The present teachings relate generally to thermal cycle
engines; and particularly to a thermal energy input system for a thermal cycle engine.
It is generally known to provide an engine that can be
powered by various non-chemical and mechanical means. For example, thermal differences
can be used to power an engine to produce mechanical force and/or electrical power
through an alternator. The thermal dynamic engines use various thermal dynamic cycles
that are harnessed to provide the mechanical energy for various engines. Various
thermal cycles include Stirling cycles, brayton cycles, and rankine cycles can be
used. These various cycles can be employed in engines using the same or similar
name as the engine.
Generally, each of these engines can produce energy from
one of the related thermal dynamic cycles. The thermal dynamic cycles and the related
engines can require a differential in thermal energy to create the mechanical and
electrical energy from the engine. Nevertheless, efficiency, control, and effectiveness
of the various engines using the thermal dynamic cycles is difficult.
For example, a Stirling cycle engine is a thermal energy
to a mechanical energy conversion device that uses a piston assembly to divide a
fixed amount of gas between at least two chambers. The chambers are otherwise connected
by a gaseous/fluid passage equipped with a heat source, recuperation, and heat sink
exchangers. The piston assembly can have at least two piston heads that are separated
and act on both chambers simultaneously through mutual coupling. As the volume in
one chamber is increased, the volume in the other chamber decreases and vice versa,
although not strictly to the same degree since one of the piston heads may have
a greater area or volume than the other piston head by design.
The movement of the piston assembly in either direction
can create an elevation of pressure in the chamber that experiences a decrease in
volume while the other chamber experiences an increase in volume and decrease in
pressure. The pressure differential across the two chambers decelerates the pistons,
and causes a flow of gas from one chamber to the other, through the connecting fluid
passage with its heat exchangers.
The heat exchangers tend to either amplify or attenuate
the gas volume flowing through them, depending on whether the gas is either heating
or cooling as it flows through the fluid exchange. The fluid exchange, also a regenerator
heat exchanger, stores heat from the hot end gas as it flows to the cool end. Likewise
the regenerator gives up heat to the cooler gas coming from the cold end. This improves
the efficiency of the thermal cycle.
The character of the piston assembly as a finite massive
moving object now comes into play according to the laws of motion and momentum.
The piston will overshoot the point at which the pressure forces across the piston
are in balance. Up to that point, the piston has had an accelerating pressure differential
force that charges it with kinetic energy of motion. Once the net forces on the
piston balance, the acceleration ceases, but the piston moves on at its maximum
speed. Soon the pressure differential reverses and the piston decelerates, transferring
its kinetic energy of motion into gas pressure/volume energy in the chamber toward
which the piston has been moving up to this point. The increased pressure in the
chamber now accelerates the piston in the opposite direction to the point where
it reaches its maximum velocity in the opposite direction at the force balance point,
and then decelerates as an increasing pressure differential builds in the other
chamber. Once again, the piston stops, reverses direction, and repeats the process
anew. This is a case of periodic motion as the energy is passed from the form of
kinetic energy in the piston assembly to net pressure/volume energy in the chambers.
The periodic motion tends to be damped by small irreversibilities,
especially the gas that is pumped back and forth from one chamber to the other through
the fluid passage. This is the normal case for a Stirling engine in an isothermal
state. When it is thermally linked to hot source and cool sink reservoirs at the
source and sink heat exchangers respectively, the gas flowing into one of the chambers
is heated while the gas flowing into the chamber on the other side is cooled. In
this way, a given mass of pressurized cool gas sent to the hot chamber is heated
and amplified in volume to a sizable shove. Conversely, a given mass of hot gas
leaving the hot side chamber is reduced in volume as it is cooled by passage through
the heat exchangers, and the cooled gas push in the cool side chamber is thereby
attenuated dramatically due to the reduced volumetric flow of the cooler gas. Thereby,
a change in the piston position, and its affects on gas temperature and pressure
within the Stirling cycle engine, cause portions of the hot reservoir thermal energy
to turn into periodic mechanical piston energy and gas pressure/volume energy, and
the remaining thermal energy to flow to the cool reservoir in periodic fashion.
The compressible gas within the two chambers and the piston
moving between those chambers form a spring-mass system that exhibit a natural frequency.
Similarly, the motion of gas between the two chambers has its own natural frequency
of a lower order. The conversion of thermal energy to mechanical within this system
would cause such a system have successively higher amplitudes until mechanical interference
or some other means of removing the energy appears. For many commercial Stirling
cycle heat engine systems, a power piston operating at the same frequency, but out
of phase with heat engine piston, is used to remove the excess mechanical energy
and convert it into useful work.
One way to produce this energy conversion is to use the
time varying position of the power piston to produce a time varying magnetic flux
in an electrical conductor. This produces an electromotive potential which can be
consumed locally, or remotely over transmission lines, by connection to an electrical
appliance such as a motor, battery charger, or heater. Commonly, this is done by
using the power piston to drive an alternator mover through a mechanical link. The
alternator mover is what converts a time varying position within the alternator
into time varying magnetic flux in the alternator electrical conductor(s).
Stirling cycle engines can be designed and tuned for optimal
efficiency at various different temperatures for the source heat exchanger. The
heat source can be any appropriate heat source. For example solar thermal energy,
combustion thermal energy, or any appropriate heat source. The engine can be designed
to utilize the general thermal output of the selected source
The engine output, generally in watts, is usually in proportion
to its size. Thus, a larger engine produce more energy than a small engine. The
efficiency of the engine, however, can decrease as the size increases. Because the
engine is based on kinetic movement of pistons within a chamber the size of the
piston can reduce energy out put per unit of thermal input if it is too large.
Further, the engines can be operated at high pressures.
Thus, a high pressure chamber can surround the engine. This can reduce the practicality
of venting or contacting any of the internal components with the atmosphere as the
pressure differential could be high.
Thus, it is desirable to provide an engine that create
high power output while maintaining a selected piston size, such as volume or mass.
Further, it is desirable to provide an engine that can be enclosed in a selected
size pressure chamber with minimal portions contacting or extending into the atmosphere.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to various embodiments a thermal dynamic cycle
engine system can be filled with a gas for producing electrical energy. The thermal
dynamic cycle engine system can includes a heater head including a heat exchanger.
The heat exchanger can have a cylinder including an annular wall, a passage defined
in the annular wall, and a pressure equalization port. The thermal dynamic cycle
engine system can also include a cool head and a displacer piston operable to move
relative to the heater head and the cool head to move the gas. The gas can be operable
to move through the heat exchanger to the cool head.
According to various embodiments a system for providing
electrical energy is disclosed. The system can have a thermal dynamic cycle engine.
The thermal dynamic cycle engine can have a heater head including a heat exchanger
including a cylinder including an annular wall, a passage defined in the annular
wall, and a pressure equalization port. The thermal dynamic cycle engine can also
include a cool head and a displacer piston operable to move relative to the heater
head and the cool head to move the gas. The system can further have a power conversion
system and a power transfer system. The power produced by the power conversion system
can be transferred with the power transfer system to a load.
According to various embodiments a method of producing
electrical energy with a thermal dynamic cycle engine including a heater head including
a heat exchanger including a cylinder including an annular wall, a passage defined
in the annular wall, and a pressure equalization port; a cool head; and a displacer
piston operable to move relative to the heater head and the cool head to move the
gas is disclosed. The method includes positioning the heat exchanger, the cool head,
and the displacer piston in a pressure vessel. The pressure vessel can be pressurized
to a selected pressure. A volume enclosed by the heat exchanger can be pressurized
to the selected pressure when pressurizing the pressure vessel. During operation
of the thermal dynamic engine a pressure differential in the pressure vessel can
Further areas of applicability of the present teachings
will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should
be understood that the detailed description and various examples are intended for
purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present descriptions will become more fully understood
from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS
- Fig. 1 is a thermal dynamic engine employing the Stirling cycle according to
an embodiment of the invention;
- Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional bottom perspective view of a heat exchanger according
to various embodiments;
- Fig. 3 is a cross-sectional exploded bottom perspective view of a heat exchanger
according to various embodiments;
- Fig. 4 is a cross-sectional top perspective view of a heat exchanger according
to various embodiments; and
- Fig. 5 is an environmental view of a system using a thermal dynamic cycle engine.
The following description of various embodiments is merely
exemplary and is in no way intended to limit the scope of the invention, its application,
or uses. Furthermore, although the following description relates specifically to
a thermal dynamic cycle engine using the Stirling cycle to produce power, it will
be understood that any appropriate thermal dynamic engine may be used. For example,
the teachings herein can be equally well suited to operate and optimize a thermal
dynamic cycle engine using the Brayton cycle or other appropriate thermal dynamic
With reference to Fig. 1, a thermal dynamic cycle engine
power creation and transfer system 8 is illustrated. The system 8 includes a Stirling
cycle engine 10 that is operably interconnected with an alternator 12. In this way,
mechanical energy created in the Stirling cycle engine 10 can be transformed to
electrical energy with the alternator 12. Again, it will be understood that any
appropriate thermal dynamic cycle engine may be used in place of the Stirling cycle
engine 10. In addition, any appropriate alternator may be used as the alternator
12 to provide for a conversion of the mechanical energy produced by the Stirling
cycle engine 10 to electrical energy.
The Stirling cycle engine 10 generally includes a hot region
or heater head 14 and a cool region 16. The heater head 14 can include a heat exchanger
as described in further detail herein and is generally positioned in an area to
receive or collect thermal energy and the cool region 16 interconnected with a radiator
(not illustrated). The Stirling engine 10 and the alternator 12 can be interconnected
and contained within a substantially continuous shell or pressure vessel 18. It
will be understood, however, that the Stirling engine 10 and the alternator 12 may
be substantially individual or separate portions interconnected and joined using
any appropriate means, such as welding, sealing, or otherwise. Because the shell
18 is substantially continuous and sealed, it defines a predetermined volume of
gas to operate the Stirling engine 10. The shell 18 can be pressurized with the
gas to any appropriate pressure, such as about 300 psia. Moreover, it substantially
seals the Stirling engine 10 and the alternator 12 from outside atmospheric gases.
Generally, the gases contained within the shell 18 are those that are heated and
cooled to operate the Stirling engine 10.
Although operation of the Stirling engine 10 is generally
known in the art, a brief description is provided below for reference. The shell
18 of the Stirling engine 10 encloses a specific volume of gas that is able to travel
around and/or relative to a displacer piston 20. The displacer piston 20 is positioned
substantially movably or dynamically sealing against walls of the Stirling engine
10 or conduits can be provided for the gas to travel around the displacer piston
20. That is, the displacer piston 20 need not touch the walls but form a gap that
is small enough to not allow a substantial amount of gas to pass during operation
of the engine. For example, cooling end conduits 22 can be positioned near the cooling
section 16 of the Stirling engine 10. In addition, heating head end conduits or
inlets 94 (discussed further herein) can be positioned near the heating end 14 of
the Stirling engine 10. Therefore, gases may travel through the cooling end conduits
22 and inlet 94 around the displacer piston 20. Generally, the gases can travel
through a gas transfer conduit and/or regenerator 26 which is generally defined
by an exterior or between an exterior and an intermediate wall of the Stirling engine
The displacer piston 20 can be held within the Stirling
engine 10 by a plurality of flexure bearings or springs 28. Generally, the flexure
bearings 28 allow the displacer piston 20 to oscillate or vibrate along an axis
defined by the displacer rod 30. The displacer rod 30 can be affixed or mounted
to a portion of the Stirling engine 10 such that it is relatively immobile relative
to the Stirling engine 10 while the displacer piston 20 can vibrate relative to
the displacer rod 30. The displacer piston 20 can form a dynamic seal, as discussed
above, with an intermediate wall 27 of the Stirling engine 10. Therefore, the gases
are forced to travel through the respective conduits or inlets 22, 94, and 26 as
the displacer piston 20 vibrates relative to the displacer rod 30. Moreover, the
flexure springs 28 allow for axial motion relative the displacer rod 30 but not
transverse motion relative to the displacer rod 30. Also, the displacer piston can
include a pin hole 121 similar to the pin hole 120 of the heat exchanger, as further
As the displacer piston 20 moves axially relative to the
displacer rod 30, the gases enclosed within the shell 18 can move through a passage
32 as well. The gases that pass through the passage 32 compress in the compression
space 34. A power piston 36 can be contained within and substantially seals the
compression space 34, therefore allowing an insignificant volume of gas to pass
the power piston 36. Therefore, substantially all the force of the gas that is forced
into the compression space 34 by the displacer piston 20 moves the power piston
The power piston 36 is interconnected with an alternator
rod 38. The alternator rod 38 is also interconnected or includes a magnetic material
or portion 40. Substantially surrounding the magnetic portion 40 are a plurality
of windings 42. The windings 42 are interconnected with a power transfer line 44
to allow electricity to be removed from the alternator 12. Generally, as the magnetic
portion 40 vibrates along the axis relative to the windings 42, an electromotive
force (emf) is created. This electromotive force is transferred through the power
transfer line 44 out of the alternator 12 as a voltage.
The alternator rod 38 generally vibrates along an axis
which is maintained by a plurality of flexure bearings 46 within the alternator
12. The flexure bearings 46 allow the alternator rod 38 to vibrate along an axial
dimension with little or no vibrating transversely thereto. At a closed end 48 of
the alternator 12 is an additional bushing or holding member 50. This holding member
50 additionally helps hold a second end 52 of the alternator rod 38 in place. Also,
the alternator rod is generally displaced a distance D from the end 48 of the alternator
12. During operation of the Stirling engine 10 which moves the alternator rod 38
in the alternator 12, the second end 52 of the alternator rod 38 moves closer to
the end 48 of the alternator 12. Generally, the distance D will vary over the cycle
of the Stirling engine 10. However, if the distance D becomes substantially zero
or less than zero, the Stirling engine "knocks". When the Stirling engine 10 and
the alternator 12 knocks, the alternator rod 38 engages or collides with the end
48 of the alternator 12. Controlling the stroke length or the load of the alternator
12, however, can minimize or eliminate the possibility of knocking.
The power line 44 is generally interconnected with a coupling
54 while an external power line 56 is connected therein to transfer the voltage
from the system 8 (described further herein). A controller 58 can also be connected
with the coupling 54 and can adapt the load being provided to the alternator 12
by a load 60 being taken or the power being taken from the alternator 12. Such control
systems include those disclosed in
U.S. Patent Application No. 10/434,311, filed on May 8, 2003
U.S. Patent No. 6,871,495 issued on March 29, 2005
, both of which are incorporated herein by reference. The load and current
can be adjusted with the controller to optimize power transfer and operation of
the system 8. The controller 58 can then determine how much power can be used for
a load 60. The load 60 may include a present user load, battery, or parasitic load.
In addition, various sensors such as a temperature sensor 64 and a current sensor
66 can be used by the controller 58 to determine an optimal load to be placed on
from the alternator 12 to ensure for an optimal operation of the alternator 12 and
the respective Stirling engine 10.
The hot portion or heater head 14 may include a heat exchanger
80 illustrated in Figs. 2-4. The heat exchanger 80 can include a first or lower
portion 82, a middle portion 84, and an upper portion 86. It will be understood,
however, that the heat exchanger 80 need not be provided in three pieces, and it
will also be understood that the heat exchanger 80 can be provided in more than
three pieces. The heat exchanger 80 may be formed as a single unit including the
various structures, as discussed further herein in this single unit. Further, the
heat exchanger 80 may be formed in a plurality of units greater than the number
of three, such as dividing the middle portion 84 into more than a single piece.
It will be understood that the heat exchanger 80 can be formed in any selected number
of pieces depending upon the characteristics of the selected system 80, the materials
used, manufacturing consideration, and the like. Thus, the heat exchanger 80 can
be used in the heater head 14.
The heat exchanger 80 defines an exterior surface 88 and
an interior surface 90. The heat exchanger can also include a bottom layer or portion
91, which can also define a portion of the interior surface. As discussed herein
the bottom layer can define a pin hole or opening 120. Further, the interior surface
90 can surround and contain a volume or area 92. The volume 92 can be an open or
void or can be filled with a selected material. For example, the volume 92 can be
filled with an insulating material that can contact or be near the inner wall 90.
The insulating material can be provided for various purposes, such as maintaining
a selected temperature in the heat exchanger 80 or any other appropriate reason.
As discussed above, the Stirling engine 10 generally works
by the transport of gasses due to thermal or pressure differences formed within
the Stirling engine 10. The heat exchanger 80 can be used to heat a selected portion
of the gas placed in the system 8 as discussed above. Further, as discussed above,
the Stirling engine 10 works by transferring or moving gasses within the system
8, particularly within the wall 18.
The heat exchanger 80 defines a passage 92 allowing gasses
to pass through the heat exchanger 80 and the passage 92. The passage 92 can include
an inlet 94 defined in the, or at least partially in, the first heat exchanger portion
82. The first passage 94 can include a depression 96 defined by the lower heat exchanger
portion 82 and an upper containment area 98 defined by the middle heat exchanger
portion 84. This heat exchanger 82 can be formed with a selected geometry for interconnection
with the middle heat exchanger portion 84. It will be understood, however, that
the inlet portion 94 can be defined completely by either the lower heat exchange
portion 82 or the middle heat exchanger portion 84.
The inlet line 94 can interconnect with a first traversing
line 100. The first traversing line 100 is formed through a portion of the middle
heat exchanger portion 84. The gasses that enter the inlet line 94 can travel along
the first traversing line 100. The first traversing line 100 can be defined completely
by the middle heat exchanger portion 84 or may be defined by a plurality of portions
or including the middle heat exchanger portion 84.
A turning line 102 can be defined near the upper heat exchange
portion 86. The turning line 102 can be defined by a recess 104 in the upper heat
exchanger portion that engages an upper portion 106 of the middle heat exchanger
portion 84. Similar to the lower heat exchanger portion 82 defining the recess 96
that is enclosed by the lower portion 98 of the middle heat exchanger portion.
A second transverse line 110 extends generally along the
length of the middle heat exchanger portion 84 to an outlet port 112 in the lower
heat exchanger portion 82. The outlet portion 112 can include an outlet port 114
that allows the gasses that enter the inlet line 94 to finally exit the heat exchanger
The first transverse line 100 and the second transverse
line 110 can be parallel or non-parallel. For example, as exemplary illustrated,
a first end 100a of the first transverse line 100 is a distance E from a first end
110a of the second transverse line 110. This is different from a distance F between
the second end 100b of the first transverse line 100 and a second end 110b of the
second transverse line 110. Therefore, the distances E and F can be the same or
different depending upon whether the first transverse line 100 is parallel or not
parallel to the second transverse line 110. It can be selected to have the transverse
lines not be parallel to increase the area through which the gasses travel to obtain
thermal energy from the heat exchanger 80. Nevertheless; for various purposes, such
as manufacturing or the like, the first transverse line 100 can be substantially
parallel to the second transverse line 110. The distance F can also allow for a
large radius to minimize the pressure drop of the gasses as they pass through the
As exemplary illustrated, a plurality of each of the portions,
including the inlet 94, the transverse line turning line 102, the second transverse
line 110, and the outlet portion 112 are provided. Nevertheless, it will be understood
that each of these portions can be defined by a space between various portions of
the heat exchanger 80. For example, the first transverse line 100 and the second
transverse line 110 can be defined as a space between an inner boundary portion,
a middle portion, and an outer boundary portion. Thus, the transverse lines 100,
110, need not be formed as a plurality of portions within the middle heat exchanger
portion 84, but can be substantially continuous or annularly defined by a plurality
of cylinders of the heat exchanger 80. Nevertheless, the heat exchanger 80 can be
provided with the plurality of ports for various reasons. For example, the plurality
of ports, the geometry thereof, the size thereof, or the like, can be used to regulate
a gas flow within the Stirling engine 10.
The heat exchanger 80 can be formed of any appropriate
material to assist in transferring the thermal energy from a thermal energy source
to the gas that flows through the line 92. The various materials can exemplary include
metal, metal alloys, composites, and other appropriate materials. For example high
strength nickel, nickel alloys, or other metal alloys with a high percentage of
nickel can be used to form the heat exchanger.
Further, the heat exchanger 80 can include the pin pole
or gas transfer hole or port 120. The gas transfer port 120 can be provided in the
heat exchanger to allow for the pressure of the charge gas that is positioned in
the system 8 to fill the heat exchanger, or a portion thereof. This allows the heat
exchanger 80 to be pressurized to the same pressure as the remainder of the system
8. As discussed above, the system 8 can be run at any selected pressure such as
about 300 psia. The charge gas is contained within the vessel 18. Therefore, the
pressure differential between the interior and the exterior of the heat exchanger
80 would be substantially minimal after the system 8 has been charged. This is substantially
achieved by containing the heat exchanger 80 within the wall 18 of the system 8.
Thus, although the port 120 allows the heat exchanger 80 to be charged during the
charging of the system 8, the pin hole 120 can be small enough to substantially
eliminate a pressure differential being formed within the heat exchanger 80 during
operation of the Stirling engine 10. The displacer piston can also include a similarly
sized pin hole 121.
The port 120 can be any appropriate dimension including
a radius of about 0.000125 millimeters to about 0.0254 millimeters (about 0.000005
in. to about 0.001 in.). The hole may also define an area of about such as defining
an area of about 4.90625 x10-8 mm2 to about 0.002026 mm2.
As discussed above, the displacer piston 20 oscillates within the Stirling engine.
10, as the displacer piston 20 oscillates the gasses can be forced through the channel
92 and the various other portions, as discussed above. The port 120, however, can
be provided of the selected dimension to substantially minimize the amount of gas
or the volume of gas that is able to move in and out of the heat exchanger 80. Therefore,
the amount of gas passing through the port 120 during operation of the Stirling
engine 10 is substantially negligible. Nevertheless, the port 120 allows the heat
exchanger 80 to be charged to the pressure of the system 8 for operational efficiency,
such as minimal pressure differentials within the container 18.
Generally, charging the heat exchanger 80 to the operating
pressure of the system 8 allows the heat exchanger 80 to be efficiently manufactured.
For example, the pressure differential that the heat exchanger 80 is exposed to,
because it is pressurized to the pressure of the system 8, is substantially minimal.
The pressure within the container 18 is substantially equivalent throughout the
entire container 18, therefore the heat exchanger 80 is not required to withstand
pressure differentials or they are minimized. Therefore, the heat exchanger 80 can
be substantially light, connected together with efficient joints, such as brazing
materials, and include an efficient construction. This also allows longevity of
the system because even small leaks can be tolerated in the system and it will still
maintain at least a majority of its efficiency. Further, the formed pinholes 120
and 121 form substantially dynamic seals in the system as they are formed small
enough to not effect pressure differentials during the operational frequency.
Further, the distance F defined between the first transverse
channel 100 and a second transverse channel 110 can be selected to be substantially
maximized for the particular Stirling engine to which the heat exchanger 80 is interconnected.
That is the radius defined within the upper heat exchange portion 86, or simply
the radius of the channel 92 near the upper portion 86 can be substantially maximized
to minimize a pressure drop as the gasses move through the heat exchanger 80. The
minimization of the pressure drop can increase efficiency of the system and allow
for maintaining the high operating pressure within the system 8.
A method and apparatus for producing electrical energy
from a thermodynamic cycle engine is also disclosed. The apparatus can include a
heat exchange apparatus portion which allows for a large surface area for thermal
energy collection while maintaining the efficiency of the thermodynamic cycle engine.
For example, a Stirling engine can include a large heater head portion that can
be contained within the pressure vessel of the thermodynamic engine yet maintain
a selected size of the various pistons of the thermodynamic cycle engine.
As discussed above, the Stirling engine system 8 can be
used for a plurality of applications. For example, the system 8 can be a size to
provide a selected amount of watts for a substantially portable system. For example,
the system 8 can be sized to be substantially portable by a single user in an efficient
manner. The system 8 can then be heated with any appropriate system, such as solar
energy, chemical energy, combustion energy, or the like. Further, the system 8 can
be sized to provide any substantial amount of power, such as kilowatts or megawatts.
The system 8 can be used to convert thermal energy provided
by a star 200, such as the sun. The star 200 can provide thermal energy to a power
production system 202. The power production system can include a collector, such
as a solar collector 204. The solar collector 204 can include a collecting surface
The collecting surface 206 can substantially focus the
thermal or light energy from the star 200 to a collection area 208. The collection
area 208 can be defined by a housing 210. The housing 210 can be part of an energy
production system or Stirling housing 212. The housing 210 can include or be interconnected
with a plurality of the system 8. Generally, the system 8 includes the cooling portion
16 and are generally near an exterior of the housing 210 while the heater head 14
is positioned within the housing 210.
As the light energy and thermal energy are collected by
the collecting surface 206 and focused into the collection housing 210, it is heated
to provide the thermal energy required for operation of the Stirling engine system
Further, the housing 210 can be held relative to the collection
face with various support portions 214. Further the collection dish 212 can be held
relative to a surface 216 with a stand 218. A controller 220 can be used to assist
in assuring that the collection surface 206 is generally pointed or faced near or
towards the star 200.
Therefore, it will be understood that the Stirling engine
system 8 can be used in any appropriate application. The system 8 can be used in
a substantially portable system, such as providing energy for a portable radio or
communication system. Alternatively, or in addition thereto, the system 8 can be
used for a high power output application which can include converting solar energy
into electrical energy.
The description of the teachings is merely exemplary in
nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the teachings are
intended to be within the scope of the teachings. Such variations are not to be
regarded as a departure from the scope of the teachings.