I recently was regaled with a tale that smacked of science fiction, a 16 foot dish style solar concentrator hooked up to a Stirling Engine that generates 3000 watts. I was fascinated with the tale and had to do some research to check it out. Wickipedia defines a Stirling engine is a device that converts heat energy into mechanical power by alternately compressing and expanding a fixed quantity of air or other gas (the working fluid) at different temperatures. The Stirling engine has been around since 1816. Since I am a computer geek and not an engineer, this is the first I’ve heard of it.
Infinia has combined a solar concentrator to generate the heat to run their Stirling engine which then runs a generator. The solar concentrator is so effective it is rumored to generate over 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t need transmission lines, water, boilers or any of the paraphernalia that is usually needed when generating electricity. It is quiet and substantially more efficient than competitive technologies. Another unsubstantiated rumor is that the 3KW generator can be had for under $20,000.00. At this point, you can’t run out and buy one for your home but with all the “green initiatives”, we can hope that a home unit will be coming in the not too distant future. Wow, to get off the grid, would that be cool and saving money at the same time. Watch the Infinia video here or on YouTube.
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