The modern Stirling Engine is a clean and efficient engine. This is because the heat driving the pistons is supplied from outside the engine and transferred through heat exchangers to the piston volumes. Thus the creation of pollutants such as NOx can be avoided. The external combustion aspect enables a Stirling Engine to operate equally well on multiple types of fuel, such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, diesel, ethanol85, bio-diesel or even heat from the sun. The extra quiet operation of the Stirling Engine is one of the engines best features. Many Stirling engine configurations are balanced by the nature of their construction, and since the fuel is burned slowly and constantly outside the engine, there are no explosions to muffle.
A Stirling cycle is truly reversable (this means that if you heat and cool the heat exchangers of the engine you get power out or if you power the engine you get heating or cooling out), and many engines can be used as a heat pump when driven by a motor or even another Stirling engine. This allows the Stirling engine to be used for refrigeration and even cryo-cooling using absolutely no CFCs. Recent research indicates that Nitrogen (as in the main component of air) may be the refrigerant of choice.
The Stirling engine information for this page can be viewed by clicking on the green underlined links at the left of the page. These links cover the Stirling engine from its invention in the early 1800s until modern times. It includes antique engine styles and modern engine styles plus technical information in both simplified and detailed form with which the world of the Stirling can be understood much more fully.
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Ron Steel's plans and drawings are now on the site. These plans for constructing a sophisticated Stirling Engine are very inexpensive and comprehensive. See the Plans and Drawings link at left.
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