Keywords: air conditioning, clean technology, power generation, refrigeration, solar power, Stirling engines, water pumping, solar energy, electricity generation, rural areas, villages
Solar-powered Stirling engines: a low-cost possibility for village power, pumping and cooling
Stirling engines are heat engines that operate on a closed thermodynamic regenerative cycle and are used as power systems, refrigerators or heat pumps. Recent developments in Stirling technology allow the use of low temperature heat sources including flat plate solar collectors. New concepts for low-cost, low ΔT Stirling engines that may be made by village craftsmen using locally available materials are presented. It is anticipated that the machines will be used for water pumping, low capacity refrigerators for food and vaccine preservation, for air conditioning and for low level electric power generation (trickle charging an automobile battery to illuminate a 20/40 W bulb for a few hours during the dark hours).