Two centuries after its original invention, the Stirling engine has
finally emerged as a commercial reality. Providing an alternative
to centralized power generation, the Stirling is now employed as
the core component in domestic CHP (combined heat and power)
technology, which offers substantial savings in raw energy
utilization and in doing so also addresses current concerns
regarding hydrocarbon consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
The successful use of the Stirling requires the addressing of a
range of issues, including the long-standing mismatch between
inherently favorable internal efficiency and wasteful external
heating provision; the dearth of data on heat transfer and flow
related to the task of first-principles design; and its limited RPM
capability when operating with air (and nitrogen) as working
fluids. All of these matters are explored in depth in The Air
Engine: " Stirling Cycle Power for a Sustainable Future," The
account also includes previously unpublished insights into the
character and potential deployment of two related engines -- the
pressure-wave and thermal-lag.
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