Solar Stirling Plant, What is it, and is there any merit?

bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
My aunt sent me a link to something called a solar stirling plant. Has anyone ever seen a working demonstration?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Stirling Plant, What is it, and is there any merit?

    Here is a good page that talks about Stirling Cycle engines and how they could make solar thermal based power stations:

    http://me1065.wikidot.com/solar-stirling-engine

    And an array of Stirling engines being built:

    Stirling Energy
    to Kick Off Its First Plant — Cleantech News


    And the companies going bankrupt:

    Solar Shakeout Continues: Stirling Energy Systems Files for Chapter 7


    It is a tough market out there. :cry: And engineering/financial realities will not bend to poor business/government subsidies and their planners.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Stirling Plant, What is it, and is there any merit?

    Stirling engines in general are a great concept but commercial production of the engines always seems to be 10 years away. Dean Kamen rolled out a Sterling concept a few years ago in the press and I have yet to see them commercial. The dish type sterling concentrators just cant complete with cheap PV cells.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Stirling Plant, What is it, and is there any merit?

    Yeah I drive by the Maricopa farm occasionally, looks abandon, several stirling engines are off the dishes all are in a parked position. Really sad for a major installation to go dead so soon.
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Stirling Plant, What is it, and is there any merit?

    They used to have Stirling Dish out front where I work, it was part of a Dept of Energy experiment back in the 90's. The original Sterling went tits up soon after installation and that company that made it went out of business about that time, so they replaced it with a sterling engine from a different company. From 1999 to 2004 I saw it running maybe 1/2 dozen times and never for more than a couple weeks before it broke down again and then they had to wait months for new parts to fix it.

    Some of the companies trying to market these like to brag about how they have had one running continuously for several years. However, running continuously isn't the problem, it's starting and stopping them several times a day (when it's night, or when a cloud passes) that cause the problems.

    Maybe some day they'll solve those problems, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Especially not with the prices of PV panels falling so quickly. I don't think a dish can compete with current PV prices let alone if the PV prices drop any more.
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