Many thanks to ajp for posting a comment today which included this link to an article from the Guardian, which reports on how a solar installation in South Africa’s Kalahari desert built by a Swedish company called Ripasso is converting solar energy directly into electricity using a Stirling engine.
The solar plant uses mirrors to focus the sun’s energy that drives the Stirling engine, and is reportedly able to convert 34 per cent of the solar plant’s energy into grid-usable electricity (compared to 15% in photovoltaics solar plants according to the article).
From the article:
“The technology works by using the mirrors as giant lenses that focus the sun’s energy to a tiny hot point, which in turn drives a zero-emission Stirling engine.
“The Stirling engine was developed by Reverend Robert Stirling in Edinburgh in 1816 as an alternative to the steam engine. It uses alternate heating and cooling of an enclosed gas to drive pistons, which turn a flywheel. Because of the material limitations at the time, the engine was not commercially developed until 1988, when Swedish defence contractor Kokums started making them for submarines”
This article prompts the question: could the Stirling engine be an important partner-technology for LENR, and spefically the E-Cat? Andrea Rossi has recently said that while his team is finding that the Hot Cat is proving to be a promising technology when it comes to making home heating units, they have not yet been able to find a suitable way of converting heat to electricity for home power generation.
If, as Rossi says, heat can be produced at a high COP level with the Hot Cat, even if heat-to-electricity efficiencies were not terribly high using a Stirling engine, it still might be worthwhile to use some of the heat being produced by the Hot Cat to drive a Stirling engine to make at least some electricity.
Rossi has shown interest in Stirling engine technology in the past, but so far has failed to find an off-the-shelf Stirling engine that could be combined with the E-Cat. Perhaps this is still the case — but this article indicates that there is at least one company that is finding important success with the technology, and perhaps this is a sign that there is a promising future for Stirling engines.
Since all you need for a Stirling engine to operate is a heat source, and the output of LENR is heat (which can be produced cheaply), there could be an important synergy between these two technologies.