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SOLAR POWERED ELECTRIC GENERATING SYSTEM WITH STIRLING ENGINE

Presented to The Faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Xavier University

In partial fulfillment of the course ME 47: ME RESEARCH PROJECT

By Cabasan, Mark Julius R. Maraya, Mark Anthony M. Montante, Rizland C. Gaoiran, Ash Ton Leo

September 21, 2012

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Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION

Since the world began people from long ago use the power of the sun for different purposes, and now in the 21st century people use the power of the sun basically for energy purposes. The sun is humanity’s oldest energy source, and scientists and engineers have long sought to harness the power of sunlight for a wide range of heating, lighting, and industrial tasks. Philippines is geographically located near the equator where in every square meter of the surface receives approximately 1 kilowatt of thermal energy when the sun is overhead. In this study, the technical feasibility of developing a solar powered electric generation technology using a solar thermal collector in conjunction with selected configuration of Stirling engine. The solar thermal collector receives and concentrates heat energy from the sun and directs it to a heat receiver of selected engine. The engine converts moderate temperature to mechanical energy which can be utilized for electricity generation. In this study of converting solar thermal to mechanical energy in the process of producing usable electricity while making use of a primitive engine technology involves searching for a cost effective balance between system efficiency, and currently available material.

2. Some of the energy would be collected through thermal collector and strike it to the absorbers. Since. is it efficient to run the engine? What is/are material/s could be used for a good heat transfer of energy with high system efficiency? . which this energy uses only in a small percent by human.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The research is concerned about the problem of a high cost of electricity and the shortage of power in Mindanao. 3. large amount of energy from the sun passes through earth atmosphere and reaches the Earth’s surface. The researchers are supposed to have an output in developing a system that would work for the purpose of generating electricity and most especially an environmental friendly engine. The following are the specific questions concentrated in this study: 1. How big is the thermal collector? Based from the temperature recorded. The thermal collector would be designed that would efficiently collect heat energy into the raise of the sun that would enough to operate the system.

The study aims to convert solar thermal energy to mechanical energy which can be used to generate electricity at low cost and at the same time. To select low cost materials that is good in heat transfer. This maybe small but this can help to lower electric bills.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The main objective of this project study is to develop an engine for power generation base on the use of solar thermal collector with Stirling engine. 3. To identify the appropriate size of the thermal collector to be used. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The study of solar powered electric generation technology using a solar thermal collector that can be helpful to the society. which is a renewable source of energy. To determine the type of engine to be used that is appropriate for a given temperature output. The data that can be collected from the study will serve as reference for future researchers. This can generate electric power using the heat from the sun. There may be devices that already exist similar to the proposed project but in this study the difference is that it has small space requirement. environment friendly. . 2. The specific objectives are the following: 1.

a solar constant of about 1. low cost. the selection of material to be used in the solar concentrator is limited to high reflectivity.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY The study is focused only in collecting and converting solar energy to mechanical energy using solar collector and Stirling engine that is to be developed from selected low cost materials but still offering high system efficiency. and most importantly commercially available. In addition.3 2 𝑚 Where. This will involve the actualization of the project in the laboratory scale. the study will go through the fabrication of prototype in order to gather actual parameters that can be used in calculation of needed dependent variables.3 kW per square meter will be used in the equation: 𝐴𝑑 = 𝑄𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑘𝑊 1. easy to form into a desired shape. 𝐴𝑑 = is the circular area of the 3D parabolic dish 𝑄𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑑 = is the power needed to run a selected engine . tabulation and graphical representation showing how independent parameters affect dependent variables. The study is only limited to the conversion of heat energy from the sun to mechanical power in a manner similar to other mechanical engines. Thus. low thermal conductivity. THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK To determine the size of the parabolic dish.

the half angle is approximately 1/4°. the higher the maximum temperature will be. a larger rim angle would result to a steeper slope. The rim angle for the concentrator determines the curvature of the dish. 𝑟𝑖𝑚 1 = tan−1 2 1 Where: f = is the focal length of the collector D= is the diameter of the collector 𝑟𝑖𝑚 = is the rim angle . This means the maximum concentration of a concentrator is approximately 5000. The following equation gives the given output temperature for a parabolic concentrator neglecting conduction and convection. The rim angle can be determined knowing the focal length an collector diameter according to Stine and Harringan (1985) using the equation below. Ideally.6 The concentration ratio of a parabolic concentrator (PC) is given by Equation: 𝐶𝑅 = Where: 𝐴𝑑 𝐴𝑟 Ad is the projected area of the concentrator Ar is the receiver area. the maximum temperature achievable by a concentrator is the source temperature.The higher the concentration ratio. Achieving high temperatures is a unique characteristic to parabolic concentrators. The maximum possible concentration ratio for a collector with a source half angle of ϴ is given in Equation : 𝐶𝑅𝑚𝑎𝑥 = 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝜃2 For a concentrator using the Sun as its source.

Reflectorit is used to increase solar collector efficiency by reducing optical and thermal losses during the reflection of sunlight into a desired point of concentration Fins these are extended surfaces made of highly conductive material which enhances heat transfer from a surface. Convectionit is the mode of energy transfer between a solid surface and the adjacent gas that is in motion. the rim angle must be determined before sizing the aperture since it has an influence on the maximum concentration ratio.it is the rate at which solar energy is incident on a surface normal to the sun’s rays at the outer edge of the atmosphere when the earth is at its mean distance from the sun. Solar Constant. Solar Thermal Collector –it is a solar collector designed to collect heat which is primarily composed of metallic sheets formed into wedges. DEFINITION OF TERMS Stirling Engine – it is an engine which compresses and heats a compressed working gas and then expanding it in a cylinder which moves a power piston to produce work. bonded together to form a parabolic dish. the intercept factor. .7 According to Stine and Harrigan (1985). collector slope error and losses due to convection and radiation.

8 Incidence Angle.it is the fraction of solar radiation reflected from the parabolic concentrator that enters the aperture . Rim Angleit is an indicator of the curvature for the parabolic receiver Intercept Factor.it is the angle between the ray from the collector to the sun and the normal of the collector.

The study of solar thermal energy (esolar. The theoretical maximum concen- . and that heat is used to run a heat engine. which turns a generator to make electricity. Developments in reflector technology for solar thermal collectors have proven cost-effective for producing moderate to high temperatures. A stationary Compound Parabolic Concentrator reflector can concentrate both beam and diffuse sunlight within a range of acceptance angles..al) states that the solar thermal electric energy generation concentrates the light from the sun to create heat. Concentration of this energy is one of the key factors to be considered with this study along with the conversion of this energy into useful electrical energy. the concentration of sunlight via a focusing lens achieves temperatures high enough to ignite paper (approx. The working fluid that is heated by the concentrated sunlight can be a liquid or a gas. Abengoa solar Et. Solar thermal technology is still being developed as an alternative source in energy generation which makes use of the energy that is released by the sun on the earth’s atmosphere. 230 °C). An engine that has been in existence for a century will be modified and used to convert solar thermal energy to mechanical energy. …..9 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE This chapter presents a review of related literature and studies conducted by the researcher that are significant and related to the problems in developing an engine through a solar concentrator.

. no carburetion because you only need one kind of gas and no valve train because there are no valves. Ctheory. 2003). The combination of a parabolic dish collector for collecting the thermal heat of the sun and the high efficiency and dependability of a Stirling engine for the conversion of heat to mechanical energy makes it ideal for a laboratory scale setup for collecting the needed data.5 and 11 meters respectively (WGAssociates. There are no ignitions. Finally. 2001). The design of CPCs for stationary solar collectors involves a tradeoff between the concentration ratio and the amount of time during which sunlight of sufficient intensity falls within the acceptance angle (Konrad H. of a trough collector is equivalent to the inverse of sin (ϴa). Existing Stirling dish systems have been built to provide 10 kW and 25 kW electric with an approximate diameter of the parabolic dish being 7.10 tration. You don’t have to produce steam in a high pressure boiler. According to MAIER Christoph. One reason is that for this kind of engine it’s almost impossible to explode. And inside the cylinder there are no explosions needed to run the pistons like in an Otto or Diesel engine. where θa is the maximum acceptance half-angle. GIL Arnaud Et. it was much less dangerous to work next to a Stirling engine than to a common steam engine. He also discussed several reasons why there is high regard for using Stirling engine above any other type of engine. The parabolic concentrator must be sized to deliver about four times more thermal energy than the rated electrical output due to an average net system efficiency of around 25 % (Diver et al.al that Beta configuration is the classic Stirling engine configuration and has enjoyed popularity from its inception until today. Aschenbach. 2006).

The independent variable is the size of the solar concentrator. To know how the speed changes with the other variable the group will be using a tachometer or any angular speed measuring devices. One variable to be determined in this research is the speed of the shaft rotation. quantitative data collection method will be used. During test. After this research a graphical representation of the relationship between concentrator size and temperature. Using this method the relationship between variables will be determined. . size of concentrator will be set to determined sizes. tape measure and tachometer. Solar thermal is the source of power for the desired system so it is important to know the variation of its temperature using thermometer or thermocouple. The dependent variables are the supplied temperature (temperature of concentrated solar radiation) and the speed of the selected engine configuration. Size of the concentrator is an important variable in this research because all other variables are dependent on this variable. concentrator size and speed and temperature and speed will be presented. Instruments/Tools The instruments or tools to be used in this research are thermometer or thermocouple.11 Chapter 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Research Design In this research. To measure the size of the concentrator to be used the group needs a tape measure or any length measuring devices.

Speed Project Modification Final System .12 The Research Flow The study aims to develop a solar energy utilizing engine for power generation with the use of solar concentrator. Research and Information Gathering Determination of concentrator size by calculation and selection of geometry Conceptual System Design Fabrication of Laboratory Scale Solar Collector Temperature Profile Data Collection Selection of Stirling Engine Configuration Project Testing: Temperature Vs.

books and magazines. it is important to compute/calculate size and select the geometry of the solar concentrator that would yield the maximum concentration of solar heat. solar collectors and Stirling engine. Determination of Concentrator Size by Calculation and Selection of Geometry Solar concentrator should supply enough heat to start the operation of the desired system. the solar thermal temperature that can be measured is limited only during the said months. Professional recommendation is also highly taken into consideration in the fulfillment of the study. The solar thermal energy that can be concentrated to achieve the needed temperature is dependent on the weather and the geometry of the collector. Therefore. Using the tools mentioned previously. therefore the concentrators’ geometry must be able to accept and concentrate the heat to its focal .13 Research and Data Gathering The primary source of needed initial information will be through related literatures published in internet. needed data can be collected. To widen the scope of data collection the group will rely on the recorded temperature of the past year/s. Researchers will use relevant information and data of previous experiments conducted on solar thermal profile. all other relevant information will be acknowledged used for initial calculations. Since the study will be conducted only on the month between November 2012 and February 2013. The experimental set up neglects the use of a diurnal tracking device. This recorded data can be requested from weather monitoring agencies like PAGASA.

. In connection. It mirrors and focuses an image of the sun onto their focal target and can concentrate both beam and diffuse sunlight within a range of acceptance angles. Reflective material to be used for concentrator should have high reflectivity. The most important parameter is the solar concentrator’s diameter because the solar thermal energy that can be concentrated is dependent on its size. should be locally available and at low price. the vertical height of the reflector and the diameter. the rim angle between the focal point and the edge of the dish. parameters to be determined for the parabolic concentrator are focal length. Diameter of the concentrator to be used in this project will depend on the needed temperature and the available temperature.14 point without much adjustment. Other parameters can be calculated using equations for parabola. The parabolic concentrator is selected among other alternatives because parabolic concentrator is a cost-effective way to achieve high temperatures via concentration of sunlight.

enhanced by a flywheel which is connected to the generator by belt. The belt pulley configuration on the flywheel and the shaft of the generator produces electrical energy which will be stored into a connected .15 Conceptual System Design Electric Generator Parabolic Concentrator Lamp Rechargeable Battery The experimental concept design will be composed of a parabolic concentrator. rechargeable battery. a selected configuration of Stirling engine. The parabolic concentrator reflects solar thermal energy to a central receiver of the Stirling engine that is connected to an electric generator. pushes the power piston the other way to compress the air. electric generator. and a lamp for testing the electricity output of the system. The receiver produces gradually increasing heat caused by solar thermal heat that pushes the power piston due to expansion of gas when pushed to the hot end of the cylinder. When air is pushed to the cold end of the cylinder it contracts and the momentum of the machine.

The purpose of the lamp is to test the produced electricity that is being stored in the battery.16 rechargeable battery. The concept design as shown above is . Fabrication of Laboratory Scale Solar Collector Frame and Receiver Assembly The parabolic dish is to be mounted on a horizontal mount system that has two axes of movement for easy adjustment when tracking the east to west movement of the sun during the collection of experimental data.

Temperature Profile Data Collection Location of the study’s data gathering will be positioned at the 6th floor of the Engineering building. Also included in the data is the east to west angle of elevation. Temperature profile for experimental data to be gathered includes the hourly monitoring of the maximum temperature reached using the thermometer or thermocouple. A pivot point just below the gearing system is configured to adjust the rotation of the parabolic dish collector. Corrales Street Campus. for purposes of convenience in data gathering in terms of instrumentation to be used and hourly collection of temperature profile for the selected days. The control mechanism for the adjustment of the dish angle is controlled by a simple gear adjustments designed to lock manually when the desired orientation is selected. Although parabolic concentrator is designed to be stationary it is vital to determine the range of acceptance angles in order for the collector to operate at maximum efficiency with regard to beaming and diffusing sunlight into the Stirling Engine. The . Xavier University. This data is experimentally relevant in a way that the diurnal east to west movement is caused by the rotation of the earth therefore the east to west angle of the sun is a linear function of time.17 made up of L bracket steel and round bars that is welded and bolted together to make a stable frame for the parabolic dish. The receiver assembly where the Stirling engine to be mounted is welded to the frame to provide a stable support for the engine that is to mounted on the flat plate frame place in the focal point of concentration of solar heat.

The weight and relatively low power density ratio are the main disadvantage of Stirling engines in comparison to commonly used combustion engines. Eventually. Work of each of four double acting pistons should be displaced 90 angle degrees against each other. In the past research many different constructions were examined. In present constructions of Stirling engines four cylinders are usually used.18 data collected will be tabulated using the table below. Selection of Stirling Engine Configuration Construction options of Stirling engines should to be chosen. Fast exchange of heat is the main factor of working gas selection. The thermodynamic properties of working gas of Stirling engines have the biggest influence of possibility to achieve high energetic efficiency. In double acting pistons both sides of pistons are active in work and power generation. Some construction options can . the Stirling engines with double acting pistons seem to have the highest power density ratio. Date Ambient Temp Clouds Time of Day Angle of Elevation Initial Temp Maximum Temp Time Duration to reach max temp These data gathered will be the basis for choosing the suitable Stirling engine configuration to be used that would maximize the generated maximum temperature of the collector.

The highest pressure of working gas increases the speed of heat exchange. But relation to the mass of working gas heat capacity rises only 0. Hydrogen makes a relatively wide range of explosion mixture in air between 4% and 74%. but in every constructional option the properties of the working gas are of great importance. The gas heat capacity is the most important factor. Air. although is 14 times below the heating capacity of hydrogen. High pressure is convenient from the thermodynamic point of view. it compensates for the safety. As mentioned above. the latter working gases are expensive and difficult to handle. The heat capacity rises proportionally to an increase in pressure of a working gas.19 increase or decrease speed of heat exchange. Practical factors often decide the usage of air as the main working gas of Stirling engines. The set-up of the study is purely laboratory scale that is why air is chosen to be the main working gas for the chosen Stirling configuration. After the selection of a working gas for Stirling engines pressure ought to be chosen. The heat capacity rises two times when quantity decreases two times and pressure increases two times.8% of each . handling and cost. but helium has very low chemical reactivity and is included to the noble gases. It means that helium contributes to burning and explosive safety. The mixture can explode by spark. 5 times worse than helium. heat or sunlight. Helium is much more expensive than hydrogen. Leakage in the cylinder is not a setback in the experimental stage due to abundance of air in the atmosphere. But hydrogen is dangerous because the possibility of explosion and burning in the air is very high. From all the gases hydrogen has the highest heat capacity.

The main difference between these two configurations is that.). Stirling engines are usually classified according to its mechanical configuration: the Alpha. It explains why high pressure of a working gas is often used in Stirling engines. having a power/compression piston arranged within a single cylinder with a displacer/expansion piston. Gamma engines use displacer-piston arrangements. the power piston is mounted in a separate cylinder alongside the displacer-piston cylinder and the working gas can flow freely between them. often compressed air or nitrogen with pressure below 1 MPa is used. both connected to the same shaft in a rather complex manner. This configuration produces a lower compression ratio. The Alpha configuration has two mechanically linked pistons in separate cylinders connected in series by the cooler. a regenerator and a heater. An elementary Stirling engine consists of an engine piston. Constructional difficulties limit the top value of working gas pressure. an exchanger piston and three heat exchangers: a cooler. In other units helium below 10 MPa is usually used. but allows an . The piston converts gas pressure into mechanical power. Beta and the Gamma arrangements. Similar to what happens in the Beta configuration. the regenerator and the heater.20 MPa. in the Gamma engine. Hydrogen or highest pressures of any working gasses can be seen only in special cases (Piotr Drogosz et al. The Beta configuration corresponds to the classic Stirling engine. whereas the exchanger piston is used to move the working gas between the hot and cold sources. The existence of a displacer aims to move the working gas between the expansion and the compression spaces at constant volume. In relatively cheap constructions of Stirling engines.

Project Testing: temperature vs. High temperatures will results to higher speed of the engine.21 easier mechanical linkage between the pistons and a convenient separation between the heat exchangers which are associated to the displacer cylinder and the compression work space associated with the power piston. The highest temperature can be attain is during noon time. Until such time. The speed will vary according to the temperature produced by the collector. speed TABLE: TRIAL NO. . It is expected that the speed is dependent on the temperature. the graph will reach the peak point and we can say that the maximum temperature is reach as well as the speed. We are to consider the peak point as the basis of the design. The graph shows the performance of the engine as the temperature begins to change. AMBIENT TEMPERATURE CONCENTRATED TEMPERATURE RPM The results are shown in the table and graph the relation of the temperature and the speed.

In modifying the system. Addition of engine accessories can increase the system efficiency. Heat transfer is the driving force of any Stirling engine thus increasing the heat transfer capability of the hot and cold part of the engine will cause an increase of the system efficiency. . improving performances of every part of the system and adding some Stirling engine accessories. Modification should be cost effective. Increasing the system efficiency can be done also by improving the performances of some system part. between bearing and flywheel shaft. Increasing system efficiency can be done by minimizing system losses. frictional losses between cylinder and piston. A reflector can increase the solar thermal energy that can be concentrated by reflecting more solar thermal energy to the concentrator. Some possible losses are leaks. cost should also be considered. such losses can be minimized. Modification of the system should be done if the group can find a possibility to improve the system efficiency. Regenerator and reflector are accessories that can be added to the system to increase its efficiency.22 Project Modification The efficient the system designs the better. A regenerator is an internal heat exchanger placed between the hot and cold spaces such that the working fluid passes through it first in one direction then the other. System losses can lower the efficiency of the desired system. Its function is to retain within the system that heat which would otherwise be rejected.

.23 Final System The system conceived from meticulous calculation. careful gathering of experimental data and selection of appropriate materials that would yield high system efficiency for a laboratory scale setup will then be used as a benchmark for household scale system that would initially power selected household equipment in future research.

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