2005-2006 Senior Design Project
San Jose State University Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Project: Build a solar powered Stirling engine that produces electricity.
Engine: Elizabeth Santiago, Michael Li, Jack Ting, Farial Moradnouri,
Coolant System: Kurt Vorsatz, Mike Sanders, Terence Xiao
Actuator: Angela Uzoma, Mike Khang Huynh, James Feister
Project Manager: James Feister
Coach: Stuart Davis
The objective of this project is to investigate the viability of an alternative commercially available solar power device that is more efficient and affordable than conventional solar power panels. This will be accomplished by the production of a prototype that will convert solar energy into usable electricity using a Stirling engine.
Last Updated: June 13, 2005
June 10, 2005
Initial construction and testing of the solar collector has been successfully completed.
Here the solar collector begins to combust a board of plywood, as can be observed by the smoke.
The board has been successfully combusted, as can be seen from the flames. The radius of the focused light can be approximated from the burn marks.
May 13, 2005
A prototype of the device that will align the satellite dish with the sun has been constructed. The device has successfully tracked the position of the sun.
This device uses stepper motors in conjunction with photo resistors to align the axis of a universal joint so that the top plate is perfectly perpendicular to the sun. The principles of this prototype will be used to align the satellite dish with the sun.
This is the solid model concept for the prototype.
January 19, 2005
A solid model of the Stirling engine that will be used for the project has been generated. A simulation of the engines operation has been successfully run.
Here is a model of the Rhombic drive Stirling engine that will be used to generate power. Several components have been deleted so that the interior of the engine can be viewed.
This is the engine fully assembled.
Light focused from a solar collector will generate heat at the focal point where one end of a Stirling engine will be placed. The heat generated by the absorbed light will cause the Stirling engine to operate. This will in turn rotate a generator, thereby producing usable, pollution free electricity.
For more information on the basic operation of Stirling engines you can visit http://travel.howstuffworks.com/stirling-engine.htm
Widespread use of solar power cannot be achieved so long as the initial investments into solar devices are prohibitively expensive and do not pay for themselves within a reasonable timeframe. In order to promote the increased use of solar power a device must be constructed that can be produced more cheaply than solar panels and have a greater efficiency. One possible method of cheaper, more efficient solar power is by using Stirling engines.
Solar powered Stirling engines offer the possibility of cheaper, more efficient solar power because the engine is relatively simple and has a theoretical efficiency much greater than solar panels. If solar powered Stirling generators can be mass produced at a low cost consumers will be more likely to invest in solar power because the timeframe in which it pays for itself will be greatly decreased.
If you are interested in funding or participating in the construction of the Thermal Solar Power project please send an email to JRFeister@yahoo.com
|Thank you to our