Cogeneration CHP, North America, Solar

Stirling engine for solar CHP applications

US-based developer of heat and electrical power generating systems, Cool Energy Inc, has announced the completion and operation of its third Stirling engine platform, the ‘SolarHeart’ engine, that converts low temperature heat into electrical power.

The engine will be integrated into a solar thermal system for homes and buildings to provide both heat and electrical power from free solar fuel, says the company. Optimized for users of heating oil or propane in colder climates (eg northern US, Canada and Europe), the system could reduce energy bills by as much as 75%. The system will include high quality evacuated tube solar collectors and a storage tank that allows electrical power generation, space or domestic water heating night and day, all year long.

Sam Weaver, CEO and President of Cool Energy, said. ‘After our engineers finished assembly of the engine, it ran upon first activation and generated over 600 W of electrical power. In a short time the engine was producing near 1 kW. Our team will now be using a higher temperature working fluid to simulate a solar application and we expect to generate power in the 1.5 kW range.’

And the technology is attracting a partner organization. ‘We are very interested in working with Cool Energy as their solution has the potential to expand the application of solar thermal products to include electricity generation,’ said Michael DiPaolo, President of Regasol USA , a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paradigma Energie–Germany and a system provider of regenerative heating technology.

In addition to the solar application, the Cool Energy engine can utilize waste heat (eg exhaust heat from a diesel generator or industrial facilities) to generate electricity.