with this engine? they use the cryogenic cooling with stirling...
You can use capacitors instead of batteries. They are lighter in weight and when you are using them in a hybrid configuration, they don't need to store that much power since they are only used for acceleration. It doesn't matter if you use one big capacitor or a bunch of small ones. You can have banks of many small capacitors designed to fit into custom spaces, so no need to have a cavernous engine compartment.
Yes, some people need to get together and co-develop an open source hardware of this engine so all can benefit. It can be used for lawnmowers, tractors, emergency generators, etc. I really dislike changing the oil on my lawnmower. We need this engine on the market now!
Here is the report on the test program. There are a few schematics of the engine inside. After reading it the video seems to over state the performance of the sterling engine compared to the conventional engine of the time.
The problem is probably not so much the oil companies, we would still need fuel, but just the talk of cars lasting a long time makes the car companies [and their employees] blood run cold, can you imagine how much unemployment there would be if people did not want to trade their 2011 Blooper because it was still running like a new car?. frightening isn't it.
Oil's profitable. The benefits of making Stirling engines would destroy a complete sector of American workers, both in mining and automotive. My dad works as a crew leader for a sand mining company that produces fracking sand. If Stirling engines destroy the overall use of gas powered cars, my dad could be laid off and my parents will end up in some financial trouble. In fact, my whole home town will fall into financial ruin, as most people there have their businesses thriving because of the oil industry.
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a clean powered car using Stirling engines, but the risk of economic loss is kinda a drawback of gas being replaced by Stirlings.
Nonsense. The striling engine uses any fuel you like. Including "planet destroying fuel". Just not as much as an internal combustion engine. Of course you could use non-fossil with the stirling as well, but lets be honest: The nearest gas station is selling fossil fuel, so what would I use?
A down side of using "nowaday" fuel is, that they contain lubrication additives and other additives, which are pointless when the combustion external.
But, lets start somewhere.
Has anyone ever tried using a pressure tank on a steam engine (or helium). What if you had a heater expand gas to increase the volume of a cylinder, use the gas to power an engine, then have the engine work as a pump when coasting to create regenerative braking.
Usually Stirling Engines don't throttle up and down well. Maybe a CVT transmission could help with that. Today I think you would use the Stirling to run at constant speed and recharge batteries in a Hybrid Electric setup... and use the batteries and electric motors to move the vehicle.
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