NSTI Nanotech 2009

Solar thermal storage features enhance low temperature heat to electricity conversion Stirling engine

S.P. Weaver
Cool Energy, Inc., US

Keywords: solar thermal, thermal storage, renewable energy, geothermal, waste heat

Abstract:

Cool Energy, Inc. (CEI) has been developing the SolarHeartTM Engine, a novel low temperature Stirling engine for converting mid-temperature (100-300°C) heat sources, including solar thermal, geothermal and industrial waste heat flows into electricity. The company is integrating the engine with rooftop solar heat collectors and a thermal storage tank to comprise the SolarFlowTM System which supplies clean, cost-effective heat and grid-connected electricity to homes and small commercial buildings. The SolarFlow System gathers solar heat energy from solar thermal collectors at very high collection efficiencies, delivers the heat into heat transfer fluid which is circulated through the engine and then used to provide the majority of the space heating, water heating and electricity needs. The thermal storage tank integrated with the SolarFlow System provides operating versatility, as heat can be delivered and electricity can be produced well into the night or during cloudy conditions that limit energy generation from other solar energy systems, including solar PV. The SolarHeart Engine is the core technology advance being developed by CEI. An advanced control system also being developed by CEI optimizes the energy generated or stored as heat to provide more energy and value for buildings than any other renewable energy system.
 
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