Stirling generators are rarely seen in the media, but they are actually one of the few options we have in turning raw heat to electricity.
Indeed, some variations of the almost 200-year-old Stirling engine are more efficient than others, but it’s good to see experimenters from around the globe tackling them, and solving their shortcomings step by step.
Today I stumbled upon this video made by a DIY experimenter called Oleg Petuhov (probably from Russia) and I was pretty impressed by the performance of his home-made Stirling generator.
The thing made with only a couple of tools in an environment with limited technological possibilities such as a home-based one, succeeded to reach 1687 revolutions per minute and, as Oleg claims in the title, produce 10 watts of power. Now this is nothing unusual as far as efficiency is concerned in a Stirling generator, but I’m sure properly equipped labs out there could do better.
A stirling generator can be powered by any source of heat, and the first one that springs to my mind is solar power, since it’s free. So make one such engine, put it in the focal point of a parabolic solar concentrator, and there you go – free, limitless power. The production efficiency will then only depend on what you’ll be able to get out of your stirling generator – the gas you use, the materials, etc.