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Sample records for powered stirling generator

  1. Isotope powered stirling generator for terrestrial applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tingey, Garth L.; Sorensen, Gerald C.; Ross, Brad A.

    1995-01-01

    An electric power supply, small enough to be man-portable, is being developed for remote, terrestrial applications. This system is designed for an operating lifetime of five years without maintenance or refueling. A small Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) has been developed. The energy source of the generator is a 60 watt plutonium-238 fuel clad used in the General Purpose Heat Sources (GPHS) developed for space applications. A free piston Stirling ENgine drives a linear alternator to convert the heat to power. The system weighs about 7.5 kg and produces 11 watts AC power with a conversion efficiency of 18.5%. Two engine models have been designed, fabricated, and tested to data: (a) a development model instrumented to confirm and test parameters, and (b) an electrically heated model with an electrical heater equipped power input leads. Critical components have been tested for 10,000 to 20,000 hours. One complete generator has been operating for over 11,000 hours. Radioisotope heated prototypes are expected to be fabricated and tested in late 1995.

  2. Isotope powered stirling generator for terrestrial applications

    SciTech Connect

    Tingey, G.L.; Sorensen, G.C.; Ross, B.A.

    1995-01-20

    An electric power supply, small enough to be man-portable, is being developed for remote, terrestrial applications. This system is designed for an operating lifetime of five years without maintenance or refueling. A small Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) has been developed. The energy source of the generator is a 60 watt plutonium-238 fuel clad used in the General Purpose Heat Sources (GPHS) developed for space applications. A free piston Stirling ENgine drives a linear alternator to convert the heat to power. The system weighs about 7.5 kg and produces 11 watts AC power with a conversion efficiency of 18.5%. Two engine models have been designed, fabricated, and tested to data: (a) a development model instrumented to confirm and test parameters, and (b) an electrically heated model with an electrical heater equipped power input leads. Critical components have been tested for 10,000 to 20,000 hours. One complete generator has been operating for over 11,000 hours. Radioisotope heated prototypes are expected to be fabricated and tested in late 1995. {copyright} 1995 {ital American} {ital Institute} {ital of} {ital Physics}

  3. Isotope powered Stirling generator for terrestrial applications

    SciTech Connect

    Tingey, G.L.; Sorensen, G.C.; Ross, B.A.

    1995-01-01

    An electric power supply, small enough to be man-portable, is being developed for remote, terrestrial applications. This system is designed for an operating lifetime of five years without maintenance or refueling. A small Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) has been developed. The energy source of the generator is a 60 watt plutonium-238 fuel clad used in the General Purpose Heat Sources (GPHS) developed for space applications. A free piston Stirling Engine drives a linear alternator to convert the heat to power. The system weighs about 7.5 kg and produces 11 watts AC power with a conversion efficiency of 18.5%. Two engine models have been designed, fabricated, and tested to date: (a) a developmental model instrumented to confirm and test parameters, and (b) an electrically heated model with an electrical heater equipped power input leads. Critical components have been tested for 10,000 to 20,000 hours. One complete generator has been operating for over 11,000 hours. Radioisotope heated prototypes are expected to be fabricated and tested in late 1995.

  4. Solar powered Stirling cycle electrical generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaltens, Richard K.

    1991-01-01

    Under NASA's Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI), the NASA Lewis Research Center is developing the technology needed for free-piston Stirling engines as a candidate power source for space systems in the late 1990's and into the next century. Space power requirements include high efficiency, very long life, high reliability, and low vibration. Furthermore, system weight and operating temperature are important. The free-piston Stirling engine has the potential for a highly reliable engine with long life because it has only a few moving parts, non-contacting gas bearings, and can be hermetically sealed. These attributes of the free-piston Stirling engine also make it a viable candidate for terrestrial applications. In cooperation with the Department of Energy, system designs are currently being completed that feature the free-piston Stirling engine for terrestrial applications. Industry teams were assembled and are currently completing designs for two Advanced Stirling Conversion Systems utilizing technology being developed under the NASA CSTI Program. These systems, when coupled with a parabolic mirror to collect the solar energy, are capable of producing about 25 kW of electricity to a utility grid. Industry has identified a niche market for dish Stirling systems for worldwide remote power application. They believe that these niche markets may play a major role in the introduction of Stirling products into the commercial market.

  5. Solar powered Stirling cycle electrical generator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shaltens, Richard K.

    1991-03-01

    Under NASA's Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI), the NASA Lewis Research Center is developing the technology needed for free-piston Stirling engines as a candidate power source for space systems in the late 1990's and into the next century. Space power requirements include high efficiency, very long life, high reliability, and low vibration. Furthermore, system weight and operating temperature are important. The free-piston Stirling engine has the potential for a highly reliable engine with long life because it has only a few moving parts, non-contacting gas bearings, and can be hermetically sealed. These attributes of the free-piston Stirling engine also make it a viable candidate for terrestrial applications. In cooperation with the Department of Energy, system designs are currently being completed that feature the free-piston Stirling engine for terrestrial applications. Industry teams were assembled and are currently completing designs for two Advanced Stirling Conversion Systems utilizing technology being developed under the NASA CSTI Program. These systems, when coupled with a parabolic mirror to collect the solar energy, are capable of producing about 25 kW of electricity to a utility grid. Industry has identified a niche market for dish Stirling systems for worldwide remote power application. They believe that these niche markets may play a major role in the introduction of Stirling products into the commercial market.

  6. Evaluation Of Different Power Conditioning Options For Stirling Generators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garrigos, A.; Blanes, J. M.; Carrasco, J. A.; Maset, E.; Montalban, G.; Ejea, J.; Ferreres, A.; Sanchis, E.

    2011-10-01

    Free-piston Stirling engines are an interesting alternative for electrical power systems, especially in deep space missions where photovoltaic systems are not feasible. This kind of power generators contains two main parts, the Stirling machine and the linear alternator that converts the mechanical energy from the piston movement to electrical energy. Since the generated power is in AC form, several aspects should be assessed to use such kind of generators in a spacecraft power system: AC/DC topologies, power factor correction, power regulation techniques, integration into the power system, etc. This paper details power generator operation and explores different power conversion approaches.

  7. Solar Stirling power generation - Systems analysis and preliminary tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Selcuk, M. K.; Wu, Y.-C.; Moynihan, P. I.; Day, F. D., III

    1977-01-01

    The feasibility of an electric power generation system utilizing a sun-tracking parabolic concentrator and a Stirling engine/linear alternator is being evaluated. Performance predictions and cost analysis of a proposed large distributed system are discussed. Design details and preliminary test results are presented for a 9.5 ft diameter parabolic dish at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Caltech) Table Mountain Test Facility. Low temperature calorimetric measurements were conducted to evaluate the concentrator performance, and a helium flow system is being used to test the solar receiver at anticipated working fluid temperatures (up to 650 or 1200 C) to evaluate the receiver thermal performance. The receiver body is designed to adapt to a free-piston Stirling engine which powers a linear alternator assembly for direct electric power generation. During the next phase of the program, experiments with an engine and receiver integrated into the concentrator assembly are planned.

  8. Modular Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Mason, Lee S.; Schifer, Nicholas A.

    2016-01-01

    High-efficiency radioisotope power generators will play an important role in future NASA space exploration missions. Stirling Radioisotope Generators (SRGs) have been identified as a candidate generator technology capable of providing mission designers with an efficient, high-specific-power electrical generator. SRGs high conversion efficiency has the potential to extend the limited Pu-238 supply when compared with current Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs). Due to budgetary constraints, the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) was canceled in the fall of 2013. Over the past year a joint study by NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) called the Nuclear Power Assessment Study (NPAS) recommended that Stirling technologies continue to be explored. During the mission studies of the NPAS, spare SRGs were sometimes required to meet mission power system reliability requirements. This led to an additional mass penalty and increased isotope consumption levied on certain SRG-based missions. In an attempt to remove the spare power system, a new generator architecture is considered, which could increase the reliability of a Stirling generator and provide a more fault-tolerant power system. This new generator called the Modular Stirling Radioisotope Generator (MSRG) employs multiple parallel Stirling convertor/controller strings, all of which share the heat from the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules. For this design, generators utilizing one to eight GPHS modules were analyzed, which provided about 50 to 450 W of direct current (DC) to the spacecraft, respectively. Four Stirling convertors are arranged around each GPHS module resulting in from 4 to 32 Stirling/controller strings. The convertors are balanced either individually or in pairs, and are radiatively coupled to the GPHS modules. Heat is rejected through the housing/radiator, which is similar in construction to the ASRG. Mass and power analysis for these systems indicate that specific

  9. Modular Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Mason, Lee S.; Schifer, Nicholas A.

    2015-01-01

    High efficiency radioisotope power generators will play an important role in future NASA space exploration missions. Stirling Radioisotope Generators (SRG) have been identified as a candidate generator technology capable of providing mission designers with an efficient, high specific power electrical generator. SRGs high conversion efficiency has the potential to extend the limited Pu-238 supply when compared with current Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG). Due to budgetary constraints, the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) was canceled in the fall of 2013. Over the past year a joint study by NASA and DOE called the Nuclear Power Assessment Study (NPAS) recommended that Stirling technologies continue to be explored. During the mission studies of the NPAS, spare SRGs were sometimes required to meet mission power system reliability requirements. This led to an additional mass penalty and increased isotope consumption levied on certain SRG-based missions. In an attempt to remove the spare power system, a new generator architecture is considered which could increase the reliability of a Stirling generator and provide a more fault-tolerant power system. This new generator called the Modular Stirling Radioisotope Generator (MSRG) employs multiple parallel Stirling convertor/controller strings, all of which share the heat from the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules. For this design, generators utilizing one to eight GPHS modules were analyzed, which provide about 50 to 450 watts DC to the spacecraft, respectively. Four Stirling convertors are arranged around each GPHS module resulting in from 4 to 32 Stirling/controller strings. The convertors are balanced either individually or in pairs, and are radiatively coupled to the GPHS modules. Heat is rejected through the housing/radiator which is similar in construction to the ASRG. Mass and power analysis for these systems indicate that specific power may be slightly lower than the ASRG and

  10. Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) Thermal Power Model in MATLAB

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Xiao-Yen, J.

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a one-dimensional steady-state mathematical thermal power model of the ASRG. It aims to provide a guideline of understanding how the ASRG works and what can change its performance. The thermal dynamics and energy balance of the generator is explained using the thermal circuit of the ASRG. The Stirling convertor performance map is used to represent the convertor. How the convertor performance map is coupled in the thermal circuit is explained. The ASRG performance characteristics under i) different sink temperatures and ii) over the years of mission (YOM) are predicted using the one-dimensional model. Two Stirling converter control strategies, i) fixing the hot-end of temperature of the convertor by adjusting piston amplitude and ii) fixing the piston amplitude, were tested in the model. Numerical results show that the first control strategy can result in a higher system efficiency than the second control strategy when the ambient gets warmer or the general-purpose heat source (GPHS) fuel load decays over the YOM. The ASRG performance data presented in this paper doesn't pertain to the ASRG flight unit. Some data of the ASRG engineering unit (EU) and flight unit that are available in public domain are used in this paper for the purpose of numerical studies.

  11. NASA GRC Stirling Power Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cornell, Peggy A.

    2014-01-01

    Current Project Thrusts - ASRG Transition to SRG Pathfinder; Government Furnished Services for ASRG; ASRG Engineering Unit 2; Planned Generator System Testing; Current Project Thrusts - Nuclear Systems; Fission Power Systems (FPS); Technology Demonstration Unit (TDU); Power Conversion Unit (PCU); Current Thrusts - KiloPower; Demonstrations Using Flattop Fissions (DUFF); Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY); Stirling Research - Hot End Components; Cold End Components; Stirling Testbeds; SBIRs

  12. Stirling Powered Van Progam overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaltens, R. K.

    1986-01-01

    The Stirling Powered Van Program (SPVP) is a multiyear, multiphase program to evaluate the automotive Stirling engine (ASE) in Air Force vans under realistic conditions. The objective of the SPVP is to transfer to manufacturer and end user(s) (i.e., on the path to commercialization) the second-generation Mod 2 ASE upon completion of the Automotive Stirling Engine Program in 1987. In order to meet this objective, the SPVP must establish Stirling performance, integrity, reliability, durability and maintainability. The ASE program background leading to the van program is reviewed and plans for evaluating the kinematic Stirling engine in Air Force vans examined. Also discussed are the NASA technology transfers to industry that have been accomplished and those which are currently being developed.

  13. Conceptual design of an advanced Stirling conversion system for terrestrial power generation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    A free piston Stirling engine coupled to an electric generator or alternator with a nominal kWe power output absorbing thermal energy from a nominal 100 square meter parabolic solar collector and supplying electric power to a utility grid was identified. The results of the conceptual design study of an Advanced Stirling Conversion System (ASCS) were documented. The objectives are as follows: define the ASCS configuration; provide a manufacturability and cost evaluation; predict ASCS performance over the range of solar input required to produce power; estimate system and major component weights; define engine and electrical power condidtioning control requirements; and define key technology needs not ready by the late 1980s in meeting efficiency, life, cost, and with goalds for the ASCS.

  14. Large stationary Stirling engine. Volume 1. conceptual design of Stirling engines for stationary power-generation applications in the 500- to 3000-HP range. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1980-08-01

    The Conceptual Design is described of Stirling Engines for Stationary Power Application in the 500 to 3000 hp range which was aimed at state-of-the-art stationary Stirling engines for a 1985 hardware demonstration, and an advanced engine design with identification of the supporting R and D efforts required. The main goals of this effort were to obtain reliable cost data for a stationary Stirling engine capable of meeting future needs for total energy/cogeneration systems and to establish a pragmatic and conservative base design for a first-generation hardware. In order to secure a competitive position for this engine in the marketplace, it was clearly recognized that a coal and waste product fired version had to be given primary consideration since a fuel oil or gas fired version would not be cost competitive with a diesel/gas engine. Therefore, the mating of the Stirling engine with an Atmospheric Fluidized Bed (AFB) was a main target.

  15. Development of a Power Electronics Controller for the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leland, Douglas K.; Priest, Joel F.; Keiter, Douglas E.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2008-01-01

    Under a U.S. Department of Energy program for radioisotope power systems, Lockheed Martin is developing an Engineering Unit of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG). This is an advanced version of the previously reported SRG110 generator. The ASRG uses Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) developed by Sunpower Incorporated under a NASA Research Announcement contract. The ASRG makes use of a Stirling controller based on power electronics that eliminates the tuning capacitors. The power electronics controller synchronizes dual-opposed convertors and maintains a fixed frequency operating point. The controller is single-fault tolerant and uses high-frequency pulse width modulation to create the sinusoidal currents that are nearly in phase with the piston velocity, eliminating the need for large series tuning capacitors. Sunpower supports this effort through an extension of their controller development intended for other applications. Glenn Research Center (GRC) supports this effort through system dynamic modeling, analysis and test support. The ASRG design arrived at a new baseline based on a system-level trade study and extensive feedback from mission planners on the necessity of single-fault tolerance. This paper presents the baseline design with an emphasis on the power electronics controller detailed design concept that will meet space mission requirements including single fault tolerance.

  16. Solar power generation by use of Stirling engine and heat loss analysis of its cavity receiver

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hussain, Tassawar

    Since concentrated power generation by Stirling engine has the highest efficiency therefore efficient power generation by concentrated systems using a Stirling engine was a primary motive of this research. A 1 kW Stirling engine was used to generate solar power using a Fresnel lens as a concentrator. Before operating On-Sun test, engine's performance test was conducted by combustion test. Propane gas with air was used to provide input heat to the Stirling Engine and 350W power was generated with 14% efficiency of the engine. Two kinds of receivers were used for On-Sun test, first type was the Inconel tubes with trapped helium gas and the second one was the heat pipe. Heat pipe with sodium as a working fluid is considered the best approach to transfer the uniform heat from the receiver to the helium gas in the heater head of the engine. A Number of On-Sun experiments were performed to generate the power. A minimum 1kW input power was required to generate power from the Stirling engine but it was concluded that the available Fresnel lens was not enough to provide sufficient input to the Stirling engine and hence engine was lagged to generate the solar power. Later on, for a high energy input a Beam Down system was also used to concentrate the solar light on the heater head of the Stirling engine. Beam down solar system in Masdar City UAE, constructed in 2009 is a variation of central receiver plant with cassegrainian optics. Around 1.5kW heat input was achieved from the Beam Down System and it was predicted that the engine receiver at beam down has the significant heat losses of about 900W. These high heat losses were the major hurdles to get the operating temperature (973K) of the heat pipes; hence power could not be generated even during the Beam Down test. Experiments were also performed to find the most suitable Cavity Receiver configuration for maximum solar radiation utilizations by engine receiver. Dimensionless parameter aperture ration (AR=d/D) and aperture

  17. Stirling engines for low-temperature solar-thermal-electric power generation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    der Minassians, Artin

    This dissertation discusses the design and development of a distributed solar-thermal-electric power generation system that combines solar-thermal technology with a moderate-temperature Stirling engine to generate electricity. The conceived system incorporates low-cost materials and utilizes simple manufacturing processes. This technology is expected to achieve manufacturing cost of less than $1/W. Since solar-thermal technology is mature, the analysis, design, and experimental assessment of moderate-temperature Stirling engines is the main focus of this thesis. The design, fabrication, and test of a single-phase free-piston Stirling engine prototype is discussed. This low-power prototype is designed and fabricated as a test rig to provide a clear understanding of the Stirling cycle operation, to identify the key components and the major causes of irreversibility, and to verify corresponding theoretical models. As a component, the design of a very low-loss resonant displacer piston subsystem is discussed. The displacer piston is part of a magnetic circuit that provides both a required stiffness and actuation forces. The stillness is provided by a magnetic spring, which incorporates an array of permanent magnets and has a very linear stiffness characteristic that facilitates the frequency tuning. In this prototype, the power piston is not mechanically linked to the displacer piston and forms a mass-spring resonating subsystem with the engine chamber gas spring and has resonant frequency matched to that of the displacer. The fabricated engine prototype is successfully tested and the experimental results are presented and discussed. Extensive experimentation on individual component subsystems confirms the theoretical models and design considerations, providing a sound basis for higher power Stirling engine designs for residential or commercial deployments. Multi-phase Stirling engine systems are also considered and analyzed. The modal analysis of these machines proves

  18. Rotary Stirling-Cycle Engine And Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chandler, Joseph A.

    1990-01-01

    Proposed electric-power generator comprises three motor generators coordinated by microprocessor and driven by rotary Stirling-cycle heat engine. Combination offers thermodynamic efficiency of Stirling cycle, relatively low vibration, and automatic adjustment of operating parameters to suit changing load on generator. Rotary Stirling cycle engine converts heat to power via compression and expansion of working gas between three pairs of rotary pistons on three concentric shafts in phased motion. Three motor/generators each connected to one of concentric shafts, can alternately move and be moved by pistons. Microprocessor coordinates their operation, including switching between motor and generator modes at appropriate times during each cycle.

  19. Continuing Development for Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, Allen A.; Qiu, Songgang; Redinger, Darin L.; Augenblick, John E.; Petersen, Stephen L.

    2004-02-01

    Long-life radioisotope power generators based on free-piston Stirling engines are an energy-conversion solution for future space applications. The high efficiency of Stirling machines makes them more attractive than the thermoelectric generators currently used in space. Stirling Technology Company (STC) has been developing free-piston Stirling machines for over 30 years, and its family of Stirling generators is ideally suited for reliable, maintenance-free operation. This paper describes recent progress and status of the STC RemoteGen™ 55 W-class Stirling generator (RG-55), presents an overview of recent testing, and discusses how the technology demonstration design has evolved toward space-qualified hardware.

  20. Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Thermal Power Model in Thermal Desktop SINDA/FLUINT Analyzer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Xiao-Yen; Fabanich, William A.; Schmitz, Paul C.

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a three-dimensional Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) thermal power model that was built using the Thermal Desktop SINDA/FLUINT thermal analyzer. The model was correlated with ASRG engineering unit (EU) test data and ASRG flight unit predictions from Lockheed Martin's Ideas TMG thermal model. ASRG performance under (1) ASC hot-end temperatures, (2) ambient temperatures, and (3) years of mission for the general purpose heat source fuel decay was predicted using this model for the flight unit. The results were compared with those reported by Lockheed Martin and showed good agreement. In addition, the model was used to study the performance of the ASRG flight unit for operations on the ground and on the surface of Titan, and the concept of using gold film to reduce thermal loss through insulation was investigated.

  1. Stirling engine power control

    DOEpatents

    Fraser, James P.

    1983-01-01

    A power control method and apparatus for a Stirling engine including a valved duct connected to the junction of the regenerator and the cooler and running to a bypass chamber connected between the heater and the cylinder. An oscillating zone of demarcation between the hot and cold portions of the working gas is established in the bypass chamber, and the engine pistons and cylinders can run cold.

  2. Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Life Certification Plan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rusick, Jeffrey J.; Zampino, Edward J.

    2013-01-01

    An Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) power supply is being developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) in partnership with NASA for potential future deep space science missions. Unlike previous radioisotope power supplies for space exploration, such as the passive MMRTG used recently on the Mars Curiosity rover, the ASRG is an active dynamic power supply with moving Stirling engine mechanical components. Due to the long life requirement of 17 years and the dynamic nature of the Stirling engine, the ASRG project faced some unique challenges trying to establish full confidence that the power supply will function reliably over the mission life. These unique challenges resulted in the development of an overall life certification plan that emphasizes long-term Stirling engine test and inspection when analysis is not practical. The ASRG life certification plan developed is described.

  3. Vibration Testing of Stirling Power Convertors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hughes, Bill; Goodnight, Thomas; McNelis, Mark E.; Suarez, Vicente J.; Schreiber, Jeff; Samorezov, Sergey

    2003-01-01

    to supply on- board electric spacecraft power for future NASA Deep-Space Missions, performing as an attractive alternative to Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG). Usage of the Stirling technology is also being considered as the electric power source for future Mars rovers, whose mission profiles may exclude the use of photovoltaic power systems (such as exploring at high Martian latitudes or for missions of lengthy durations). GRC s Thermo-Mechanical Systems Branch (5490) provides Stirling technology expertise under a Space Act Agreement with the DOE. Additional vibration testing, by GRC s Structural Systems Dynamics Branch (7733, is planned to continue to demonstrate the Stirling power system s vibration capability as its technology and flight system designs progress.

  4. Stirling engines for solar power generation in the 50 to 500 kW range

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wells, D.; Percival, W.; Bratt, C.; Rosenqvist, K.; Berntell, J.

    Qualitative analyses are presented of solar Stirling power modules in terms of the engines, the concentrators, and the interaction between the size and efficiency of the modules with the cost of the system. A test unit with a parabolic dish concentrator has furnished 31.6 kWe using an 1800 rpm, 93% efficient permanent magnet alternator. Operating temperatures were 750 C, and engine efficiencies reached 38%. Point focus parabolic dishes, tracking heliostats, and stationary concentrators with tracking receivers are being examined. The engine cost has been projected to be only a small part of the total unit cost in mass production, and parabolic dishes are the lowest-cost configuration for manufacturing. Enclosing the dishes in greenhouses can lessen erosion of the surfaces. Foamglass has been identified as the most cost-effective concentrator material. Design alternatives for a 50-500 kW power array are described.

  5. Stirling Power Convertors Demonstrated in Extended Operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2005-01-01

    A 110-W Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) is being developed by Lockheed Martin Astronautics of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, under contract to the Department of Energy of Germantown, Maryland. The generator will be a high-efficiency electric power source for NASA space exploration missions that can operate in the vacuum of deep space or in a gaseous atmosphere, such as on the surface of Mars. The generator converts heat supplied by the decay of a plutonium heat source into electric power for the spacecraft. In support of the SRG110 project, the NASA Glenn Research Center has established a technology effort that will provide some of the key data to ensure a successful transition to flight for what will be the first dynamic power system to be used in space. High system efficiency is obtained through the use of free-piston Stirling power-conversion technology. Glenn tasks include in-house testing of Stirling convertors and controllers, materials evaluation and heater head life assessment, structural dynamics, evaluation of electromagnetic interference, assessment of organics, and reliability analysis. There is also an advanced technology effort that is complementary to the near-term technology effort, intended to reduce the mass of the Stirling convertor and increase efficiency.

  6. The NASA Next Generation Stirling Technology Program Overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreiber, J. G.; Shaltens, R. K.; Wong, W. A.

    2005-12-01

    NASAs Science Mission Directorate is developing the next generation Stirling technology for future Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) for surface and deep space missions. The next generation Stirling convertor is one of two advanced power conversion technologies currently being developed for future NASA missions, and is capable of operating for both planetary atmospheres and deep space environments. The Stirling convertor (free-piston engine integrated with a linear alternator) produces about 90 We(ac) and has a specific power of about 90 We/kg. Operating conditions of Thot at 850 degree C and Trej at 90 degree C results in the Stirling convertor estimated efficiency of about 40 per cent. Using the next generation Stirling convertor in future RPS, the "system" specific power is estimated at 8 We/kg. The design lifetime is three years on the surface of Mars and fourteen years in deep space missions. Electrical power of about 160 We (BOM) is produced by two (2) free-piston Stirling convertors heated by two (2) General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules. This development is being performed by Sunpower, Athens, OH with Pratt & Whitney, Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, CA under contract to Glenn Research Center (GRC), Cleveland, Ohio. GRC is guiding the independent testing and technology development for the next generation Stirling generator.

  7. Conceptual design of an Advanced Stirling Conversion System for terrestrial power generation

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1988-01-01

    This report describes the conceptual design of a system for converting solar energy into electricity using a free-piston Stirling engine directly coupled to a linear alternator. The system is designed for mounting at the focal plane of a 100 m/sup 2/ parabolic solar collector. It includes a receiver which is integrated with the engine heater head. Heat transfer from receiver to engine involves boiling liquid sodium at the heater surface of the receiver and condensing sodium vapor on the engine heater tubes. A sintered wick is located on the back surface of the receiver face to distribute the sodium and gravity is used to return the condensed sodium to a sump within the receiver. The system is connected to a utility power grid. The net power output from the system is 23.2 kWe at the design point (75 kWt into the receiver). Maximum power output is 26.7 kWe at the peak insolation level. Annual output is approximately 60,000 kWh for a site at Albuquerque, New Mexico. The manufacturing cost for the System has been estimated at approximately $8500 (1984 dollars). The installed cost goal is $13,000 (1984 dollars). Costs at the conceptual design level are only approximate but the estimates indicate that acceptable costs are attainable. 2 refs.

  8. Stirling Convertor Technologies Being Developed for a Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.

    2003-01-01

    The Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, Stirling Technology Company (STC), and the NASA Glenn Research Center are developing a high-efficiency Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG) for NASA space science missions. The SRG is being developed for multimission use, including providing electric power for unmanned Mars rovers and deep space missions. On Mars, rovers with SRGs would be used for missions that might not be able to use photovoltaic power systems, such as exploration at high Martian latitudes and missions of long duration. The projected SRG system efficiency of 23 percent will reduce the required amount of radioisotope by a factor of 4 or more in comparison to currently used Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators. The Department of Energy recently named Lockheed Martin as the system integration contractor. Lockheed Martin has begun to develop the SRG engineering unit under contract to the Department of Energy, and has contract options to develop the qualification unit and the first flight units. The developers expect the SRG to produce about 114 Wdc at the beginning of mission, using two opposed Stirling convertors and two General Purpose Heat Source modules. STC previously developed the Stirling convertor under contract to the Department of Energy and is now providing further development as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin. Glenn is conducting an in-house technology project to assist in developing the convertor for space qualification and mission implementation. A key milestone was recently reached with the accumulation of 12 000 hr of long-term aging on two types of neodymium-iron boron permanent magnets. These tests are characterizing any possible aging in the strength or demagnetization resistance of the magnets used in the linear alternator. Preparations are underway for a thermal/vacuum system demonstration and unattended operation during endurance testing of the 55-We Technology Demonstration Convertors. In addition, Glenn is developing a

  9. Thermal Model Predictions of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Xiao-Yen J.; Fabanich, William Anthony; Schmitz, Paul C.

    2014-01-01

    This presentation describes the capabilities of three-dimensional thermal power model of advanced stirling radioisotope generator (ASRG). The performance of the ASRG is presented for different scenario, such as Venus flyby with or without the auxiliary cooling system.

  10. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary-power-generation applications in the 500- to 3000-horsepower range. Phase I final report

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    A program plan and schedule for the implementation of the proposed conceptual designs through the remaining four phases of the overall large Stirling engine development program was prepared. The objective of Phase II is to prepare more detailed designs of the conceptual designs prepared in Phase I. At the conclusion of Phase II, a state-of-the-art design will be selected from the candidate designs developed in Phase I for development. The objective of Phase III is to prepare manufacturing drawings of the candidate engine design. Also, detailed manufacturing drawings of both 373 kW (500 hp) and 746 kW (1000 hp) power pack skid systems will be completed. The power pack skid systems will include the generator, supporting skid, controls, and other supporting auxiliary subsystems. The Stirling cycle engine system (combustion system, Stirling engine, and heat transport system) will be mounted in the power pack skid system. The objective of Phase IV is to procure parts for prototype engines and two power pack skid systems and to assemble Engines No. 1 and 2. The objective of Phase V is to perform extensive laboratory and demonstration testing of the Stirling engines and power pack skid systems, to determine the system performance and cost and commercialization strategy. Scheduled over a 6 yr period the cost of phases II through V is estimated at $22,063,000. (LCL)

  11. Linear moving magnet motor/generator for Stirling engines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shtrikman, S.; Urieli, I.

    Free piston Stirling cycle machines have many inherent advantages, however suffer from the difficulties of extracting power output and controllability of the free displacer, which is usually driven by gas pressure forces. Modern rare earth samarium cobalt magnets allow the use of moving magnet linear electrical devices. This paper discusses the development and testing of moving magnet devices designed specifically for use with Stirling engines, both for generating electricity and for driving the displacer piston. The generator was used as an output stage of a free piston Stirling engine, and is capable of delivering a power of 500 watts at an estimated efficiency of about 90%. The motor was used to drive the displacer of the same Stirling engine. It was found to be completely controllable in amplitude, phase, and mean position. The relative merits of moving magnet linear motor/generators are discussed.

  12. Reliability Issues in Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shah, Ashwin R.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2004-01-01

    Stirling power conversion is a potential candidate for use in a Radioisotope Power System (RPS) for space science missions because it offers a multifold increase in the conversion efficiency of heat to electric power and reduced requirement of radioactive material. Reliability of an RPS that utilizes Stirling power conversion technology is important in order to ascertain long term successful performance. Owing to long life time requirement (14 years), it is difficult to perform long-term tests that encompass all the uncertainties involved in the design variables of components and subsystems comprising the RPS. The requirement for uninterrupted performance reliability and related issues are discussed, and some of the critical areas of concern are identified. An overview of the current on-going efforts to understand component life, design variables at the component and system levels, and related sources and nature of uncertainties are also discussed. Current status of the 110 watt Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) reliability efforts is described. Additionally, an approach showing the use of past experience on other successfully used power systems to develop a reliability plan for the SRG110 design is outlined.

  13. Reliability Issues in Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey; Shah, Ashwin

    2005-01-01

    Stirling power conversion is a potential candidate for use in a Radioisotope Power System (RPS) for space science missions because it offers a multifold increase in the conversion efficiency of heat to electric power and reduced requirement of radioactive material. Reliability of an RPS that utilizes Stirling power conversion technology is important in order to ascertain long term successful performance. Owing to long life time requirement (14 years), it is difficult to perform long-term tests that encompass all the uncertainties involved in the design variables of components and subsystems comprising the RPS. The requirement for uninterrupted performance reliability and related issues are discussed, and some of the critical areas of concern are identified. An overview of the current on-going efforts to understand component life, design variables at the component and system levels, and related sources and nature of uncertainties are also discussed. Current status of the 110 watt Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) reliability efforts is described. Additionally, an approach showing the use of past experience on other successfully used power systems to develop a reliability plan for the SRG110 design is outlined.

  14. Activity and accomplishments of dish/Stirling electric power system development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Livingston, F. R.

    1985-01-01

    The development of the solar parabolic-dish/Stirling-engine electricity generating plant known as the dish/Stirling electric power system is described. The dish/Stirling electric power system converts sunlight to electricity more efficiently than any known existing solar electric power system. The fabrication and characterization of the test bed concentrators that were used for Stirling module testing and of the development of parabolic dish concentrator No. 2, an advanced solar concentrator unit considered for use with the Stirling power conversion unit is discussed.

  15. Development of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator for Space Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Jack; Wood, J. Gary; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2007-01-01

    Under the joint sponsorship of the Department of Energy and NASA, a radioisotope power system utilizing Stirling power conversion technology is being developed for potential future space missions. The higher conversion efficiency of the Stirling cycle compared with that of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in previous missions (Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, and New Horizons) offers the advantage of a four-fold reduction in PuO2 fuel, thereby saving cost and reducing radiation exposure to support personnel. With the advancement of state-of-the-art Stirling technology development under the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) project, the Stirling Radioisotope Generator program has evolved to incorporate the advanced Stirling convertor (ASC), provided by Sunpower, into an engineering unit. Due to the reduced envelope and lighter mass of the ASC compared to the previous Stirling convertor, the specific power of the flight generator is projected to increase from 3.5 We/kg to 7 We/kg, along with a 25% reduction in generator length. Modifications are being made to the ASC design to incorporate features for thermal, mechanical, and electrical integration with the engineering unit. These include the heat collector for hot end interface, cold-side flange for waste heat removal and structural attachment, and piston position sensor for ASC control and power factor correction. A single-fault tolerant, active power factor correction controller is used to synchronize the Stirling convertors, condition the electrical power from AC to DC, and to control the ASCs to maintain operation within temperature and piston stroke limits. Development activities at Sunpower and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) are also being conducted on the ASC to demonstrate the capability for long life, high reliability, and flight qualification needed for use in future missions.

  16. Development of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator for Space Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chan, Jack; Wood, J. Gary; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2007-01-01

    Under the joint sponsorship of the Department of Energy and NASA, a radioisotope power system utilizing Stirling power conversion technology is being developed for potential future space missions. The higher conversion efficiency of the Stirling cycle compared with that of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in previous missions (Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, and New Horizons) offers the advantage of a four-fold reduction in PuO2 fuel, thereby saving cost and reducing radiation exposure to support personnel. With the advancement of state-of-the-art Stirling technology development under the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) project, the Stirling Radioisotope Generator program has evolved to incorporate the advanced Stirling convertor (ASC), provided by Sunpower, into an engineering unit. Due to the reduced envelope and lighter mass of the ASC compared to the previous Stirling convertor, the specific power of the flight generator is projected to increase from 3.5 to 7 We/kg, along with a 25 percent reduction in generator length. Modifications are being made to the ASC design to incorporate features for thermal, mechanical, and electrical integration with the engineering unit. These include the heat collector for hot end interface, cold-side flange for waste heat removal and structural attachment, and piston position sensor for ASC control and power factor correction. A single-fault tolerant, active power factor correction controller is used to synchronize the Stirling convertors, condition the electrical power from AC to DC, and to control the ASCs to maintain operation within temperature and piston stroke limits. Development activities at Sunpower and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) are also being conducted on the ASC to demonstrate the capability for long life, high reliability, and flight qualification needed for use in future missions.

  17. The Stirling alternative. Power systems, refrigerants and heat pumps

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, G.; Reader, G.; Fauvel, O.R.; Bingham, E.R. )

    1993-01-01

    This book provides an up-to-date reference on the technology, history, and practical applications of Stirling engines, including recent developments in the field and a convenient survey of the Stirling engine literature. The topics of the book include: fundamentals of Stirling technology, definition and terminology, thermodynamic laws and cycles: some elementary considerations, the Stirling cycle, practical regenerative cycle, theoretical aspects and computer simulation of Stirling machines, mechanical arrangements, control systems, heat exchangers, performance characteristics, working fluids, applications of Stirling machines, advantages of Stirling machines, disadvantages of Stirling machines, Stirling versus internal combustion engines, Stirling versus Rankine engines, applications for Stirling machines, Stirling power systems, the literature and sources of supply, the literature of Stirling engines, and the literature of cryocoolers.

  18. Solar powered Stirling engine

    SciTech Connect

    Meijer, R.J.

    1987-11-24

    In a solar dish module which comprises a dish which receives incident solar rays and reflects them to a focus at which is located the combination of a receiver and a heat engine organized and arranged so that the heat energy of the reflected solar rays collected at the receiver powers the engine, and wherein the receiver and heat engine are supported from the dish by a framework, the improvement is described which comprises journal means for journaling at least the engine on the framework to maintain certain predetermined spatial orientation for the engine in relation to the direction of gravity irrespective of spatial orientation of the dish.

  19. Supporting Development for the Stirling Radioisotope Generator and Advanced Stirling Technology Development at NASA GRC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2005-02-01

    A high-efficiency, 110-We (watts electric) Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for possible use on future NASA Space Science missions is being developed by the Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, Stirling Technology Company (STC), and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). Potential mission use includes providing spacecraft onboard electric power for deep space missions and power for unmanned Mars rovers. GRC is conducting an in-house supporting technology project to assist in SRG110 development. One-, three-, and six-month heater head structural benchmark tests have been completed in support of a heater head life assessment. Testing is underway to evaluate the key epoxy bond of the permanent magnets to the linear alternator stator lamination stack. GRC has completed over 10,000 hours of extended duration testing of the Stirling convertors for the SRG110, and a three-year test of two Stirling convertors in a thermal vacuum environment will be starting shortly. GRC is also developing advanced technology for Stirling convertors, aimed at substantially improving the specific power and efficiency of the convertor and the overall generator. Sunpower, Inc. has begun the development of a lightweight Stirling convertor, under a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) award, that has the potential to double the system specific power to about 8 We/kg. GRC has performed random vibration testing of a lower-power version of this convertor to evaluate robustness for surviving launch vibrations. STC has also completed the initial design of a lightweight convertor. Status of the development of a multi-dimensional computational fluid dynamics code and high-temperature materials work on advanced superalloys, refractory metal alloys, and ceramics are also discussed.

  20. Supporting Development for the Stirling Radioisotope Generator and Advanced Stirling Technology Development at NASA Glenn

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2005-01-01

    A high-efficiency, 110-W(sub e) (watts electric) Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for possible use on future NASA Space Science missions is being developed by the Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, Stirling Technology Company (STC), and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). Potential mission use includes providing spacecraft onboard electric power for deep space missions and power for unmanned Mars rovers. GRC is conducting an in-house supporting technology project to assist in SRG110 development. One-, three-, and six-month heater head structural benchmark tests have been completed in support of a heater head life assessment. Testing is underway to evaluate the key epoxy bond of the permanent magnets to the linear alternator stator lamination stack. GRC has completed over 10,000 hours of extended duration testing of the Stirling convertors for the SRG110, and a three-year test of two Stirling convertors in a thermal vacuum environment will be starting shortly. GRC is also developing advanced technology for Stirling convertors, aimed at substantially improving the specific power and efficiency of the convertor and the overall generator. Sunpower, Inc. has begun the development of a lightweight Stirling convertor, under a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) award, that has the potential to double the system specific power to about 8 W(sub e) per kilogram. GRC has performed random vibration testing of a lowerpower version of this convertor to evaluate robustness for surviving launch vibrations. STC has also completed the initial design of a lightweight convertor. Status of the development of a multi-dimensional computational fluid dynamics code and high-temperature materials work on advanced superalloys, refractory metal alloys, and ceramics are also discussed.

  1. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary-power-generation applications in the 500- to 3000-hp range. Phase I final report

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    The first phase of the design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 373 kW (500 hp) to 2237 kW (3000 hp) range was completed. The tasks in Phase I include conceptual designs of large Stirling cycle stationary engines and program plan for implementing Phases II through V. Four different heater head designs and five different machine designs were prepared in sufficient detail to select a design recommended for development in the near future. A second order analysis was developed for examining the various loss mechanisms in the Stirling engine and for predicting the thermodynamic performance of these engines. The predicted engine thermal brake efficiency excluding combustion efficiency is approximately 42% which exceeds the design objective of 40%. The combustion system designs were prepared for both a clean fuel combustion system and a two-stage atmospheric fluidized bed combustion system. The calculated combustion efficiency of the former is 90% and of the latter is 80%. Heat transport systems, i.e., a heat exchanger for the clean fuel combustion system and a sodium heat pipe system for coal and other nonclean fuel combustion systems were selected. The cost analysis showed that for clean fuels combustion the proposed 2237 kW (3000 hp) system production cost is $478,242 or $214/kW ($159/hp) which is approximately 1.86 times the cost of a comparable size diesel engine. For solid coal combustion the proposed 2237 kW (3000 hp) system production cost is approximately $2,246,242 which corresponds to a cost to power capacity ratio of $1004/kW ($749/hp). The two-stage atmospheric fluidized bed combustion system represents 81% of the total cost; the engine represents 14% depending on the future price differential between coal and conventional clean fuels, a short payback period of the proposed Stirling cycle engine/FBC system may justify the initial cost. (LCL)

  2. Component technology for Stirling power converters

    SciTech Connect

    Thieme, L.G.

    1994-09-01

    NASA Lewis Research Center has organized a component technology program as part of the efforts to develop Stirling converter technology for space power applications. The Stirling space power program is part of the NASA High Capacity Power Project of the Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). NASA Lewis is also providing technical management for a DOE/Sandia program to develop Stirling converters for solar terrestrial power producing electricity for the utility grid. The primary contractors for the space power and solar terrestrial programs develop component technologies directly related to their program goals. This Lewis component technology effort, while coordinated with the main programs, aims at longer term issues, advanced technologies, and independent assessments. This paper will present an overview of work on linear alternators, engine/alternator/load interactions and controls, heat exchangers, materials, life and reliability, and bearings.

  3. Component technology for Stirling power converters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.

    NASA Lewis Research Center has organized a component technology program as part of the efforts to develop Stirling converter technology for space power applications. The Stirling Space Power Program is part of the NASA High Capacity Power Project of the Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). NASA Lewis is also providing technical management for the DOE/Sandia program to develop Stirling converters for solar terrestrial power producing electricity for the utility grid. The primary contractors for the space power and solar terrestrial programs develop component technologies directly related to their goals. This Lewis component technology effort, while coordinated with the main programs, aims at longer term issues, advanced technologies, and independent assessments. An overview of work on linear alternators, engine/alternator/load interactions and controls, heat exchangers, materials, life and reliability, and bearings is presented.

  4. Component technology for stirling power converters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.

    1991-01-01

    NASA Lewis Research Center has organized a component technology program as part of the efforts to develop Stirling converter technology for space power applications. The Stirling Space Power Program is part of the NASA High Capacity Power Project of the Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). NASA Lewis is also providing technical management for the DOE/Sandia program to develop Stirling converters for solar terrestrial power producing electricity for the utility grid. The primary contractors for the space power and solar terrestrial programs develop component technologies directly related to their goals. This Lewis component technology effort, while coordinated with the main programs, aims at longer term issues, advanced technologies, and independent assessments. An overview of work on linear alternators, engine/alternator/load interactions and controls, heat exchangers, materials, life and reliability, and bearings is presented.

  5. Component technology for Stirling power converters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.

    1991-01-01

    NASA Lewis Research Center has organized a component technology program as part of the efforts to develop Stirling converter technology for space power applications. The Stirling Space Power Program is part of the NASA High Capacity Power Project of the Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). NASA Lewis is also providing technical management for the DOE/Sandia program to develop Stirling converters for solar terrestrial power producing electricity for the utility grid. The primary contractors for the space power and solar terrestrial programs develop component technologies directly related to their goals. This Lewis component technology effort, while coordinated with the main programs, aims at longer term issues, advanced technologies, and independent assessments. An overview of work on linear alternators, engine/alternator/load interactions and controls, heat exchangers, materials, life and reliability, and bearings is presented.

  6. Free-piston Stirling technology for space power

    SciTech Connect

    Slaby, J.G.

    1994-09-01

    An overview is presented of the NASA Lewis Research Center free-piston Stirling engine activities directed toward space power. This work is being carried out under NASA`s new Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). The overall goal of CSTI`s High Capacity Power element is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space missions. The Stirling cycle offers an attractive power conversion concept for space power needs. Discussed in this paper is the completion of the Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) testing - culminating in the generation of 25 kW of engine power from a dynamically-balanced opposed-piston Stirling engine at a temperature ratio of 2.0. Engine efficiency was approximately 22 percent. The SPDE recently has been divided into two separate single-cylinder engines, called Space Power Research Engines (SPRE), that now serve as test beds for the evaluation of key technology disciplines. These disciplines include hydrodynamic gas bearings, high-efficiency linear alternators, space qualified heat pipe heat exchangers, oscillating flow code validation, and engine loss understanding. The success of the SPDE at 650 K has resulted in a more ambitious Stirling endeavor - the design, fabrication, test and evaluation of a designed-for-space 25 kW per cylinder Stirling Space Engine (SSE). The SSE will operate at a hot metal temperature of 1050 K using superalloy materials. This design is a low temperature confirmation of the 1300 K design. It is the 1300 K free-piston Stirling power conversion system that is the ultimate goal; to be used in conjunction with the SP-100 reactor. The approach to this goal is in three temperature steps. However, this paper concentrates on the first two phases of this program - the 650 K SPDE and the 1050 K SSE.

  7. Reliability Assessment Approach for Stirling Convertors and Generators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shah, Ashwin R.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Zampino, Edward; Best, Timothy

    2004-01-01

    Stirling power conversion is being considered for use in a Radioisotope Power System for deep-space science missions because it offers a multifold increase in the conversion efficiency of heat to electric power. Quantifying the reliability of a Radioisotope Power System that utilizes Stirling power conversion technology is important in developing and demonstrating the capability for long-term success. A description of the Stirling power convertor is provided, along with a discussion about some of the key components. Ongoing efforts to understand component life, design variables at the component and system levels, related sources, and the nature of uncertainties is discussed. The requirement for reliability also is discussed, and some of the critical areas of concern are identified. A section on the objectives of the performance model development and a computation of reliability is included to highlight the goals of this effort. Also, a viable physics-based reliability plan to model the design-level variable uncertainties at the component and system levels is outlined, and potential benefits are elucidated. The plan involves the interaction of different disciplines, maintaining the physical and probabilistic correlations at all the levels, and a verification process based on rational short-term tests. In addition, both top-down and bottom-up coherency were maintained to follow the physics-based design process and mission requirements. The outlined reliability assessment approach provides guidelines to improve the design and identifies governing variables to achieve high reliability in the Stirling Radioisotope Generator design.

  8. Characterization of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Oriti, Salvatore M.; Schifer, Niholas A.

    2016-01-01

    Significant progress was made developing the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) 140-W radioisotope power system. While the ASRG flight development project has ended, the hardware that was designed and built under the project is continuing to be tested to support future Stirling-based power system development. NASA Glenn Research Center recently completed the assembly of the ASRG Engineering Unit 2 (EU2). The ASRG EU2 consists of the first pair of Sunpower's Advanced Stirling Convertor E3 (ASC-E3) Stirling convertors mounted in an aluminum housing, and Lockheed Martin's Engineering Development Unit (EDU) 4 controller (a fourth-generation controller). The ASC-E3 convertors and Generator Housing Assembly (GHA) closely match the intended ASRG Qualification Unit flight design. A series of tests were conducted to characterize the EU2, its controller, and the convertors in the flight-like GHA. The GHA contained an argon cover gas for these tests. The tests included measurement of convertor, controller, and generator performance and efficiency; quantification of control authority of the controller; disturbance force measurement with varying piston phase and piston amplitude; and measurement of the effect of spacecraft direct current (DC) bus voltage on EU2 performance. The results of these tests are discussed and summarized, providing a basic understanding of EU2 characteristics and the performance and capability of the EDU 4 controller.

  9. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range. First quarterly report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available,

    1980-01-07

    This project is Phase I of a multi-phased program for the design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range. Phase I comprises the conceptual design and associated cost estimates of a stationary Stirling engine capable of being fueled by a variety of heat sources, with emphasis on coal firing, followed by the preparation of a plan for implementing the design, fabrication and testing of a demonstration engine by 1985. The main effort in Phase I is the generation of state-of-the-art conceptual designs having greatest potential for prototype testing in 1985. The conceptual designs include a heat transport system for integrating the engine heater head with such energy sources as conventional oil/gas combustors, fluidized bed and other coal combustors, and combustors using coal-derived liquid fuels, and low/medium BTU gases. The heat transport systems being investigated include forced convection with gases or liquids, heat pipes, and direct firing. Currently, the leading choice for the solid fuel combustion system is the atmospheric fluidized bed, with low BTU gasification still a viable alternative. Both systems will continue to be evaluated further, but with greater emphasis on FBC. To date, there appears no clear choice among the heat pipe, forced convection gas loop, or direct firing as the prime candidate for the heat transport sub-system. Conceptual design and analysis will continue on all three sub-systems. Scale-up of United Stirling's P-75 engine to serve as the conceptual design of the 500 HP engine module is continuing. (LCL)

  10. Stirling Research Laboratory Providing Independent Performance Verification of Convertors for a Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.

    2002-01-01

    The Department of Energy (DOE), Germantown, Maryland, Stirling Technology Company (STC), Kennewick, Washington, and NASA Glenn Research Center are developing a free-piston Stirling convertor for a high-efficiency Stirling Radioisotope Generator for NASA Space Science missions. This generator is being developed for multimission use, including providing electric power for unmanned Mars rovers and for deep space missions. STC is developing the 55-W Technology Demonstration Convertor (TDC) under contract to DOE. Glenn is conducting an in-house technology project to assist in developing the convertor for readiness for space qualification and mission implementation. As part of this effort, a Stirling Research Laboratory was established to test the TDC's and related technologies. A key task is providing an independent verification and validation of the TDC performance. Four TDC's are now being tested at Glenn. Acceptance testing has been completed for all convertors, and in general, performance agreed well with that achieved by STC prior to the delivery of the convertors. Performance mapping has also been completed on two of the convertors over a range of hot-end temperatures (450 to 650 C), cold-end temperatures (80 to 120 C), and piston amplitudes (5.2 to 6.2 mm). These test data are available online at http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/tmsb/. The TDC's can be tested in either a horizontal orientation with dual-opposed convertors or in a vertical orientation with a single convertor. Synchronized dual-opposed pairs are used for dynamically balanced operation that results in very low levels of vibration. The Stirling Research Laboratory also supports launch environment testing of the TDC's in Glenn's Structural Dynamics Laboratory and electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility characterization and reduction efforts. In addition, the TDC's will be used for long-term endurance testing, and preparations are underway for unattended operation.

  11. Power characteristics of a Stirling radioisotope power system over the life of the mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2001-02-01

    Stirling radioisotope power systems are presently being considered for use on long life deep space missions. Some applications that Stirling technology has been developed for in the past could control the heat input to the engine, as was the case in the Automotive Stirling Engine (ASE) program. The combustion system could change the rate at which fuel was burned in response to the Stirling heater head temperature and the desired set point. In other cases, heat input was not controlled. An example is the solar terrestrial Advanced Stirling Conversion System (ASCS), where the heat input was a function of solar intensity and the performance of the solar concentrator and receiver. The control system for this application would measure the Stirling heater head temperature and throttle the Stirling convertor to once again, maintain the Stirling heater head temperature at the desired set point. In both of these examples, the design was driven to be cost effective. In the Stirling radioisotope power system, the heat generated by the decay in plutonium is reduced with the half-life of the isotope, and the control system must be as simple as possible and still meet the mission requirements. The most simple control system would be one that allows the Stirling power convertor to autonomously change its operating conditions in direct response to the reduced heat input, with no intervention from the control system, merely seeking a new equilibrium point as the isotope decays. This paper presents an analysis of power system performance with this simple control system, which has no feedback and does not actively alter the operating point as the isotope decays. .

  12. Materials technology for Stirling space power converters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baggenstoss, William; Mittendorf, Donald

    1992-01-01

    This program was conducted in support of the NASA LeRC development of the Stirling power converter (SPC) for space power applications. The objectives of this contract were: (1) to perform a technology review and analyses to support the evaluation of materials issues for the SPC; (2) to evaluate liquid metal compatibility issues of the SPC; (3) to evaluate and define a transient liquid phase diffusion bonding (TLPDB) process for the SPC joints to the Udimet 720 heater head; and (4) to evaluate alternative (to the TLPDB) joining techniques. In the technology review, several aspects of the current Stirling design were examined including the power converter assembly process, materials joining, gas bearings, and heat exchangers. The supporting analyses included GLIMPS power converter simulation in support of the materials studies, and system level analysis in support of the technology review. The liquid metal compatibility study evaluated process parameters for use in the Stirling power converter. The alternative joining techniques study looked at the applicability of various joining techniques to the Stirling power converter requirements.

  13. A dish-Stirling solar-thermal power system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pons, R. L.; Clark, T. B.

    1980-01-01

    This paper presents results of a preliminary design/economic study of a first-generation point focusing distributed receiver solar-thermal electric system optimized for application to industrial and small community power plants at power levels up to 10 MWe. Power conversion is provided by small Stirling cycle engines mounted at the focus of paraboloidal solar concentrators. The output of multiple power modules (concentrator, receiver, engine, and electric generator) is collected by means of a conventional electrical system and interfaced with a utility grid. Based on the United Stirling P-75 engine, a 1 MWe system employing mass-produced components (100,000 modules/year) could produce electricity at costs competitive with those projected for electricity generated by more conventional means, e.g. with fossil fuels.

  14. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range

    SciTech Connect

    1980-02-01

    Initial work in a project on the design and development of Stirling engines for stationary integrated energy systems is reported. Information is included on a market assessment, design methodology, evaluation of engine thermodynamic performance, and preliminary system design. It is concluded that Stirling engines employing clean fossil fuels cannot compete with diesel engines. However, combustion technology exists for the successful burning of coal-derived fuels in a large stationary stirling engine. High thermal efficiency is predicted for such an engine and further development work is recommended. (LCL)

  15. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range. Volume 1. Technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available,

    1980-09-15

    This project was Phase I of a multiphased program for the design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range. Phase I comprised the conceptual design and associated cost estimates of a stationary Stirling engine capable of being fueled by a variety of heat sources, with emphasis on coal firing, followed by the preparation of a plan for implementing the design, fabrication and testing of a demonstration engine by 1985. The development and evaluation of conceptual designs have been separated into two broad categories: the A designs which represent the present state-of-the-art and which are demonstrable by 1985 with minimum technical risk; and the B designs which involve advanced technology and therefore would require significant research and development prior to demonstration and commercialization, but which may ultimately offer advantages in terms of lower cost, better performance, or higher reliability. The majority of the effort in Phase I was devoted to the A designs.

  16. Improving Free-Piston Stirling Engine Specific Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, Maxwell Henry

    2014-01-01

    This work uses analytical methods to demonstrate the potential benefits of optimizing piston and/or displacer motion in a Stirling Engine. Isothermal analysis was used to show the potential benefits of ideal motion in ideal Stirling engines. Nodal analysis is used to show that ideal piston and displacer waveforms are not optimal in real Stirling engines. Constrained optimization was used to identify piston and displacer waveforms that increase Stirling engine specific power.

  17. Improving Free-Piston Stirling Engine Specific Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, Maxwell H.

    2015-01-01

    This work uses analytical methods to demonstrate the potential benefits of optimizing piston and/or displacer motion in a Stirling engine. Isothermal analysis was used to show the potential benefits of ideal motion in ideal Stirling engines. Nodal analysis is used to show that ideal piston and displacer waveforms are not optimal in real Stirling engines. Constrained optimization was used to identify piston and displacer waveforms that increase Stirling engine specific power.

  18. Stirling Convertor for the Stirling Radioisotope Generator Tested as a Prelude to Transition to Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.

    2004-01-01

    The Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG) is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin Astronautics (Valley Forge, PA) under contract to the Department of Energy (Germantown, MD). In support of this project, the NASA Glenn Research Center has established a near-term technology effort to provide some of the critical data to ensure a successful transition to flight for what will be the first dynamic power system to be used in space. The generator will be a high-efficiency electric power source for potential use on NASA space science missions. The generator will be able to operate in the vacuum of deep space or in an atmosphere such as on the surface of Mars. High system efficiency is obtained through the use of free-piston Stirling power-conversion technology. The power output of the generator will be greater than 100 W at the beginning of life, with the slow decline in power being largely due to decay of the plutonium heat source. Previously, Glenn's supporting technology efforts focused only on the most critical technical issues.

  19. Characterization of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator EU2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Oriti, Salvatore M.; Schifer, Nicholas A.

    2015-01-01

    Significant progress was made developing the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), a 140-watt radioisotope power system. While the ASRG flight development project has ended, the hardware that was designed and built under the project is continuing to be tested to support future Stirling-based power system development. NASA GRC recently completed the assembly of the ASRG Engineering Unit 2 (EU2). The ASRG EU2 consists of the first pair of Sunpower's ASC-E3 Stirling convertors mounted in an aluminum housing, and Lockheed Martin's Engineering Development Unit (EDU) 4 controller (a fourth generation controller). The ASC-E3 convertors and Generator Housing Assembly (GHA) closely match the intended ASRG Qualification Unit flight design. A series of tests were conducted to characterize the EU2, its controller, and the convertors in the flight-like GHA. The GHA contained an argon cover gas for these tests. The tests included: measurement of convertor, controller, and generator performance and efficiency, quantification of control authority of the controller, disturbance force measurement with varying piston phase and piston amplitude, and measurement of the effect of spacecraft DC bus voltage on EU2 performance. The results of these tests are discussed and summarized, providing a basic understanding of EU2 characteristics and the performance and capability of the EDU 4 controller.

  20. GRC Supporting Technology for NASA's Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.

    2008-01-01

    From 1999 to 2006, the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) supported a NASA project to develop a high-efficiency, nominal 110-We Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for potential use on NASA missions. Lockheed Martin was selected as the System Integration Contractor for the SRG110, under contract to the Department of Energy (DOE). The potential applications included deep space missions, and Mars rovers. The project was redirected in 2006 to make use of the Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC) that was being developed by Sunpower, Inc. under contract to GRC, which would reduce the mass of the generator and increase the power output. This change would approximately double the specific power and result in the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG). The SRG110 supporting technology effort at GRC was replanned to support the integration of the Sunpower convertor and the ASRG. This paper describes the ASRG supporting technology effort at GRC and provides details of the contributions in some of the key areas. The GRC tasks include convertor extended-operation testing in air and in thermal vacuum environments, heater head life assessment, materials studies, permanent magnet characterization and aging tests, structural dynamics testing, electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility characterization, evaluation of organic materials, reliability studies, and analysis to support controller development.

  1. Radioisotope Stirling Generator Options for Pluto Fast Flyby Mission

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    1993-10-01

    The preceding paper described conceptual designs and analytical results for five Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) options for the Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) mission, and the present paper describes three Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) options for the same mission. The RSG options are based on essentially the same radioisotope heat source modules used in previously flown RTGs and on designs and analyses of a 75-watt free-piston Stirling engine produced by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) for NASA's Lewis Research Center. The integrated system design options presented were generated in a Fairchild Space study sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications, in support of ongoing PFF mission and spacecraft studies that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is conducting for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). That study's NASA-directed goal is to reduce the spacecraft mass from its baseline value of 166 kg to ~110 kg, which implies a mass goal of less than 10 kg for a power source able to deliver 69 watts(e) at the end of the 9.2-year mission. In general, the Stirling options were found to be lighter than the thermoelectric options described in the preceding paper. But they are less mature, requiring more development, and entailing greater programmatic risk. The Stirling power system mass ranged from 7.3 kg (well below the 10-kg goal) for a non-redundant system to 11.3 kg for a redundant system able to maintain full power if one of its engines fails. In fact, the latter system could deliver as much as 115 watts(e) if desired by the mission planners. There are 5 copies in the file.

  2. Radioisotope Stirling Generator Options for Pluto Fast Flyby Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schock, Alfred

    1994-07-01

    The preceding paper (Schock 1994) described conceptual designs and analytical results for five Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) options for the Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) mission, and the present paper describes three Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) options for the same mission. The RSG options are based on essentially the same radioisotope heat source modules used in previously flown RTGs and on designs and analyses of a 75-Watt free-piston Stirling engine produced by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) for NASA's Lewis Research Center. The integrated system design options presented were generated in a Fairchild Space study sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications, in support of ongoing PFF mission and spacecraft studies that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is conducting for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). That study's NASA-directed goal is to reduce the spacecraft mass from its baseline value of 166 kg to -110 kg, which implies a mass goal of less than 10 kg for a power source able to deliver 69 Watts(e) at the end of the 9.2-year mission. In general, the Stirling options were found to be lighter than the thermoelectric options described in the preceding paper. But they are less mature, requiring more development, and entailing greater programmatic risk. The Stirling power system mass ranged from 7.3 kg (well below the 10-kg goal) for a non-redundant system to 11.3 kg for a redundant system able to maintain full power if one of its two engines fails. In fact, the latter system could deliver as much as 115 Watts(e) if desired by the mission planners.

  3. Radioisotope Stirling Generator Options for Pluto Fast Flyby Mission

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    2012-01-19

    The preceding paper described conceptual designs and analytical results for five Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) options for the Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) mission, and the present paper describes three Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) options for the same mission. The RSG options are based on essentially the same radioisotope heat source modules used in previously flown RTGs and on designs and analyses of a 75-watt free-piston Stirling engine produced by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) for NASA's Lewis Research Center. The integrated system design options presented were generated in a Fairchild Space study sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications, in support of ongoing PFF mission and spacecraft studies that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is conducting for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). That study's NASA-directed goal is to reduce the spacecraft mass from its baseline value of 166 kg to ~110 kg, which implies a mass goal of less than 10 kg for a power source able to deliver 69 watts(e) at the end of the 9.2-year mission. In general, the Stirling options were found to be lighter than the thermoelectric options described in the preceding paper. But they are less mature, requiring more development, and entailing greater programmatic risk. The Stirling power system mass ranged from 7.3 kg (well below the 10-kg goal) for a non-redundant system to 11.3 kg for a redundant system able to maintain full power if one of its engines fails. In fact, the latter system could deliver as much as 115 watts(e) if desired by the mission planners. There are 2 copies in the file.

  4. Free-piston Stirling technology for space power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slaby, Jack G.

    1989-01-01

    An overview is presented of the NASA Lewis Research Center free-piston Stirling engine activities directed toward space power. This work is being carried out under NASA's new Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). The overall goal of CSTI's High Capacity Power element is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space missions. The Stirling cycle offers an attractive power conversion concept for space power needs. Discussed here is the completion of the Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) testing-culminating in the generation of 25 kW of engine power from a dynamically-balanced opposed-piston Stirling engine at a temperature ratio of 2.0. Engine efficiency was approximately 22 percent. The SPDE recently has been divided into two separate single-cylinder engines, called Space Power Research Engine (SPRE), that now serve as test beds for the evaluation of key technology disciplines. These disciplines include hydrodynamic gas bearings, high-efficiency linear alternators, space qualified heat pipe heat exchangers, oscillating flow code validation, and engine loss understanding.

  5. Small Stirling dynamic isotope power system for robotic space missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, D. J.

    1992-01-01

    The design of a multihundred-watt Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS), based on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) and small (multihundred-watt) free-piston Stirling engine (FPSE), is being pursued as a potential lower cost alternative to radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG's). The design is targeted at the power needs of future unmanned deep space and planetary surface exploration missions ranging from scientific probes to Space Exploration Initiative precursor missions. Power level for these missions is less than a kilowatt. The incentive for any dynamic system is that it can save fuel and reduce costs and radiological hazard. Unlike DIPS based on turbomachinery conversion (e.g. Brayton), this small Stirling DIPS can be advantageously scaled to multihundred-watt unit size while preserving size and mass competitiveness with RTG's. Stirling conversion extends the competitive range for dynamic systems down to a few hundred watts--a power level not previously considered for dynamic systems. The challenge for Stirling conversion will be to demonstrate reliability and life similar to RTG experience. Since the competitive potential of FPSE as an isotope converter was first identified, work has focused on feasibility of directly integrating GPHS with the Stirling heater head. Thermal modeling of various radiatively coupled heat source/heater head geometries has been performed using data furnished by the developers of FPSE and GPHS. The analysis indicates that, for the 1050 K heater head configurations considered, GPHS fuel clad temperatures remain within acceptable operating limits. Based on these results, preliminary characterizations of multihundred-watt units have been established.

  6. Small Stirling dynamic isotope power system for robotic space missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bents, D. J.

    1992-08-01

    The design of a multihundred-watt Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS), based on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) and small (multihundred-watt) free-piston Stirling engine (FPSE), is being pursued as a potential lower cost alternative to radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG's). The design is targeted at the power needs of future unmanned deep space and planetary surface exploration missions ranging from scientific probes to Space Exploration Initiative precursor missions. Power level for these missions is less than a kilowatt. The incentive for any dynamic system is that it can save fuel and reduce costs and radiological hazard. Unlike DIPS based on turbomachinery conversion (e.g. Brayton), this small Stirling DIPS can be advantageously scaled to multihundred-watt unit size while preserving size and mass competitiveness with RTG's. Stirling conversion extends the competitive range for dynamic systems down to a few hundred watts--a power level not previously considered for dynamic systems. The challenge for Stirling conversion will be to demonstrate reliability and life similar to RTG experience. Since the competitive potential of FPSE as an isotope converter was first identified, work has focused on feasibility of directly integrating GPHS with the Stirling heater head. Thermal modeling of various radiatively coupled heat source/heater head geometries has been performed using data furnished by the developers of FPSE and GPHS. The analysis indicates that, for the 1050 K heater head configurations considered, GPHS fuel clad temperatures remain within acceptable operating limits. Based on these results, preliminary characterizations of multihundred-watt units have been established.

  7. Supporting Development for the Stirling Radioisotope Generator and Advanced Stirling Technology Development at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2005-01-01

    A high-efficiency, 110-We (watts electric) Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for possible use on future NASA Space Science missions is being developed by the Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, Stirling Technology Company (STC), and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). Potential mission use includes providing spacecraft onboard electric power for deep space missions and power for unmanned Mars rovers. GRC is conducting an in-house supporting technology project to assist in SRG110 development. One-, three-, and six-month heater head structural benchmark tests have been completed in support of a heater head life assessment. Testing is underway to evaluate the key epoxy bond of the permanent magnets to the linear alternator stator lamination stack. GRC has completed over 10,000 hours of extended duration testing of the Stirling convertors for the SRG110, and a three-year test of two Stirling convertors in a thermal vacuum environment will be starting shortly. GRC is also developing advanced technology for Stirling convertors, aimed at substantially improving the specific power and efficiency of the convertor and the overall generator. Sunpower, Inc. has begun the development of a lightweight Stirling convertor, under a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) award, that has the potential to double the system specific power to about 8 We/kg. GRC has performed random vibration testing of a lower-power version of this convertor to evaluate robustness for surviving launch vibrations. STC has also completed the initial design of a lightweight convertor. Status of the development of a multi-dimensional computational fluid dynamics code and high-temperature materials work on advanced superalloys, refractory metal alloys, and ceramics are also discussed.

  8. Development of a Multi-bus, Multi-source Reconfigurable Stirling Radioisotope Power System Test Bed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coleman, Anthony S.

    2004-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has typically used Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG) as their source of electric power for deep space missions. A more efficient and potentially more cost effective alternative to the RTG, the high efficiency 110 watt Stirling Radioisotope Generator 110 (SRG110) is being developed by the Department of Energy (DOE), Lockheed Martin (LM), Stirling Technology Company (STC) and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). The SRG110 consists of two Stirling convertors (Stirling Engine and Linear Alternator) in a dual-opposed configuration, and two General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules. Although Stirling convertors have been successfully operated as a power source for the utility grid and as a stand-alone portable generator, demonstration of the technology required to interconnect two Stirling convertors for a spacecraft power system has not been attempted. NASA GRC is developing a Power System Test Bed (PSTB) to evaluate the performance of a Stirling convertor in an integrated electrical power system application. This paper will describe the status of the PSTB and on-going activities pertaining to the PSTB in the NASA Thermal-Energy Conversion Branch of the Power and On-Board Propulsion Technology Division.

  9. Power Conversion with a Stirling Cycle for Venus Surface Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mellott, Ken

    2004-01-01

    The light-filtering characteristic of the dense, mostly-CO2 atmosphere of Venus, combined with the high atmospheric cloud cover, relegates the surface mission use of photovoltaic power systems and beckons for the independence and reliability of a nuclear-powered energy source. A multi-faceted Venus mission study was completed at NASA GRC in December of 2003 that resulted in the preliminary design of a helium- charged, kinematic Stirling converter, which is powered by nuclear, General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules. The kinematic, Stirling power converter is configured to drive an electronics and sensor cooler in addition to a generator for electrical power. This paper briefly describes the design process and also describes and summarizes key features of the Stirling power converter preliminary design concept. With an estimated total efficiency of 23.4%, the power converter drives the electronics and sensor cooler, and also produces 100 watts of electricity. The converter rejects waste heat at a hot sink temperature of 500 C.

  10. Cermet Coatings for Solar Stirling Space Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaworske, Donald A.; Raack, Taylor

    2004-01-01

    Cermet coatings, molecular mixtures of metal and ceramic are being considered for the heat inlet surface of a solar Stirling space power converter. This paper will discuss the solar absorption characteristics of as-deposited cermet coatings as well as the solar absorption characteristics of the coatings after heating. The role of diffusion and island formation, during the deposition process and during heating will also be discussed.

  11. Lunar Surface Stirling Power Systems Using Am-241

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Penswick, L. Barry; Shaltens, Richard K.

    2009-01-01

    For many years NASA has used the decay of Pu-238 (in the form of the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS)) as a heat source for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG), which have provided electrical power for many NASA missions. While RTG's have an impressive reliability record for the missions in which they have been used, their relatively low thermal to electric conversion efficiency (-5% efficiency) and the scarcity of Plutoinium-238 (Pu-238) has led NASA to consider other power conversion technologies. NASA is considering returning both robotic and human missions to the lunar surface and, because of the long lunar nights (14 earth days) isotope power systems are an attractive candidate to generate electrical power. NASA is currently developing the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) as a candidate higher efficiency power system that produces greater than 160 watts with 2 GPHS modules at the beginning of life (BOL) (-30% efficiency). The ASRG uses the same Pu-238 GPHS modules, which are used in RTG, but by coupling them to a Stirling convertor provides a 4-fold reduction in the number of GPHS modules. This study considers the use of Americium 241 (Am-241) as a substitute for the Pu-238 in Stirling convertor based Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) for power levels from 1 O's of watts to 5 kWe. The Am-241 is used as a replacement for the Pu-238 in GPHS modules. Depending on power level, different Stirling heat input and removal systems are modeled. It was found that substituting Am-241 GPHS modules into the ASRG reduces power output by about 1/5 while maintaining approximately the same system mass. In order to obtain the nominal 160 watts electrical output of the Pu-238 ASRG requires 10 Am-241 GPHS modules. Higher power systems require changing from conductive coupling heat input and removal from the Stirling convertor to either pumped loops or heat pipes. Liquid metal pumped loops are considered as the primary heat transportation on the hot end and

  12. Lunar Surface Stirling Power Systems Using Isotope Heat Sources

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Penswick, L. Barry; Shaltens, Richard K.

    2010-01-01

    For many years, NASA has used the decay of plutonium-238 (Pu-238) (in the form of the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS)) as a heat source for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs), which have provided electrical power for many NASA missions. While RTGs have an impressive reliability record for the missions in which they have been used, their relatively low thermal to electric conversion efficiency and the scarcity of plutonium-238 (Pu-238) has led NASA to consider other power conversion technologies. NASA is considering returning both robotic and human missions to the lunar surface and, because of the long lunar nights (14.75 Earth days), isotope power systems are an attractive candidate to generate electrical power. NASA is currently developing the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) as a candidate higher efficiency power system that produces greater than 160 W with two GPHS modules at the beginning of life (BOL) (32% efficiency). The ASRG uses the same Pu-238 GPHS modules, which are used in RTG, but by coupling them to a Stirling convertor provides a four-fold reduction in the number of GPHS modules. This study considers the use of americium-241 (Am-241) as a substitute for the Pu-238 in Stirling- convertor-based Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) for power levels from tens of watts to 5 kWe. The Am-241 is used as a substitute for the Pu-238 in GPHS modules. Depending on power level, different Stirling heat input and removal systems are modeled. It was found that substituting Am-241 GPHS modules into the ASRG reduces power output by about one-fifth while maintaining approximately the same system mass. In order to obtain the nominal 160 W of electrical output of the Pu-238 ASRG requires 10 Am-241 GPHS modules. Higher power systems require changing from conductive coupling heat input and removal from the Stirling convertor to either pumped loops or heat pipes. Liquid metal pumped loops are considered as the primary heat transportation on the hot

  13. Overheat Prevention in Solar-Powered Stirling Engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garrigus, W. E.; Pons, R. L.

    1982-01-01

    Proposed controller for solar-powered Stirling engine prevents engine from burning up when energy added by Sun exceeds that withdrawn by load. Head-temperature controller used existing electrical control unit of Stirling engine to regulate power output in response to head temperature. Power out-put is varied so keeps head temperature fairly constant.

  14. Overview of Multi-Kilowatt Free-Piston Stirling Power Conversion Research at Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geng, Steven M.; Mason, Lee S.; Dyson, Rodger W.; Penswick, L. Barry

    2008-01-01

    As a step towards development of Stirling power conversion for potential use in Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems, a pair of commercially available 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors and a pair of commercially available pressure wave generators (which will be plumbed together to create a high power Stirling linear alternator test rig) have been procured for in-house testing at Glenn Research Center (GRC). Delivery of both the Stirling convertors and the linear alternator test rig is expected by October 2007. The 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors will be tested at GRC to map and verify performance. The convertors will later be modified to operate with a NaK liquid metal pumped loop for thermal energy input. The high power linear alternator test rig will be used to map and verify high power Stirling linear alternator performance and to develop power management and distribution (PMAD) methods and techniques. This paper provides an overview of the multi-kilowatt free-piston Stirling power conversion work being performed at GRC.

  15. Overview of Multi-Kilowatt Free-Piston Stirling Power Conversion Research at GRC

    SciTech Connect

    Geng, Steven M.; Mason, Lee S.; Dyson, Rodger W.; Penswick, L. Barry

    2008-01-21

    As a step towards development of Stirling power conversion for potential use in Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems, a pair of commercially available 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors and a pair of commercially available pressure wave generators (which will be plumbed together to create a high power Stirling linear alternator test rig) have been procured for in-house testing at Glenn Research Center. Delivery of both the Stirling convertors and the linear alternator test rig is expected by October, 2007. The 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors will be tested at GRC to map and verify performance. The convertors will later be modified to operate with a NaK liquid metal pumped loop for thermal energy input. The high power linear alternator test rig will be used to map and verify high power Stirling linear alternator performance and to develop power management and distribution (PMAD) methods and techniques. This paper provides an overview of the multi-kilowatt free-piston Stirling power conversion work being performed at GRC.

  16. Overview of Multi-Kilowatt Free-Piston Stirling Power Conversion Research at GRC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geng, Steven M.; Mason, Lee S.; Dyson, Rodger W.; Penswick, L. Barry

    2008-01-01

    As a step towards development of Stirling power conversion for potential use in Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems, a pair of commercially available 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors and a pair of commercially available pressure wave generators (which will be plumbed together to create a high power Stirling linear alternator test rig) have been procured for in-house testing at Glenn Research Center. Delivery of both the Stirling convertors and the linear alternator test rig is expected by October, 2007. The 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors will be tested at GRC to map and verify performance. The convertors will later be modified to operate with a NaK liquid metal pumped loop for thermal energy input. The high power linear alternator test rig will be used to map and verify high power Stirling linear alternator performance and to develop power management and distribution (PMAD) methods and techniques. This paper provides an overview of the multi-kilowatt free-piston Stirling power conversion work being performed at GRC.

  17. Overview of Multi-kilowatt Free-Piston Stirling Power Conversion Research at GRC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geng, Steven M.; Mason, Lee S.; Dyson, Rodger W.; Penswick, L. Barry

    2008-01-01

    As a step towards development of Stirling power conversion for potential use in Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems, a pair of commercially available 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors and a pair of commercially available pressure wave generators (which will be plumbed together to create a high power Stirling linear alternator test rig) have been procured for in-house testing at Glenn Research Center. Delivery of both the Stirling convertors and the linear alternator test rig is expected by October, 2007. The 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors will be tested at GRC to map and verify performance. The convertors will later be modified to operate with a NaK liquid metal pumped loop for thermal energy input. The high power linear alternator test rig will be used to map and verify high power Stirling linear alternator performance and to develop power management and distribution (PMAD) methods and techniques. This paper provides an overview of the multi-kilowatt free-piston Stirling power conversion work being performed at GRC.

  18. Parametric System Model for a Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.

    2015-01-01

    A Parametric System Model (PSM) was created in order to explore conceptual designs, the impact of component changes and power level on the performance of the Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG). Using the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS approximately 250 Wth) modules as the thermal building block from which a SRG is conceptualized, trade studies are performed to understand the importance of individual component scaling on isotope usage. Mathematical relationships based on heat and power throughput, temperature, mass, and volume were developed for each of the required subsystems. The PSM uses these relationships to perform component- and system-level trades.

  19. Parametric System Model for a Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.

    2014-01-01

    A Parametric System Model (PSM) was created in order to explore conceptual designs, the impact of component changes and power level on the performance of Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG). Using the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS approximately 250 watt thermal) modules as the thermal building block around which a SRG is conceptualized, trade studies are performed to understand the importance of individual component scaling on isotope usage. Mathematical relationships based on heat and power throughput, temperature, mass and volume were developed for each of the required subsystems. The PSM uses these relationships to perform component and system level trades.

  20. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range, volume 1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuetz, M.; Gerstmann, J.; Hoagland, L.; Syniuta, W.; Krisher, R.; Randall, C.

    1980-09-01

    The conceptual design and associated cost estimates of a stationary Stirling engine capable of being fueled by a variety of heat sources are discussed with emphasis on coal firing. The development and evaluation of conceptual designs are separated into two broad categories: the A designs which represent the present state-of-the-art and which are demonstrable by 1985 with minimum technical risk; and the B designs which involve advanced technology and therefore would require significant research and development prior to demonstration and commercialization, but which may ultimately offer advantages in terms of lower cost, better performance, or higher reliability.

  1. Stirling converters for space dynamic power concepts with 2 to 130 W{sub e} output

    SciTech Connect

    Ross, B.A.

    1995-12-31

    Three innovative Stirling converter concepts are described. Two concepts are based on Pluto Fast Flyby (PFF) mission requirements, where two General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules provide the thermal input. The first concept (PFF2) considers a power system with two opposed Stirling converters; the second concept (PFF4) considers four opposed Stirling converters. For both concepts the Stirling converters are designed to vary their power production capability to compensate for the failure of one Stirling converter. While the net thermal efficiency of PFF4 is a few percentage points lower than PFF2, the total Stirling converter mass of PFF4 is half that for PFF2. The third concept (ITTI) is designed to supply 2 watts of power for weather stations on the Martian surface. The predicted thermal performance of the ITTI is low compared to PFF2 and PFF4, yet the ITTI concept offers significant advantages compared to currently available power systems at the 2-watt power level. All three concepts are based on long-life technology demonstrated by an 11-watt output Stirling generator that as of March 1995 has accumulated over 15,000 operating hours without maintenance.

  2. Test Program for Stirling Radioisotope Generator Hardware at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Bolotin, Gary S.; Oriti, Salvatore M.

    2014-01-01

    Stirling-based energy conversion technology has demonstrated the potential of high efficiency and low mass power systems for future space missions. This capability is beneficial, if not essential, to making certain deep space missions possible. Significant progress was made developing the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), a 140-watt radioisotope power system. A variety of flight-like hardware, including Stirling convertors, controllers, and housings, was designed and built under the ASRG flight development project. To support future Stirling-based power system development NASA has proposals that, if funded, will allow this hardware to go on test at the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). While future flight hardware may not be identical to the hardware developed under the ASRG flight development project, many components will likely be similar, and system architectures may have heritage to ASRG. Thus the importance of testing the ASRG hardware to the development of future Stirling-based power systems cannot be understated. This proposed testing will include performance testing, extended operation to establish an extensive reliability database, and characterization testing to quantify subsystem and system performance and better understand system interfaces. This paper details this proposed test program for Stirling radioisotope generator hardware at NASA GRC. It explains the rationale behind the proposed tests and how these tests will meet the stated objectives.

  3. Test Program for Stirling Radioisotope Generator Hardware at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Bolotin, Gary S.; Oriti, Salvatore M.

    2015-01-01

    Stirling-based energy conversion technology has demonstrated the potential of high efficiency and low mass power systems for future space missions. This capability is beneficial, if not essential, to making certain deep space missions possible. Significant progress was made developing the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), a 140-W radioisotope power system. A variety of flight-like hardware, including Stirling convertors, controllers, and housings, was designed and built under the ASRG flight development project. To support future Stirling-based power system development NASA has proposals that, if funded, will allow this hardware to go on test at the NASA Glenn Research Center. While future flight hardware may not be identical to the hardware developed under the ASRG flight development project, many components will likely be similar, and system architectures may have heritage to ASRG. Thus, the importance of testing the ASRG hardware to the development of future Stirling-based power systems cannot be understated. This proposed testing will include performance testing, extended operation to establish an extensive reliability database, and characterization testing to quantify subsystem and system performance and better understand system interfaces. This paper details this proposed test program for Stirling radioisotope generator hardware at NASA Glenn. It explains the rationale behind the proposed tests and how these tests will meet the stated objectives.

  4. Tests Of A Stirling-Engine Power Converter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dochat, George

    1995-01-01

    Report describes acceptance tests of power converter consisting of pair of opposed free-piston Stirling engines driving linear alternators. Stirling engines offer potential for extremely long life, high reliability, high efficiency at low hot-to-cold temperature ratios, and relatively low heater-head temperatures.

  5. Stirling System Modeling for Space Nuclear Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Johnson, Paul K.

    2008-01-01

    A dynamic model of a high-power Stirling convertor has been developed for space nuclear power systems modeling. The model is based on the Component Test Power Convertor (CTPC), a 12.5-kWe free-piston Stirling convertor. The model includes the fluid heat source, the Stirling convertor, output power, and heat rejection. The Stirling convertor model includes the Stirling cycle thermodynamics, heat flow, mechanical mass-spring damper systems, and the linear alternator. The model was validated against test data. Both nonlinear and linear versions of the model were developed. The linear version algebraically couples two separate linear dynamic models; one model of the Stirling cycle and one model of the thermal system, through the pressure factors. Future possible uses of the Stirling system dynamic model are discussed. A pair of commercially available 1-kWe Stirling convertors is being purchased by NASA Glenn Research Center. The specifications of those convertors may eventually be incorporated into the dynamic model and analysis compared to the convertor test data. Subsequent potential testing could include integrating the convertors into a pumped liquid metal hot-end interface. This test would provide more data for comparison to the dynamic model analysis.

  6. Stirling System Modeling for Space Nuclear Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Johnson, Paul K.

    2007-01-01

    A dynamic model of a high-power Stirling convertor has been developed for space nuclear power systems modeling. The model is based on the Component Test Power Convertor (CTPC), a 12.5-kWe free-piston Stirling convertor. The model includes the fluid heat source, the Stirling convertor, output power and heat rejection. The Stirling convertor model includes the Stirling cycle thermodynamics, heat flow, mechanical mass-spring damper systems, and the linear alternator. The model was validated against test data. Both nonlinear and linear versions of the model were developed. The linear version algebraically couples two separate linear dynamic models; one model of the Stirling cycle and one model of the thermal system, through the pressure factors. Future possible uses of the Stirling system dynamic model are discussed. A pair of commercially available 1-kWe Stirling convertors is being purchased by NASA Glenn Research Center. The specifications of those convertors may eventually be incorporated into the dynamic model and analysis compared to the convertor test data. Subsequent potential testing could include integrating the convertors into a pumped liquid metal hot-end interface. This test would provide more data for comparison to the dynamic model analysis.

  7. Development and Buildup of a Stirling Radioisotope Generator Electrical Simulator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prokop, Norman F.; Krasowski, Michael J.; Greer, Lawrence C.; Flatico, Joseph M.; Spina, Dan C.

    2008-01-01

    This paper describes the development of a Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG) Simulator for use in a prototype lunar robotic rover. The SRG developed at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is a promising power source for the robotic exploration of the sunless areas of the moon. The simulator designed provides a power output similar to the SRG output of 5.7 A at 28 Vdc, while using ac wall power as the input power source. The designed electrical simulator provides rover developers the physical and electrical constraints of the SRG supporting parallel development of the SRG and rover. Parallel development allows the rover design team to embrace the SRG s unique constraints while development of the SRG is continued to a flight qualified version.

  8. Status of several Stirling loss characterization efforts and their significance for Stirling space power development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tew, Roy C., Jr.

    1988-01-01

    NASA-Lewis and other U.S. Government agencies have supported experimental and analytical programs for the characterization of Stirling cycle engines' thermodynamic losses, with a view to the improvement of Stirling engine design capabilities. The Space Power Demonstrator Engine is noted to have benefited from these efforts; test data and model predictions suggest that even greater performance improvements would be obtainable through additional modifications of engine regenerator and heater hardware.

  9. Status of NASA's Stirling space power converter program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dudenhoefer, James E.; Winter, Jerry M.

    An overview is presented of the NASA free-piston stirling space power converter technology program. The authors discuss Stirling experience in space and progress toward 1050 K and 1300 K Stirling space power converters. Fabrication is nearly completed for the 1050 K component test power converter (CTPC); results of motoring tests of the cold end (525 K), are presented. The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, bearings, superalloy joining technologies, high efficiency alternators, life and reliability testing and predictive methodologies. The authors provide an update of progress in some of these technologies.

  10. Extended Operation Testing of Stirling Convertors in Support of Stirling Radioisotope Power System Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Wilson, Scott D.; Oriti, Salvatore M.; Cornell, Peggy; Schifer, Nicholas

    2009-01-01

    100 We class Stirling convertors began extended operation testing at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in 2003 with a pair of Technology Demonstration Convertors (TDCs) operating in air. Currently, the number of convertors on extended operation test has grown to 12, including both TDCs and Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) operating both in air and in thermal vacuum. Additional convertors and an electrically heated radioisotope generator will be put on test in the near future. This testing has provided data to support life and reliability estimates and the quality improvements and design changes that have been made to the convertor. The convertors operated 24/7 at the nominal amplitude and power levels. Performance data were recorded on an hourly basis. Techniques to monitor the convertors for change in internal operation included gas analysis, vibration measurements, and acoustic emission measurements. This data provided a baseline for future comparison. This paper summarizes the results of over 145,000 hr of TDC testing and 40,000 hr of ASC testing and discusses trends in the data. Data shows the importance of improved materials, hermetic sealing, and quality processes in maintaining convertor performance over long life.

  11. Extended Operation Testing of Stirling Convertors in Support of Stirling Radioisotope Power System Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Schreiber, Jeffre G.; Wilson, Scott D.; oriti, Salvatore M.; Cornell, Peggy; Schifer, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    100 We class Stirling convertors began extended operation testing at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in 2003 with a pair of Technology Demonstration Convertors (TDCs) operating in air. Currently, the number of convertors on extended operation test has grown to 12, including both TDCs and Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) operating both in air and in thermal vacuum. Additional convertors and an electrically heated radioisotope generator will be put on test in the near future. This testing has provided data to support life and reliability estimates and the quality improvements and design changes that have been made to the convertor. The convertors operated 24/7 at the nominal amplitude and power levels. Performance data were recorded on an hourly basis. Techniques to monitor the convertors for change in internal operation included gas analysis, vibration measurements and acoustic emission measurements. This data provided a baseline for future comparison. This paper summarizes the results of over 145,000 hours of TDC testing and 40,000 hours of ASC testing and discusses trends in the data. Data shows the importance of improved materials, hermetic sealing, and quality processes in maintaining convertor performance over long life.

  12. Adaptive Vibration Reduction System Shown to Effectively Eliminate Vibrations for the Stirling Radioisotope Power System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.

    2000-01-01

    Stirling Technology Company (STC), as part of a Small Business Innovation Research contract Phase II with the NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, is developing an Adaptive Vibration Reduction System (AVRS) that will effectively eliminate vibrations for the Stirling radioisotope power system. The AVRS will reduce vibration levels for two synchronized, opposed Stirling converters by a factor of 10 or more under normal operating conditions. Even more importantly, the AVRS will be adaptive and will be able to adjust to any changing converter conditions over the course of a mission. The Stirling converter is being developed by NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) as a high-efficiency option for a radioisotope power system to provide onboard electric power for NASA deep space missions. The high Stirling efficiency of over 25 percent for this application will reduce the required amount of isotope by more than a factor of 3 in comparison to the current radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG s). Stirling is the most developed converter option of the advanced power technologies under consideration.

  13. Third generation development of an 11-watt Stirling converter

    SciTech Connect

    Montgomery, W.L.; Ross, B.A.; Penswick, L.B.

    1996-12-31

    This paper describes recent design enhancements, performance results, and development of an artificial neural network (ANN) model related to the Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG), an 11-watt converter designed for remote power applications. Design enhancements include minor changes to improve performance, increase reliability, facilitate fabrication and assembly for limited production, and reduce mass. Innovative modifications were effected to increase performance and improve reliability of the vacuum foil insulation (VFI) package and linear alternator. High and low operating temperature acceptance testing of the Engineering Model (EM) demonstrated the robust system characteristics. These tests were conducted for 1 week of operation each, with rejector temperatures of 95 C and 20 C, respectively. Endurance testing continues for a complete Stirling converter, the Development Model (DM), with over 25,000 hours of maintenance-free operation. Endurance testing of flexures has attained over 540 flexure-years and endurance testing of linear motors/alternators has achieved nearly 27,000 hours of operation without failure. An ANN model was developed and tested successfully on the DM. Rejection temperatures were varied between 3 C and 75 C while load voltages ranged between engine stall and displacer overstroke. The trained ANN model, based solely on externally measured parameters, predicted values of piston amplitude, displacer amplitude, and piston-displacer phase angle within {+-}2% of the measured values over the entire operating regime. The ANN model demonstrated its effectiveness in the long-term evaluation of free-piston Stirling machines without adding the complexity, reduced reliability, and increased cost of sophisticated diagnostic instrumentation.

  14. The Use of Redundancy to Improve Reliability of Deep Space Missions Using Stirling Radioisotope Generator Power Sources

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bolotin, Gary; Everline, Chet; Schmitz, Paul; Distefano, Sal

    2014-01-01

    This study will look at the 140 We class generator as originally envisioned for the ASRG and a larger generator that is scaled up to use four times the fuel. The results discussed below quantify the effect of the use of smaller generators and indicates that a scheme that makes use of several smaller generators enhances the system reliability and allows for more graceful degradation.

  15. Advanced Stirling Convertor Development for NASA Radioisotope Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wong, Wayne A.; Wilson, Scott D.; Collins, Josh

    2015-01-01

    Sunpower Inc.'s Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC) initiated development under contract to the NASA Glenn Research Center and after a series of successful demonstrations, the ASC began transitioning from a technology development project to a flight development project. The ASC has very high power conversion efficiency making it attractive for future Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) in order to make best use of the low plutonium-238 fuel inventory in the United States. In recent years, the ASC became part of the NASA and Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) Integrated Project. Sunpower held two parallel contracts to produce ASCs, one with the DOE and Lockheed Martin to produce the ASC-F flight convertors, and one with NASA Glenn for the production of ASC-E3 engineering units, the initial units of which served as production pathfinders. The integrated ASC technical team successfully overcame various technical challenges that led to the completion and delivery of the first two pairs of flightlike ASC-E3 by 2013. However, in late fall 2013, the DOE initiated termination of the Lockheed Martin ASRG flight development contract driven primarily by budget constraints. NASA continues to recognize the importance of high-efficiency ASC power conversion for RPS and continues investment in the technology including the continuation of ASC-E3 production at Sunpower and the assembly of the ASRG Engineering Unit #2. This paper provides a summary of ASC technical accomplishments, overview of tests at Glenn, plans for continued ASC production at Sunpower, and status of Stirling technology development.

  16. Design and development of Stirling Engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 hp range. Subtask 1A report: state-of-the-art conceptual design

    SciTech Connect

    1980-03-01

    The first portion of the Conceptual Design Study of Stirling Engines for Stationary Power Application in the 500 to 3000 hp range which was aimed at state-of-the-art stationary Stirling engines for a 1985 hardware demonstration is summarized. The main goals of this effort were to obtain reliable cost data for a stationary Stirling engine capable of meeting future needs for total energy/cogeneration sysems and to establish a pragmatic and conservative base design for a first generation hardware. Starting with an extensive screening effort, 4 engine types, i.e., V-type crank engine, radial engine, swashplate engine, and rhombic drive engine, and 3 heat transport systems, i.e., heat pipe, pressurized gas heat transport loop, and direct gas fired system, were selected. After a preliminary layout cycle, the rhombic drive engine was eliminated due to intolerable maintenance difficulties on the push rod seals. V, radial and swashplate engines were taken through a detailed design/layout cycle, to establish all important design features and reliable engine weights. After comparing engine layouts and analyzing qualitative and quantitative evaluation criteria, the V-crank engine was chosen as the candidate for a 1985 hardware demonstration.

  17. Stirling Isotope Power Systems for Stationary and Mobile Lunar Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Penswick, L. Barry; Shaltens, Richard K.

    2007-01-01

    The NASA Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) places a significant emphasis on the development of a wide range of capabilities on the lunar surface as a stepping-stone to further space exploration. An important aspect of developing these capabilities will be the availability of reliable, efficient, and low-mass power systems to support both stationary and mobile applications. One candidate system to provide electrical power is made by coupling the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) with a high-performance Stirling convertor. In this paper we explore the practical power range of GPHS/Stirling convertor systems all with conductively coupled hot-end designs for use on the lunar surface. Design and off-design operations during the life of the convertor are studied in addition to considering these varying conditions on system. Unique issues concerning Stirling convertor configurations, integration of the GPHS with the Stirling convertor, controller operation, waste heat rejection, and thermal protection are explored. Of particular importance in the evaluation process is a thorough understanding of the interactions between the wide range of unique lunar environments and the selection of key systems operating characteristics and the power systems design. Additionally, as power levels rise the interface between the GPHS and Stirling and the Stirling and the radiator begins to dominate system mass and material selection becomes more important.

  18. Low-temperature Stirling Engine for Geothermal Electricity Generation

    SciTech Connect

    Stillman, Greg; Weaver, Samuel P.

    2013-03-27

    Up to 2700 terawatt-hours per year of geothermal electricity generation capacity has been shown to be available within North America, typically with wells drilled into geologically active regions of the earth's crust where this energy is concentrated (Huttrer, 2001). Of this potential, about half is considered to have temperatures high enough for conventional (steam-based) power production, while the other half requires unconventional power conversion approaches, such as organic Rankine cycle systems or Stirling engines. If captured and converted effectively, geothermal power generation could replace up to 100GW of fossil fuel electric power generation, leading to a significant reduction of US power sector emissions. In addition, with the rapid growth of hydro-fracking in oil and gas production, there are smaller-scale distributed power generation opportunities in heated liquids that are co-produced with the main products. Since 2006, Cool Energy, Inc. (CEI) has designed, fabricated and tested four generations of low-temperature (100°C to 300°C) Stirling engine power conversion equipment. The electric power output of these engines has been demonstrated at over 2kWe and over 16% thermal conversion efficiency for an input temperature of 215°C and a rejection temperature of 15°C. Initial pilot units have been shipped to development partners for further testing and validation, and significantly larger engines (20+ kWe) have been shown to be feasible and conceptually designed. Originally intended for waste heat recovery (WHR) applications, these engines are easily adaptable to geothermal heat sources, as the heat supply temperatures are similar. Both the current and the 20+ kWe designs use novel approaches of self-lubricating, low-wear-rate bearing surfaces, non-metallic regenerators, and high-effectiveness heat exchangers. By extending CEI's current 3 kWe SolarHeart® Engine into the tens of kWe range, many additional applications are possible, as one 20 k

  19. Reliability Demonstration Approach for Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ha, CHuong; Zampino, Edward; Penswick, Barry; Spronz, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Developed for future space missions as a high-efficiency power system, the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) has a design life requirement of 14 yr in space following a potential storage of 3 yr after fueling. In general, the demonstration of long-life dynamic systems remains difficult in part due to the perception that the wearout of moving parts cannot be minimized, and associated failures are unpredictable. This paper shows a combination of systematic analytical methods, extensive experience gained from technology development, and well-planned tests can be used to ensure a high level reliability of ASRG. With this approach, all potential risks from each life phase of the system are evaluated and the mitigation adequately addressed. This paper also provides a summary of important test results obtained to date for ASRG and the planned effort for system-level extended operation.

  20. Status of an advanced radioisotope space power system using free-piston Stirling technology

    SciTech Connect

    White, M.A,; Qiu, S.; Erbeznik, R.M.; Olan, R.W.; Welty, S.C.

    1998-07-01

    This paper describes a free-piston Stirling engine technology project to demonstrate a high efficiency power system capable of being further developed for deep space missions using a radioisotope (RI) heat source. The key objective is to develop a power system with an efficiency exceeding 20% that can function with a high degree of reliability for 10 years or longer on deep space missions. Primary issues being addressed for Stirling space power systems are weight and the vibration associated with reciprocating pistons. Similar weight and vibration issues have been successfully addressed with Stirling cryocoolers, which are the accepted standard for cryogenic cooling in space. Integrated long-life Stirling engine-generator (or convertor) operation has been demonstrated by the terrestrial Radioisotope Stirling Generator (RSG) and other Stirling Technology Company (STC) programs. Extensive RSG endurance testing includes more than 40,000 maintenance-free, degradation-free hours for the complete convertor, in addition to several critical component and subsystem endurance tests. The Stirling space power convertor project is being conducted by STC under DOE Contract, and NASA SBIR Phase II contracts. The DOE contract objective is to demonstrate a two-convertor module that represents half of a nominal 150-W(e) power system. Each convertor is referred to as a Technology Demonstration Convertor (TDC). The ultimate Stirling power system would be fueled by three general purpose heat source (GPHS) modules, and is projected to produce substantially more electric power than the 150-watt target. The system is capable of full power output with one failed convertor. One NASA contract, nearing completion, uses existing 350-W(e) RG-350 convertors to evaluate interactivity of two back-to-back balanced convertors with various degrees of electrical and mechanical interaction. This effort has recently provided the first successful synchronization of two convertors by means of parallel

  1. Demagnetization Tests Performed on a Linear Alternator for a Stirling Power Convertor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geng, Steven M.; Niedra, Janis M.; Schwarze, Gene E.

    2012-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is conducting in-house research on rare-earth permanent magnets and linear alternators to assist in developing free-piston Stirling convertors for radioisotope space power systems and for developing advanced linear alternator technology. This research continues at GRC, but, with the exception of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator references, the work presented in this paper was conducted in 2005. A special arc-magnet characterization fixture was designed and built to measure the M-H characteristics of the magnets used in Technology Demonstration Convertors developed under the 110-W Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) project. This fixture was used to measure these characteristics of the arc magnets and to predict alternator demagnetization temperatures in the SRG110 application. Demagnetization tests using the TDC alternator on the Alternator Test Rig were conducted for two different magnet grades: Sumitomo Neomax 44AH and 42AH. The purpose of these tests was to determine the demagnetization temperatures of the magnets for the alternator under nominal loads. Measurements made during the tests included the linear alternator terminal voltage, current, average power, magnet temperatures, and stator temperatures. The results of these tests were found to be in good agreement with predictions. Alternator demagnetization temperatures in the Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC-developed under the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator project) were predicted as well because the prediction method had been validated through the SRG110 alternator tests. These predictions led to a specification for maximum temperatures of the ASC pressure vessel.

  2. Stirling Radioisotope Power System as an Alternative for NASAs Deep Space Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shaltens, R. K.; Mason, L. S.; Schreiber, J. G.

    2001-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are developing a free-piston Stirling convertor for a Stirling Radioisotope Power System (SRPS) to provide on-board electric power for future NASA deep space missions. The SRPS currently being developed provides about 100 watts and reduces the amount of radioisotope fuel by a factor of four over conventional Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG). The present SRPS design has a specific power of approximately 4 W/kg which is comparable to an RTG. GRC estimates for advanced versions of the SRPS with improved heat source integration, lightweight Stirling convertors, composite radiators, and chip-packaged controllers improves the specific mass to about 8 W/kg. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  3. Thermal Model Predictions of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Xiao-Yen J.; Fabanich, William Anthony; Schmitz, Paul C.

    2014-01-01

    This paper presents recent thermal model results of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG). The three-dimensional (3D) ASRG thermal power model was built using the Thermal Desktop(trademark) thermal analyzer. The model was correlated with ASRG engineering unit test data and ASRG flight unit predictions from Lockheed Martin's (LM's) I-deas(trademark) TMG thermal model. The auxiliary cooling system (ACS) of the ASRG is also included in the ASRG thermal model. The ACS is designed to remove waste heat from the ASRG so that it can be used to heat spacecraft components. The performance of the ACS is reported under nominal conditions and during a Venus flyby scenario. The results for the nominal case are validated with data from Lockheed Martin. Transient thermal analysis results of ASRG for a Venus flyby with a representative trajectory are also presented. In addition, model results of an ASRG mounted on a Cassini-like spacecraft with a sunshade are presented to show a way to mitigate the high temperatures of a Venus flyby. It was predicted that the sunshade can lower the temperature of the ASRG alternator by 20 C for the representative Venus flyby trajectory. The 3D model also was modified to predict generator performance after a single Advanced Stirling Convertor failure. The geometry of the Microtherm HT insulation block on the outboard side was modified to match deformation and shrinkage observed during testing of a prototypic ASRG test fixture by LM. Test conditions and test data were used to correlate the model by adjusting the thermal conductivity of the deformed insulation to match the post-heat-dump steady state temperatures. Results for these conditions showed that the performance of the still-functioning inboard ACS was unaffected.

  4. Feasibility Study of a Nuclear-Stirling Power Plant for the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

    SciTech Connect

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Penswick, L. Barry

    2005-02-06

    NASA is undertaking the design of a new spacecraft to explore the planet Jupiter and its three moons Calisto, Ganymede and Europa. This proposed mission, known as Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) would use a nuclear reactor and an associated electrical generation system (Reactor Power Plant - RPP) to provide power to the spacecraft. The JIMO spacecraft is envisioned to use this power for science and communications as well as Electric Propulsion (EP). Among other potential power-generating concepts, previous studies have considered Thermoelectric and Brayton power conversion systems, coupled to a liquid metal reactor for the JIMO mission. This paper will explore trades in system mass and radiator area for a nuclear reactor power conversion system, however this study will focus on Stirling power conversion. Stirling convertors have a long heritage operating in both power generation and the cooler industry, and are currently in use in a wide variety of applications. The Stirling convertor modeled in this study is based upon the Component Test Power Convertor design that was designed and operated successfully under the Civil Space Technology Initiative for use with the SP-100 nuclear reactor in the 1980's and early 1990's. The baseline RPP considered in this study consists of four dual-opposed Stirling convertors connected to the reactor by a liquid lithium loop. The study design is such that two of the four convertors would operate at any time to generate the 100 kWe while the others are held in reserve. For this study the Stirling convertors hot-side temperature is 1050 K, would operate at a temperature ratio of 2.4 for a minimum mass system and would have a system efficiency of 29%. The Stirling convertor would generate high voltage (400 volt), 100 Hz single phase AC that is supplied to the Power Management and Distribution system. The waste heat is removed from the Stirling convertors by a flowing liquid sodium-potassium eutectic and then rejected by a shared

  5. Feasibility Study of a Nuclear-Stirling Power Plant for the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Penswick, L. Barry

    2005-02-01

    NASA is undertaking the design of a new spacecraft to explore the planet Jupiter and its three moons Calisto, Ganymede and Europa. This proposed mission, known as Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) would use a nuclear reactor and an associated electrical generation system (Reactor Power Plant - RPP) to provide power to the spacecraft. The JIMO spacecraft is envisioned to use this power for science and communications as well as Electric Propulsion (EP). Among other potential power-generating concepts, previous studies have considered Thermoelectric and Brayton power conversion systems, coupled to a liquid metal reactor for the JIMO mission. This paper will explore trades in system mass and radiator area for a nuclear reactor power conversion system, however this study will focus on Stirling power conversion. Stirling convertors have a long heritage operating in both power generation and the cooler industry, and are currently in use in a wide variety of applications. The Stirling convertor modeled in this study is based upon the Component Test Power Convertor design that was designed and operated successfully under the Civil Space Technology Initiative for use with the SP-100 nuclear reactor in the 1980's and early 1990's. The baseline RPP considered in this study consists of four dual-opposed Stirling convertors connected to the reactor by a liquid lithium loop. The study design is such that two of the four convertors would operate at any time to generate the 100 kWe while the others are held in reserve. For this study the Stirling convertors hot-side temperature is 1050 K, would operate at a temperature ratio of 2.4 for a minimum mass system and would have a system efficiency of 29%. The Stirling convertor would generate high voltage (400 volt), 100 Hz single phase AC that is supplied to the Power Management and Distribution system. The waste heat is removed from the Stirling convertors by a flowing liquid sodium-potassium eutectic and then rejected by a shared

  6. Summary of Stirling Convertor Testing at NASA Glenn Research Center in Support of Stirling Radioisotope Power System Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schifer, Nicholas A.; Oriti, Salvatore M.

    2013-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) has been testing 100 We class, free-piston Stirling convertors for potential use in Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) for space science and exploration missions. Free-piston Stirling convertors are capable of achieving a 38% conversion efficiency, making Stirling attractive for meeting future power system needs in light of the shrinking U.S. plutonium fuel supply. Convertors currently on test include four Stirling Technology Demonstration Convertors (TDCs), manufactured by the Stirling Technology Company (STC), and six Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs), manufactured by Sunpower, Inc. Total hours of operation is greater than 514,000 hours (59 years). Several tests have been initiated to demonstrate the functionality of Stirling convertors for space applications, including: in-air extended operation, thermal vacuum extended operation. Other tests have also been conducted to characterize Stirling performance in anticipated mission scenarios. Data collected during testing has been used to support life and reliability estimates, drive design changes and improve quality, and plan for expected mission scenarios. This paper will provide a summary of convertors tested at NASA GRC and discuss lessons learned through extended testing.

  7. External Magnetic Field Reduction Techniques for the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Niedra, Janis M.; Geng, Steven M.

    2013-01-01

    Linear alternators coupled to high efficiency Stirling engines are strong candidates for thermal-to-electric power conversion in space. However, the magnetic field emissions, both AC and DC, of these permanent magnet excited alternators can interfere with sensitive instrumentation onboard a spacecraft. Effective methods to mitigate the AC and DC electromagnetic interference (EMI) from solenoidal type linear alternators (like that used in the Advanced Stirling Convertor) have been developed for potential use in the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator. The methods developed avoid the complexity and extra mass inherent in data extraction from multiple sensors or the use of shielding. This paper discusses these methods, and also provides experimental data obtained during breadboard testing of both AC and DC external magnetic field devices.

  8. The Base Engine for Solar Stirling Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meijer, R. J.; Godett, T. M.

    1984-01-01

    A new concept in Stirling engine technology is embodied in the base engine now being developed at Stirling Thermal Motors, Inc. This is a versatile energy conversion unit suitable for many different applications and heat sources. The base engine, rated 40 kW at 2800 RPM, is a four-cylinder, double-acting variable displacement Stirling engine with pressurized crankcase and rotating shaft seal. Remote-heating technology is incorporated with a stacked-heat-exchanger configuration and a liquid metal heat pipe connected to a distinctly separate combustor or other heat source. High efficiency over a wide range of operating conditions, long life, low manufacturing cost and low material cost are specifically emphasized. The base engine, its design philosophy and approach, its projected performance, and some of its more attractive applications are described.

  9. Base engine for solar Stirling power

    SciTech Connect

    Meijer, R.J.; Godett, T.M.

    1984-03-01

    A new concept in Stirling engine technology is embodied in the base engine now being developed at Stirling Thermal Motors, Inc. This is a versatile energy conversion unit suitable for many different applications and heat sources. The base engine, rated 40 kW at 2800 RPM, is a four-cylinder, double-acting variable displacement Stirling engine with pressurized crankcase and rotating shaft seal. Remote-heating technology is incorporated with a stacked-heat-exchanger configuration and a liquid metal heat pipe connected to a distinctly separate combustor or other heat source. High efficiency over a wide range of operating conditions, long life, low manufacturing cost and low material cost are specifically emphasized. The base engine, its design philosophy and approach, its projected performance, and some of its more attractive applications are described.

  10. Testing to Characterize the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward; Schreiber, Jeffrey

    2010-01-01

    The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), a high efficiency generator, is being considered for space missions. Lockheed Martin designed and fabricated an engineering unit (EU), the ASRG EU, under contract to the Department of Energy. This unit is currently undergoing extended operation testing at the NASA Glenn Research Center to generate performance data and validate life and reliability predictions for the generator and the Stirling convertors. It has also undergone performance tests to characterize generator operation while varying control parameters and system inputs. This paper summarizes and explains test results in the context of designing operating strategies for the generator during a space mission and notes expected differences between the EU performance and future generators.

  11. Design of a Facility to Test the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Oriti, Salvatore M.; Meer, David W.; Brace, Michael H.; Dugala, Gina

    2009-01-01

    The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is being considered to power deep space missions. An engineering unit, the ASRG-EU, was designed and fabricated by Lockheed Martin under contract to the Department of Energy. This unit is currently on an extended operation test at NASA Glenn Research Center to generate performance data and validate the life and reliability predictions for the generator and the Stirling convertors. A special test facility was designed and built for testing the ASRG-EU. Details of the test facility design are discussed. The facility can operate the convertors under AC bus control or with the ASRG-EU controller. It can regulate input thermal power in either a fixed temperature or fixed power mode. An enclosure circulates cooled air around the ASRG-EU to remove heat rejected from the ASRG-EU by convection. A custom monitoring and data acquisition system supports the test. Various safety features, which allow 2417 unattended operation, are discussed.

  12. Stirling space power demonstrator engine test/analytical comparison

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dochat, George R.

    The U.S. Government is evaluating power requirements for future space applications. As power requirements increase, solar or nuclear dynamic systems become increasingly attractive. Free Piston Stirling Engines (FPSE) have the potential to provide high reliability, long life, and efficient operation at reasonable hot-side temperatures. Therefore, they are excellent candidates for the dynamic power conversion module of a space-based, power-generating system. FPSEs are at an early stage of technological development; however, they are recognized as a potential backup and/or growth version within the SP-100 program, which is developing a space power system utilizing a liquid metal nuclear reactor as a heat source and thermoelectric cells for power generation. As part of the SP-100 technology assessment program and the continuing NASA advanced technology development program, Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) was awarded a contract (managed by NASA/Lewis Research Center) to design, fabricate, test, and demonstrate a 25-kW e Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE). Full pressure testing of the SPDE was initiated in November 1985. Initial test results indicated that the SPDE was significantly down in power compared to analytical predictions at the design pressure. The first three months of 1986 were spent performing an extensive diagnostic test series to identify and correct the cause of the power discrepancy. The diagnostic test phase has been completed successfully with a resolution of the SPDE power discrepancy. This paper briefly reviews the SPDE design and presents the experimental results generated to date compared with analytical predictions.

  13. The Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Design Challenge for Scientific Spacecraft Powered by a Stirling Power Converter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sargent, Noel B.

    2001-01-01

    A 55 We free-piston Stirling Technology Demonstration Convertor (TDC) has been tested as part of an evaluation to determine its feasibility as a means for significantly reducing the amount of radioactive material required compared to Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) to support long-term space science missions. Measurements were made to quantify the low frequency magnetic and electric fields radiated from the Stirling's 80 Hertz (Hz) linear alternator and control electronics in order to determine the magnitude of reduction that will be required to protect sensitive field sensors aboard some science missions. One identified "Solar Probe" mission requires a 100 dB reduction in the low frequency magnetic field over typical military standard design limits, to protect its plasma wave sensor. This paper discusses the electromagnetic interference (EMI) control options relative to the physical design impacts for this power system, composed of 3 basic electrical elements. They are (1) the Stirling Power Convertor with its linear alternator, (2) the power switching and control electronics to convert the 90 V, 80 Hz alternator output to DC for the use of the spacecraft, and (3) the interconnecting wiring including any instrumentation to monitor and control items 1 and 2.

  14. Supporting Technology at GRC to Mitigate Risk as Stirling Power Conversion Transitions to Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.; Wong, Wayne A.

    2008-01-01

    Stirling power conversion technology has been reaching more advanced levels of maturity during its development for space power applications. The current effort is in support of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), which is being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC), Sunpower Inc., and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). This generator would use two high-efficiency Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) to convert thermal energy from a radioisotope heat source into electricity. Of paramount importance is the reliability of the power system and as a part of this, the Stirling power convertors. GRC has established a supporting technology effort with tasks in the areas of reliability, convertor testing, high-temperature materials, structures, advanced analysis, organics, and permanent magnets. The project utilizes the matrix system at GRC to make use of resident experts in each of the aforementioned fields. Each task is intended to reduce risk and enhance reliability of the convertor as this technology transitions toward flight status. This paper will provide an overview of each task, outline the recent efforts and accomplishments, and show how they mitigate risk and impact the reliability of the ASC s and ultimately, the ASRG.

  15. Supporting Technology at GRC to Mitigate Risk as Stirling Power Conversion Transitions to Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.; Wong, Wayne A.

    2009-01-01

    Stirling power conversion technology has been reaching more advanced levels of maturity during its development for space power applications. The current effort is in support of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), which is being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC), Sunpower Inc., and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC). This generator would use two high-efficiency Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) to convert thermal energy from a radioisotope heat source into electricity. Of paramount importance is the reliability of the power system and as a part of this, the Stirling power convertors. GRC has established a supporting technology effort with tasks in the areas of reliability, convertor testing, high-temperature materials, structures, advanced analysis, organics, and permanent magnets. The project utilizes the matrix system at GRC to make use of resident experts in each of the aforementioned fields. Each task is intended to reduce risk and enhance reliability of the convertor as this technology transitions toward flight status. This paper will provide an overview of each task, outline the recent efforts and accomplishments, and show how they mitigate risk and impact the reliability of the ASC s and ultimately, the ASRG.

  16. Assessment Of The Stirling Power Option for Space Science Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2000-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling technology efforts in the past typically were intended to address power needs in the multi-kilowatt range. The Stirling power option was attractive primarily because of the high conversion efficiency and potential for long life. In recent years, several technology efforts have focused on the free-piston Stirling power d convertor for space power applications, however the more recent efforts are intended to provide power at levels far below one kilowatt. Through a variety of projects funded by both NASA and DOE, the free-piston Stirling convertor technology has successfully demonstrated high efficiency and long life. Other areas of concern, such as control of multi-convertor systems, and vibration reduction have also been addressed. Efforts are being initiated to address issues such as electro-magnetic interference (EMI), radiation tolerance of organic materials, and the ability to operate through launch loads and survive with integrity. The status of the technology in these areas will be briefly discussed in this paper.

  17. Status of NASA's Stirling Space Power Converter Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dudenhoefer, James E.; Winter, Jerry M.

    An overview is presented of the NASA-Lewis Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Convertor Technology Program. The goal is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space initiatives. Efforts are focused upon increasing system power output and system thermal and electric energy conversion efficiency at least fivefold over current SP-100 technology, and on achieving systems that are compatible with space nuclear reactors. Stirling experience in space and progress toward 1050 and 1300 K Stirling Space Power Converters is discussed. Fabrication is nearly completed for the 1050 K Component Test Power Converters (CTPC); results of motoring tests of cold end (525 K), are presented. The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, bearings, superalloy joining technologies, high efficiency alternators, life and reliability testing and predictive methodologies. An update is provided of progress in some of these technologies leading off with a discussion of free-piston Stirling experience in space.

  18. Status of NASA's Stirling Space Power Converter Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dudenhoefer, James E.; Winter, Jerry M.

    1991-01-01

    An overview is presented of the NASA-Lewis Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Convertor Technology Program. The goal is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space initiatives. Efforts are focused upon increasing system power output and system thermal and electric energy conversion efficiency at least fivefold over current SP-100 technology, and on achieving systems that are compatible with space nuclear reactors. Stirling experience in space and progress toward 1050 and 1300 K Stirling Space Power Converters is discussed. Fabrication is nearly completed for the 1050 K Component Test Power Converters (CTPC); results of motoring tests of cold end (525 K), are presented. The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, bearings, superalloy joining technologies, high efficiency alternators, life and reliability testing and predictive methodologies. An update is provided of progress in some of these technologies leading off with a discussion of free-piston Stirling experience in space.

  19. Phase 1 results from the Stirling-powered vehicle project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaltens, Richard K.

    1988-01-01

    The NASA Technology Utilization (TU) Office is sponsoring a multiyear, multiphase demonstration program to assess the technology developed under the DOE/NASA automotive Stirling engine (ASE) program with engines installed in various Air Force vehicles while being evaluated by independent third parties under realistic conditions. This paper reviews the operational history of Phase 1 with a Mod 1 Stirling engine installed in an Air Force multistop van in a variety of missions. Ten months of operation were with Air Force personnel at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where over 1100 hr and 4000 mi were logged on the Langley flight line. The Stirling-powered van operated on unleaded gasoline, JP-4 aircraft fuel, and diesel fuel at Langley Air Force Base. Two months of operation were completed with Deere and Company personnel in the Moline, Illinois area where over 175 hr and 2650 mi were logged on a Deere mail delivery route.

  20. Technology Development for a Stirling Radioisotope Power System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Qiu, Songgang; White, Maurice A.

    2000-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center and the Department of Energy are developing a Stirling convertor for an advanced radioisotope power system to provide spacecraft on-board electric power for NASA deep space missions. NASA Glenn is addressing key technology issues through the use of two NASA Phase II SBIRs with Stirling Technology Company (STC) of Kennewick, WA. Under the first SBIR, STC demonstrated a synchronous connection of two thermodynamically independent free-piston Stirling convertors and a 40 to 50 fold reduction in vibrations compared to an unbalanced convertor. The second SBIR is for the development of an Adaptive Vibration Reduction System (AVRS) that will essentially eliminate vibrations over the mission lifetime, even in the unlikely event of a failed convertor. This paper presents the status and results for these two SBIR projects and also discusses a new NASA Glenn in-house project to provide supporting technology for the overall Stirling radioisotope power system development. Tasks for this new effort include convertor performance verification, controls development, heater head structural life assessment, magnet characterization and thermal aging tests, FEA analysis for a lightweight alternator concept, and demonstration of convertor operation under launch and orbit transfer load conditions.

  1. Control scheme for power modulation of a free piston Stirling engine

    DOEpatents

    Dhar, Manmohan

    1989-01-01

    The present invention relates to a control scheme for power modulation of a free-piston Stirling engine-linear alternator power generator system. The present invention includes connecting an autotransformer in series with a tuning capacitance between a linear alternator and a utility grid to maintain a constant displacement to piston stroke ratio and their relative phase angle over a wide range of operating conditions.

  2. Small Stirling dynamic isotope power system for multihundred-watt robotic missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, David J.

    1991-01-01

    Free Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) and linear alternator (LA) technology is combined with radioisotope heat sources to produce a compact dynamic isotope power system (DIPS) suitable for multihundred watt space application which appears competitive with advance radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). The small Stirling DIPS is scalable to multihundred watt power levels or lower. The FPSE/LA is a high efficiency convertor in sizes ranging from tens of kilowatts down to only a few watts. At multihundred watt unit size, the FPSE can be directly integrated with the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) via radiative coupling; the resulting dynamic isotope power system has a size and weight that compares favorably with the advanced modular (Mod) RTG, but requires less than a third the amount of isotope fuel. Thus the FPSE extends the high efficiency advantage of dynamic systems into a power range never previously considered competitive for DIPS. This results in lower fuel cost and reduced radiological hazard per delivered electrical watt.

  3. Small Stirling dynamic isotope power system for multihundred-watt robotic missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, David J.

    1991-01-01

    Free piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) and linear alternator (LA) technology is combined with radioisotope heat sources to produce a compact dynamic isotope power system (DIPS) suitable for multihundred watt space application which appears competitive with advanced radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). The small Stirling DIPS is scalable to multihundred watt power levels or lower. The FPSE/LA is a high efficiency convertor in sizes ranging from tens of kilowatts down to only a few watts. At multihundred watt unit size, the FPSE can be directly integrated with the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) via radiative coupling; the resulting dynamic isotope power system has a size and weight that compares favorably with the advanced modular (Mod) RTG, but requires less than a third the amount of isotope fuel. Thus the FPSE extends the high efficiency advantage of dynamic systems into a power range never previously considered competitive for DIPS. This results in lower fuel cost and reduced radiological hazard per delivered electrical watt.

  4. Small Stirling dynamic isotope power system for multihundred-watt robotic missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bents, David J.

    Free Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) and linear alternator (LA) technology is combined with radioisotope heat sources to produce a compact dynamic isotope power system (DIPS) suitable for multihundred watt space application which appears competitive with advance radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). The small Stirling DIPS is scalable to multihundred watt power levels or lower. The FPSE/LA is a high efficiency convertor in sizes ranging from tens of kilowatts down to only a few watts. At multihundred watt unit size, the FPSE can be directly integrated with the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) via radiative coupling; the resulting dynamic isotope power system has a size and weight that compares favorably with the advanced modular (Mod) RTG, but requires less than a third the amount of isotope fuel. Thus the FPSE extends the high efficiency advantage of dynamic systems into a power range never previously considered competitive for DIPS. This results in lower fuel cost and reduced radiological hazard per delivered electrical watt.

  5. Sodium heat pipe use in solar Stirling power conversion systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimmerman, W. F.; Divakaruni, S. M.; Won, Y. S.

    1980-01-01

    Sodium heat pipes were selected for use as a thermal transport method in a focus-mounted, distributed concentrator solar Stirling power conversion system intended to produce 15-20 kWe per unit. Heat pipes were used both to receive thermal power in the solar receiver and to transmit it to a secondary heat pipe containing both latent heat salt (for up to 1.25 hours of thermal storage) and the heat exchanger of the Stirling engine. Experimental tests were performed on five solar receiver heat pipes with various internal wicking configurations. The performance of the heat pipes at various power levels and operating attitudes was investigated at temperatures near 1550 F; the unidirectional heat transfer in these heat pipes was demonstrated in normal operating attitudes and particularly in the inverted position required during overnight stowage of the concentrator.

  6. Parametric Study of Radiator Concepts for a Stirling Radioisotope Power System Applicable to Deep Space Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Juhasz, Albert J.; Tew, Roy C.; Thieme, Lanny G.

    2000-01-01

    The Department of Energy (DOE) and the NASA Glenn Research Center are developing a Stirling converter for an advanced radioisotope power system to provide spacecraft onboard electric power for NASA deep space missions. This high-efficiency converter is being evaluated as an alternative to replace the much lower efficiency radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). The current power requirement (six years after beginning of mission (BOM) for a mission to Jupiter) is 210 W(sub e) (watts electric) to be generated by two separate power systems, one on each side of the spacecraft. Both two-converter and four-converter system designs are being considered, depending on the amount of required redundancy.

  7. Kinematic Stirling engine as an energy conversion subsystem for paraboloidal dish solar thermal power plants

    SciTech Connect

    Bowyer, J.M.

    1984-04-15

    The potential of a suitably designed and economically manufactured Stirling engine as the energy conversion subsystem of a paraboloidal dish-Stirling solar thermal power module has been estimated. Results obtained by elementary cycle analyses have been shown to match quite well the performance characteristics of an advanced kinematic Stirling engine, the United Stirling P-40, as established by current prototypes of the engine and by a more sophisticated analytic model of its advanced derivative. In addition to performance, brief consideration has been given to other Stirling engine criteria such as durability, reliability, and serviceability. Production costs have not been considered here.

  8. System-Level Testing of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Hardware

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chan, Jack; Wiser, Jack; Brown, Greg; Florin, Dominic; Oriti, Salvatore M.

    2014-01-01

    To support future NASA deep space missions, a radioisotope power system utilizing Stirling power conversion technology was under development. This development effort was performed under the joint sponsorship of the Department of Energy and NASA, until its termination at the end of 2013 due to budget constraints. The higher conversion efficiency of the Stirling cycle compared with that of the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in previous missions (Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, Pluto New Horizons and Mars Science Laboratory) offers the advantage of a four-fold reduction in Pu-238 fuel, thereby extending its limited domestic supply. As part of closeout activities, system-level testing of flight-like Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) with a flight-like ASC Controller Unit (ACU) was performed in February 2014. This hardware is the most representative of the flight design tested to date. The test fully demonstrates the following ACU and system functionality: system startup; ASC control and operation at nominal and worst-case operating conditions; power rectification; DC output power management throughout nominal and out-of-range host voltage levels; ACU fault management, and system command / telemetry via MIL-STD 1553 bus. This testing shows the viability of such a system for future deep space missions and bolsters confidence in the maturity of the flight design.

  9. Free-piston Stirling Engine system considerations for various space power applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dochat, George R.; Dhar, Manmohan

    1991-01-01

    Free-Piston Stirling Engines (FPSE) have the potential to provide high reliability, long life, and efficient operation. Therefore, they are excellent candidates for the dynamic power conversion module of a space-based, power-generating system. FPSE can be coupled with many potential heat sources (radioisotope, solar, or nuclear reactor), various heat input systems (pumped loop, heat pipe), heat rejection (pumped loop or heat pipe), and various power management and distribution systems (ac, dc, high or low voltage, and fixed or variable load). This paper reviews potential space missions that can be met using free-piston Stirling engines and discusses options of various system integration approaches. This paper briefly outlines the program and recent progress.

  10. Long-Term Durability Analysis of a 100,000+ Hr Stirling Power Convertor Heater Head

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bartolotta, Paul A.; Bowman, Randy R.; Krause, David L.; Halford, Gary R.

    2000-01-01

    DOE and NASA have identified Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems (SRPS) as the power supply for deep space exploration missions the Europa Orbiter and Solar Probe. As a part of this effort, NASA has initiated a long-term durability project for critical hot section components of the Stirling power convertor to qualify flight hardware. This project will develop a life prediction methodology that utilizes short-term (t < 20,000 hr) test data to verify long-term (t > 100,000 hr) design life. The project consists of generating a materials database for the specific heat of alloy, evaluation of critical hermetic sealed joints, life model characterization, and model verification. This paper will describe the qualification methodology being developed and provide a status for this effort.

  11. Effect of Inert Cover Gas on Performance of Radioisotope Stirling Space Power System

    SciTech Connect

    Carpenter, Robert; Kumar, V; Ore, C; Schock, Alfred

    2001-01-01

    This paper describes an updated Orbital design of a radioisotope Stirling power system and its predicted performance at the beginning and end of a six-year mission to the Jovian moon Europa. The design is based on General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules identical to those previously developed and safety-qualified by the Department of Energy (DOE) which were successfully launched to Jupiter and Saturn by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In each generator, the heat produced by the decay of the Pu-238 isotope is converted to electric power by two free-piston Stirling engines and linear alternators developed by Stirling Technology Company (STC), and their rejected waste heat is transported to radiators by heat pipes. The principal difference between the proposed system design and previous Orbital designs (Or et al. 2000) is the thermal insulation between the heat source and the generator's housing. Previous designs had employed multifoil insulation, whereas the design described here employs Min-K-1800 thermal insulation. Such insulation had been successfully used by Teledyne and GE in earlier RTGs (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators). Although Min-K is a much poorer insulator than multifoil in vacuum and requires a substantially greater thickness for equivalent performance, it offers compensating advantages. Specifically it makes it possible to adjust the generator's BOM temperatures by filling its interior volume with inert cover gas. This makes it possible to meet the generator's BOM and EOM performance goals without exceeding its allowable temperature at the beginning of the mission.

  12. Effect of inert cover gas on performance of radioisotope Stirling space power system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carpenter, R.; Kumar, V.; Or, C.; Schock, A.

    2001-02-01

    This paper describes an updated Orbital design of a radioisotope Stirling power system and its predicted performance at the beginning and end of a six-year mission to the Jovian moon Europa. The design is based on General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules identical to those previously developed and safety-qualified by the Department of Energy (DOE) which were successfully launched on missions to Jupiter and Saturn by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In each generator, the heat produced by the decay of the Pu-238 isotope is converted to electric power by two free-piston Stirling engines and linear alternators developed by Stirling Technology Company (STC), and their rejected waste heat is transported to radiators by heat pipes. The principal difference between the proposed system design and previous Orbital designs (Or et al., 2000) is the thermal insulation between the heat source and the generator's housing. Previous designs had employed multifoil insulation, whereas the design described here employs Min-K-1800 thermal insulation. Such insulation had been successfully used by Teledyne and GE in earlier RTGs (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators). Although Min-K is a much poorer insulator than multifoil in vacuum and requires a substantially greater thickness for equivalent performance, it offers compensating advantages. Specifically it makes it possible to adjust the generator's BOM temperatures by filling its interior volume with inert cover gas. This makes it possible to meet the generator's BOM and EOM performance goals without exceeding its allowable temperature at the beginning of the mission. .

  13. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range. Volume 2: Program plan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuetz, M.; Gerstmann, J.; Hoagland, L.

    1980-09-01

    A plan for implementing the proposed state-of-the-art design was developed. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate a large coal-fired Stirling engine and thus shorten the lead time to commercialization. The program plan is based on the U-4 engine concept fired by a fluidized bed combustor with a two-stage gravity-assisted heat pipe.

  14. Free-piston Stirling engine system considerations for various space power applications

    SciTech Connect

    Dochat, G.R.; Dhar, M. )

    1991-01-05

    The U.S. Government is evaluating power requirements for future space applications. As power requirements increase solar or nuclear dynamic systems become increasingly attractive. Free-Piston Stirling Engines (FPSE) have the potential to provide high reliability, long life, and efficient operation. Therefore, they are excellent candidates for the dynamic power conversion module of a space-based, power-generating system. FPSE can be coupled with many potential heat sources (radioisotope, solar, or nuclear reactor), various heat input systems (pumped loop, heat pipe), heat rejection (pumped loop or heat pipe), and various power management and distribution systems (AC, DC, high or low voltage, and fixed or variable load). This paper will review potential space missions that can be met using free-piston Stirling engines and discusses options of various system integration approaches. Currently free-piston Stirling engine technology for space power applications is being developed under contract with NASA-Lewis Research Center. This paper will also briefly outline the program and recent progress.

  15. Thermal energy storage for the Stirling engine powered automobile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morgan, D. T. (Editor)

    1979-01-01

    A thermal energy storage (TES) system developed for use with the Stirling engine as an automotive power system has gravimetric and volumetric storage densities which are competitive with electric battery storage systems, meets all operational requirements for a practical vehicle, and can be packaged in compact sized automobiles with minimum impact on passenger and freight volume. The TES/Stirling system is the only storage approach for direct use of combustion heat from fuel sources not suitable for direct transport and use on the vehicle. The particular concept described is also useful for a dual mode TES/liquid fuel system in which the TES (recharged from an external energy source) is used for short duration trips (approximately 10 miles or less) and liquid fuel carried on board the vehicle used for long duration trips. The dual mode approach offers the potential of 50 percent savings in the consumption of premium liquid fuels for automotive propulsion in the United States.

  16. Design of small Stirling Dynamic Isotope Power System for robotic space missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bents, David J.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Withrow, Colleen A.; McKissock, Barbara I.; Schmitz, Paul C.

    1993-01-01

    Design of a multihundred-watt Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS) based on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) and small (multihundred-watt) free-piston Stirling engine (FPSE) technology is being pursued as a potential lower cost alternative to radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG's). The design is targeted at the power needs of future unmanned deep space and planetary surface exploration missions ranging from scientific probes to Space Exploration Initiative precursor missions. Power level for these missions is less than a kilowatt. Unlike previous DIPS designs which were based on turbomachinery conversion (e.g. Brayton), this small Stirling DIPS can be advantageously scaled down to multihundred-watt unit size while preserving size and mass competitiveness with RTGs. Preliminary characterization of units in the output power ranges 200-600 We indicate that on an electrical watt basis the GPHS/small Stirling DIPS will be roughly equivalent to an advanced RTG in size and mass but require less than a third of the isotope inventory.

  17. Design of small Stirling dynamic isotope power system for robotic space missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, D. J.; Schreiber, J. G.; Withrow, C. A.; Mckissock, B. I.; Schmitz, P. C.

    1992-01-01

    Design of a multihundred-watt Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS) based on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) and small (multihundred-watt) free-piston Stirling engine (FPSE) technology is being pursued as a potential lower cost alternative to radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG's). The design is targeted at the power needs of future unmanned deep space and planetary surface exploration missions ranging from scientific probes to Space Exploration Initiative precursor missions. Power level for these missions is less than a kilowatt. Unlike previous DIPS designs which were based on turbomachinery conversion (e.g. Brayton), this small Stirling DIPS can be advantageously scaled down to multihundred-watt unit size while preserving size and mass competitiveness with RTG's. Preliminary characterization of units in the output power ranges 200-600 We indicate that on an electrical watt basis the GPHS/small Stirling DIPS will be roughly equivalent to an advanced RTG in size and mass but require less than a third of the isotope inventory.

  18. Space Power Free-Piston Stirling Engine Scaling Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, D.

    1989-01-01

    The design feasibility study is documented of a single cylinder, free piston Stirling engine/linear alternator (FPSE/LA) power module generating 150 kW-electric (kW sub e), and the determination of the module's maximum feasible power level. The power module configuration was specified to be a single cylinder (single piston, single displacer) FPSE/LA, with tuning capacitors if required. The design requirements were as follows: (1) Maximum electrical power output; (2) Power module thermal efficiency equal to or greater than 20 percent at a specific mass of 5 to 8 kg/kW(sub e); (3) Heater wall temperature/cooler wall temperature = 1050 K/525 K; (4) Sodium heat-pipe heat transport system, pumped loop NaK (sodium-potassium eutectic mixture) rejection system; (5) Maximum power module vibration amplitude = 0.0038 cm; and (6) Design life = 7 years (60,000 hr). The results show that a single cylinder FPSE/LA is capable of meeting program goals and has attractive scaling attributes over the power range from 25 to 150 kW(sub e). Scaling beyond the 150 kW(sub e) power level, the power module efficiency falls and the power module specific mass reaches 10 kg/kW(sub e) at a power output of 500 kW(sub e). A discussion of scaling rules for the engine, alternator, and heat transport systems is presented, along with a detailed description of the conceptual design of a 150 kW(sub e) power module that meets the requirements. Included is a discussion of the design of a dynamic balance system. A parametric study of power module performance conducted over the power output range of 25 to 150 kW(sub e) for temperature ratios of 1.7, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 is presented and discussed. The results show that as the temperature ratio decreases, the efficiency falls and specific mass increases. At a temperature ratio of 1.7, the 150 kW(sub e) power module cannot satisfy both efficiency and specific mass goals. As the power level increases from 25 to 150 kW(sub e) at a fixed temperature ratio, power

  19. Palm Power Free-Piston Stirling Engine Control Electronics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keiter, Douglas E.; Holliday, Ezekiel

    2007-01-01

    A prototype 35We, JP-8 fueled, soldier-wearable power system for the DARPA Palm Power program has been developed and tested by Sunpower. A hermetically-sealed 42We Sunpower Free-Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) with integral linear alternator is the prime mover for this system. To maximize system efficiency over a broad range of output power, a non-dissipative, highly efficient electronic control system which modulates engine output power by varying piston stroke and converts the AC output voltage of the FPSE into 28Vdc for the Palm Power end user, has been designed and demonstrated as an integral component of the Palm Power system. This paper reviews the current status and progress made in developing the control electronics for the Palm Power system, in addition to describing the operation and demonstrated performance of the engine controller in the context of the current JP-8 fueled Palm Power system.

  20. Design and development of Stirling engines for stationary power generation applications in the 500 to 3000 horsepower range. Volume 2. Program plan

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available,

    1980-09-15

    A plan for implementing the proposed state-of-the-art design described in Volume I has been developed. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate a large coal-fired Stirling engine and thus shorten the lead time to commercialization. The demonstration engine will be based on the concepts developed in the first phase of this program, as detailed in Volume I of this report. Thus the proposed program plan is based on the U-4 engine concept fired by a fluidized bed combustor with a two-stage gravity-assisted heat pipe. The plan is divided into five phases and an ongoing supporting technology program. Phase I, Conceptual Design, has been completed. The remaining phases are: Preliminary Design; Final Design; Fabrication; and Testing and Demonstration. The primary target is to begin testing the large coal-fired engine by the fifth year (1985) after the start of Preliminary Design.

  1. Progress in High Power Free-Piston Stirling Convertor Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brandhorst, Henry W., Jr.; Kirby, Raymond L.; Chapman, Peter A.; Walter, Thomas J.

    2008-01-01

    The U.S. Space Exploration Policy has established a vision for human exploration of the moon and Mars. One option for power for future outposts on the lunar and Martian surfaces is a nuclear reactor coupled with a free-piston Stirling convertor at a power level of 30-40 kWe. A 25 kW convertor was developed in the 1990s under the SP-100 program. This system consisted of two 12.5 kWe engines connected at their hot ends and mounted in tandem to cancel vibration. Recently, NASA began a new project with Auburn University to develop a 5 kWe, single convertor for use in such a possible lunar power system. Goals of this development program include a specific power in excess of 140 We/kg at the convertor level, lifetime in excess of five years and a control system that will safely manage the convertors in case of an emergency. Foster-Miller, Inc. is developing the 5 kWe Stirling Convertor Assembly. The characteristics of the design along with progress in developing the system will be described.

  2. Stirling Module Development Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Livingston, F. R.

    1984-01-01

    The solar parabolic dish Stirling engine electrically generating module consists of a solar collector coupled to a Stirling engine powered electrical generator. The module is designed to convert solar power to electrical power in parallel with numerous identical units coupled to an electrical utility power grid. The power conversion assembly generates up to 25 kilowatts at 480 volts potential/3 phase/alternating current. Piston rings and seals with gas leakage have not occurred, however, operator failures resulted in two burnt out receivers, while material fatigue resulted in a broken piston rod between the piston rod seal and cap seal.

  3. Dynamics and control of Stirling engines in a 15 kWe solar electric generation concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Das, R. L.; Bahrami, K. A.

    1979-01-01

    This paper discusses the application of kinematic and free piston Stirling engines in a 15 kWe dish-electric approach for solar thermal electric generation. Initially, the principle of operation of Stirling engines in solar thermal electric generation is discussed. Then, under certain simplifying assumptions, mathematical models describing the dynamic operation of the kinematic and free piston Stirling engines are developed. It is found that the engine dynamics may be approximated by second order models. Control mechanisms for both types of Stirling engines are discussed. An approach based on the modulation of the working fluid mean pressure is presented. It is concluded that this approach offers a fast and effective means of control. The free piston Stirling engine, being a thermally driven mechanical oscillator, presents unique control requirements. These are discussed in this paper.

  4. A small-scale, thermoacoustic-Stirling electric generator for deep-space applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Backhaus, Scott; Petach, Michael; Tward, Emanuel

    2001-05-01

    Although thermoacoustic-Stirling hybrid engines (TASHE) have not been previously coupled to transducers to produce useful electric power, they have demonstrated high thermal-to-acoustic power conversion efficiencies. Electric generation is investigated by coupling a small TASHE to an electrodynamic linear alternator with an emphasis on satisfying NASA's need for a small, lightweight, efficient electric generator for deep-space missions. The combined goals of low mass and high efficiency require the TASHE to have the largest acoustic power output possible from a minimum enclosed volume, which imposes a relation between various impedances of the TASHE's lumped-element loop. The design of the TASHE and alternator used in this generator will be reviewed, performance data presented, and possible improvements discussed. [Work supported by NASA.

  5. Conceptual design of a solar electric advanced Stirling power system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, M. A.; Brown, A. T.

    1987-02-01

    The objective is to develop a high confidence conceptual design for a free-piston Stirling engine based system designed to deliver 25 kW of three-phase electric power to a utility grid when coupled to the 11 meter Test Bed Concentrator (TBC) at SNLA. Further objectives include a design life of 60,000 hours, minimum life cycle cost and dynamic balancing. The approach used to achieve these objectives is to utilize a hermetically sealed Stirling hydraulic concept based on technology developed to an advanced level during the past 19 years for an artificial heart power source. Such engines and critical metal bellows components have demonstrated operating times in the desired range. This approach provides full film hydraulic lubrication of all sliding parts, simple construction with conventional manufacturing tolerances, proven hydraulically coupled counterbalancing, and simple but effective power control to follow insolation variations. Other advantages include use of commercially available hydraulic motors and rotary alternators which can be placed on the ground to minimize suspended weight. The output from several engine/concentrator modules can be directed to one large motor/alternator for further cost savings. Three monthly progress reports for the same period, January 1 to January 31, 1987, are compiled within this document.

  6. A Dielectric Multilayer Filter for Combining Photovoltaics with a Stirling Engine for Improvement of the Efficiency of Solar Electricity Generation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shou, Chun-Hui; Luo, Zhong-Yang; Wang, Tao; Shen, Wei-Dong; Rosengarten, Gary; Wang, Cheng; Ni, Ming-Jiang; Cen, Ke-Fa

    2011-12-01

    In this Letter we outline a dielectric multilayer spectrally selective filter designed for solar energy applications. The optical performance of this 78-layer interference filter constructed by TiOx and SiO2 is presented. A hybrid system combining photovoltaic cells with a solar-powered Stirling engine using the designed filter is analyzed. The calculated results show the advantages of this spectrally selective method for solar power generation.

  7. Preliminary test results from a free-piston Stirling engine technology demonstration program to support advanced radioisotope space power applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, Maurice A.; Qiu, Songgang; Augenblick, Jack E.

    2000-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling engines offer a relatively mature, proven, long-life technology that is well-suited for advanced, high-efficiency radioisotope space power systems. Contracts from DOE and NASA are being conducted by Stirling Technology Company (STC) for the purpose of demonstrating the Stirling technology in a configuration and power level that is representative of an eventual space power system. The long-term objective is to develop a power system with an efficiency exceeding 20% that can function with a high degree of reliability for up to 15 years on deep space missions. The current technology demonstration convertors (TDC's) are completing shakedown testing and have recently demonstrated performance levels that are virtually identical to projections made during the preliminary design phase. This paper describes preliminary test results for power output, efficiency, and vibration levels. These early results demonstrate the ability of the free-piston Stirling technology to exceed objectives by approximately quadrupling the efficiency of conventional radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG's). .

  8. Final Results for the GRC Supporting Technology Development Project for the 110-Watt Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.

    2007-01-01

    From 1999-2006, the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) supported the development of a high-efficiency, nominal 110-We Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for potential use on NASA missions, including deep space missions, Mars rovers, and lunar applications. Lockheed Martin (LM) was the system integrator for the SRG110, under contract to the Department of Energy (DOE). Infinia Corporation (formerly Stirling Technology Company) developed the Stirling convertor, first as a contractor to DOE and then under subcontract to LM. The SRG110 development has been redirected, and recent program changes have been made to significantly increase the specific power of the generator. System development of an Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) has now begun, using a lightweight, advanced convertor from Sunpower, Inc. This paper summarizes the results of the supporting technology effort that GRC completed for the SRG110. GRC tasks included convertor extended-duration testing in air and thermal vacuum environments, heater head life assessment, materials studies, permanent magnet aging characterization, linear alternator evaluations, structural dynamics testing, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) characterization, organic materials evaluations, reliability studies, and development of an end-to-end system dynamic model. Related efforts are now continuing in many of these areas to support ASRG development.

  9. Final Results for the GRC Supporting Technology Development Project for the 110-Watt Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.

    2007-01-01

    From 1999-2006, the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) supported the development of a high-efficiency, nominal 110-We Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for potential use on NASA missions, including deep space missions. Mars rovers, and lunar applications. Lockheed Martin (LM) was the system integrator for the SRG110, under contact to the Department of Energy (DOE). Infinia Corporation (formerly Stirling Technology Company) developed the Stirling converter. First as a contractor to DOE and then under subcontract to LM. The SRG110 development has been redirected, and recent program changes have been made to significantly increase the specific power of the generator. System development of an Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) has now begun, using a lightweight, advanced converter from Sunpower, Inc. This paper summarizes the results of the supporting technology effort that GRC completed for the SRG110. GRC tasks included converter extended-duration testing in air and thermal vacuum environments, heater head life assessment, materials studies, permanent magnet aging characterization, linear alternator evaluations, structural dynamics testing, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) characterization, organic materials evaluations, reliability studies, and development of an end-to-end system dynamic model. Related efforts are now continuing in many of these areas to support ASRG development.

  10. Final Results for the GRC Supporting Technology Development Project for the 110-Watt Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Thieme, Lanny G.

    2007-01-01

    From 1999 to 2006, the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) supported the development of a high-efficiency, nominal 110-We Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for potential use on NASA missions, including deep space missions, Mars rovers, and lunar applications. Lockheed Martin (LM) was the system integrator for the SRG110, under contract to the Department of Energy (DOE). Infinia Corporation (formerly Stirling Technology Company) developed the Stirling convertor, first as a contractor to DOE and then under subcontract to LM. The SRG110 development has been redirected, and recent program changes have been made to significantly increase the specific power of the generator. System development of an Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) has now begun, using a lightweight, advanced convertor from Sunpower, Inc. This paper summarizes the results of the supporting technology effort that GRC completed for the SRG110. GRC tasks included convertor extended-duration testing in air and thermal vacuum environments, heater head life assessment, materials studies, permanent magnet aging characterization, linear alternator evaluations, structural dynamics testing, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) characterization, organic materials evaluations, reliability studies, and development of an end-to-end system dynamic model. Related efforts are now continuing in many of these areas to support ASRG development.

  11. Developmental Considerations on the Free-piston Stirling Power Convertor for Use in Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2007-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling power conversion has been considered a candidate for radioisotope power systems for space for more than a decade. Prior to the free-piston Stirling architecture, systems were designed with kinematic Stirling engines with rotary alternators to convert heat to electricity. These systems were proposed with lightly loaded linkages to achieve the necessary life. When the free-piston configuration was initially proposed, it was thought to be attractive due to the relatively high conversion efficiency, acceptable mass, and the potential for long life and high reliability. These features have consistently been recognized by teams that have studied technology options for radioisotope power systems. Since free-piston Stirling power conversion was first considered for space power applications, there have been major advances in three general areas of development: demonstration of life and reliability, the success achieved by Stirling cryocoolers in flight, and the overall developmental maturity of the technology for both flight and terrestrial applications. Based on these advances, free-piston Stirling convertors are currently being developed for a number of terrestrial applications. They commonly operate with the power, efficiency, life, and reliability as intended, and much of the development now centers on system integration. This paper will summarize the accomplishments of free-piston Stirling power conversion technology over the past decade, review the status, and discuss the challenges that remain.

  12. Developmental Considerations on the Free-Piston Stirling Power Convertor for Use in Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2006-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling power conversion has been considered a candidate for radioisotope power systems for space for more than a decade. Prior to the free-piston Stirling architecture, systems were designed with kinematic Stirling engines with rotary alternators to convert heat to electricity. These systems were proposed with lightly loaded linkages to achieve the necessary life. When the free-piston configuration was initially proposed, it was thought to be attractive due to the relatively high conversion efficiency, acceptable mass, and the potential for long life and high reliability. These features have consistently been recognized by teams that have studied technology options for radioisotope power systems. Since free-piston Stirling power conversion was first considered for space power applications, there have been major advances in three general areas of development: demonstration of life and reliability, the success achieved by Stirling cryocoolers in flight, and the overall developmental maturity of the technology for both flight and terrestrial applications. Based on these advances, free-piston Stirling convertors are currently being developed for a number of terrestrial applications. They commonly operate with the power, efficiency, life, and reliability as intended, and much of the development now centers on system integration. This paper will summarize the accomplishments of free-piston Stirling power conversion technology over the past decade, review the status, and discuss the challenges that remain.

  13. A Historical Review of Brayton and Stirling Power Conversion Technologies for Space Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mason, Lee S.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2007-01-01

    Dynamic power conversion technologies, such as closed Brayton and free-piston Stirling, offer many advantages for space power applications including high efficiency, long life, and attractive scaling characteristics. This paper presents a historical review of Brayton and Stirling power conversion technology for space and discusses on-going development activities in order to illustrate current technology readiness. The paper also presents a forecast of potential future space uses of these power technologies.

  14. Assessment of the Free-piston Stirling Convertor as a Long Life Power Convertor for Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2001-01-01

    There is currently a renewed interest in the use of free-piston Stirling power convertors for space power applications. More specifically, the Stirling convertor is being developed to be part of the Stirling Radioisotope Power System to supply electric power to spacecraft for NASA deep space science missions. The current development effort involves the Department of Energy, Germantown, MD, the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, and the Stirling Technology Company, Kennewick, WA. The Stirling convertor will absorb heat supplied from the decay of plutonium dioxide contained in the General Purpose Heat Source modules and convert it into electricity to power the spacecraft. For many years the "potentials" of the free-piston Stirling convertor have been publicized by it's developers. Among these "potentials" were long life and high reliability. This paper will present an overview of the critical areas that enable long life of the free-piston Stirling power convertor, and present some of the techniques that have been used when long life has been achieved.

  15. Stirling technology development status

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dochat, George R.; Dudenhoefer, James E.

    1993-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling power converters have the potential to meet the many future space power requirements for a wide variety of applications with less mass, better efficiency, and less total area (collector and radiator) than other power converter options. These benefits result in significant dollar savings over the projected mission lifetime. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—Lewis Research Center (LeRC), which has the responsibility to evaluate and develop power technologies that can satisfy anticipated future space mission power requirements, has been developing free-piston Stirling power converters and is bringing the Stirling technology to readiness. As the principal contractor to NASA-LeRC, Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) is under contract to develop the necessary space Stirling technology but also demonstrate the readiness of the technology in two generations of full-scale power converters. The first generation Stirling power converter, the component test power converter (CTPC), initiated cold end testing at the end of 1991, with hot testing scheduled during 1992. This paper reviews test progress of the CTPC including the initial hot engine test results. Modifications incorporated into the CTPC from the earlier space power demonstrator engine are reviewed as well.

  16. Stirling technology development status

    SciTech Connect

    Dochat, G.R. ); Dudenhoefer, J.E. )

    1993-01-15

    Free-piston Stirling power converters have the potential to meet the many future space power requirements for a wide variety of applications with less mass, better efficiency, and less total area (collector and radiator) than other power converter options. These benefits result in significant dollar savings over the projected mission lifetime. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)---Lewis Research Center (LeRC), which has the responsibility to evaluate and develop power technologies that can satisfy anticipated future space mission power requirements, has been developing free-piston Stirling power converters and is bringing the Stirling technology to readiness. As the principal contractor to NASA-LeRC, Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) is under contract to develop the necessary space Stirling technology but also demonstrate the readiness of the technology in two generations of full-scale power converters. The first generation Stirling power converter, the component test power converter (CTPC), initiated cold end testing at the end of 1991, with hot testing scheduled during 1992. This paper reviews test progress of the CTPC including the initial hot engine test results. Modifications incorporated into the CTPC from the earlier space power demonstrator engine are reviewed as well.

  17. The 1988 overview of free-piston Stirling technology for space power at the NASA Lewis Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slaby, Jack G.

    1988-01-01

    The completion of the Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) testing is discussed, terminating with the generation of 25 kW of engine power from a dynamically-balanced opposed-piston Stirling engine at a temperature ratio of 2.0. Engine efficiency was greater than 22 percent. The SPDE recently was divided into 2 separate single cylinder engines, Space Power Research Engine (SPRE), that serves as test beds for the evaluation of key technology disciplines, which include hydrodynamic gas bearings, high efficiency linear alternators, space qualified heat pipe heat exchangers, oscillating flow code validation, and engine loss understanding. The success of the SPDE at 650 K has resulted in a more ambitious Stirling endeavor, the design, fabrication, test, and evaluation of a designed-for-space 25 kW per cylinder Stirling Space Engine (SSE) to operate at a hot metal temperature of 1050 K using superalloy materials. This design is a low temperature confirmation of the 1300 K design. It is the 1300 K free-piston Stirling power conversion system that is the ultimate goal. The first two phases of this program, the 650 K SPDE and the 1050 K SSE are emphasized.

  18. NASA Glenn Research Center Support of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, Scott D.; Wong, Wayne A.

    2015-01-01

    A high-efficiency radioisotope power system was being developed for long-duration NASA space science missions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) managed a flight contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to build Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generators (ASRGs), with support from NASA Glenn Research Center. DOE initiated termination of that contract in late 2013, primarily due to budget constraints. Sunpower, Inc., held two parallel contracts to produce Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs), one with Lockheed Martin to produce ASC-F flight units, and one with Glenn for the production of ASC-E3 engineering unit "pathfinders" that are built to the flight design. In support of those contracts, Glenn provided testing, materials expertise, Government-furnished equipment, inspection capabilities, and related data products to Lockheed Martin and Sunpower. The technical support included material evaluations, component tests, convertor characterization, and technology transfer. Material evaluations and component tests were performed on various ASC components in order to assess potential life-limiting mechanisms and provide data for reliability models. Convertor level tests were conducted to characterize performance under operating conditions that are representative of various mission conditions. Despite termination of the ASRG flight development contract, NASA continues to recognize the importance of high-efficiency ASC power conversion for Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) and continues investment in the technology, including the continuation of the ASC-E3 contract. This paper describes key Government support for the ASRG project and future tests to be used to provide data for ongoing reliability assessments.

  19. SRG110 Stirling Generator Dynamic Simulator Vibration Test Results and Analysis Correlation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Suarez, Vicente J.; Goodnight, Thomas W.; Callahan, John

    2007-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lockheed Martin (LM), and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) have been developing the Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for use as a power system for space science missions. The launch environment enveloping potential missions results in a random input spectrum that is significantly higher than historical radioisotope power system (RPS) launch levels and is a challenge for designers. Analysis presented in prior work predicted that tailoring the compliance at the generator-spacecraft interface reduced the dynamic response of the system thereby allowing higher launch load input levels and expanding the range of potential generator missions. To confirm analytical predictions, a dynamic simulator representing the generator structure, Stirling convertors and heat sources were designed and built for testing with and without a compliant interface. Finite element analysis was performed to guide the generator simulator and compliant interface design so that test modes and frequencies were representative of the SRG110 generator. This paper presents the dynamic simulator design, the test setup and methodology, test article modes and frequencies and dynamic responses, and post-test analysis results. With the compliant interface, component responses to an input environment exceeding the SRG110 qualification level spectrum were all within design allowables. Post-test analysis included finite element model tuning to match test frequencies and random response analysis using the test input spectrum. Analytical results were in good overall agreement with the test results and confirmed previous predictions that the SRG110 power system may be considered for a broad range of potential missions, including those with demanding launch environments.

  20. Summary of the NASA Lewis component technology program for Stirling power converters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Swec, Diane M.

    1992-01-01

    An update is presented on the NASA Lewis Stirling component technology program. The component technology program has been organized as part of the NASA Lewis effort to develop Stirling converter technology for space power applications. The Stirling space power project is part of the High Capacity Power element of the NASA Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). Lewis is also providing technical management of a DOE funded project to develop Stirling converter systems for distributed dish solar terrestrial power applications. The primary contractors for the space power and solar terrestrial projects develop component technologies directly related to their project goals. This Lewis component technology program, while coordinated with these main projects, is aimed at longer term issues, advanced technologies, and independent assessments. Topics to be discussed include bearings, linear alternators, controls and load interaction, materials/life assessment, and heat exchangers.

  1. 1987 overview of free-piston Stirling technology for space power application

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slaby, Jack G.; Alger, Donald L.

    1987-01-01

    The Lewis Research Center program concerned with the development of a free-piston Stirling engine for space-power applications is examined. The system mass of a Stirling system is compared to that of a Brayton system for the same peak temperature and output power; the advantages of the Stirling system are discussed. The predicted and experimental performances of the 25 kWe opposed-piston space power demonstrator engine are evaluated. It is determined that in order to enhance performance the regenerator needs to be modified, and the gas bearing flow between the displacer and power piston needs to be isolated in order to increase the operating stroke. Identification and correction of the energy losses, the design and operation of the linear alternator, and heat exchange concepts are considered. The design parameters and conceptual design characteristics for a 25 kWe single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space-power converter are described.

  2. Summary of the NASA Lewis component technology program for Stirling power converters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Swec, Diane M.

    1992-10-01

    An update is presented on the NASA Lewis Stirling component technology program. The component technology program has been organized as part of the NASA Lewis effort to develop Stirling converter technology for space power applications. The Stirling space power project is part of the High Capacity Power element of the NASA Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). Lewis is also providing technical management of a DOE funded project to develop Stirling converter systems for distributed dish solar terrestrial power applications. The primary contractors for the space power and solar terrestrial projects develop component technologies directly related to their project goals. This Lewis component technology program, while coordinated with these main projects, is aimed at longer term issues, advanced technologies, and independent assessments. Topics to be discussed include bearings, linear alternators, controls and load interaction, materials/life assessment, and heat exchangers.

  3. Split Stirling linear cryogenic cooler for a new generation of high temperature infrared imagers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veprik, A.; Zechtzer, S.; Pundak, N.

    2010-04-01

    Split linear cryocoolers find use in a variety of infrared equipment installed in airborne, heliborne, marine and vehicular platforms along with hand held and ground fixed applications. An upcoming generation of portable, high-definition night vision imagers will rely on the high-temperature infrared detectors, operating at elevated temperatures, ranging from 95K to 200K, while being able to show the performance indices comparable with these of their traditional 77K competitors. Recent technological advances in industrial development of such high-temperature detectors initialized attempts for developing compact split Stirling linear cryogenic coolers. Their known advantages, as compared to the rotary integral coolers, are superior flexibility in the system packaging, constant and relatively high driving frequency, lower wideband vibration export, unsurpassed reliability and aural stealth. Unfortunately, such off-the-shelf available linear cryogenic coolers still cannot compete with rotary integral rivals in terms of size, weight and power consumption. Ricor developed the smallest in the range, 1W@95K, linear split Stirling cryogenic cooler for demanding infrared applications, where power consumption, compactness, vibration, aural noise and ownership costs are of concern.

  4. Prototype Rhenium Component for Stirling Engine Power Conversion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonhardt, Todd; Ritzert, Frank

    2005-02-01

    The Stirling engine power conversion concept is a candidate to provide electrical power for deep space missions. A key element for qualifying potential flight hardware is the long-term durability assessment for critical hot section components of the power converter. One such critical component is the power converter heater head, which is a high-temperature pressure vessel that transfers heat to the working gas medium of the converter. Rhenium is a candidate material for the heater head application because of its high melting point (3453 K), high elastic modulus (420 GPa), high yield and ultimate tensile strengths at both ambient and elevated temperatures, excellent ductility, and exceptional creep properties. Rhenium is also attractive due to the potential of near-net-shape (NNS) manufacturing techniques that allow components to be produced using less material, which lowers the overall cost of the component. The objective of this research was to demonstrate the manufacturing method using rhenium for this high-temperature power conversion application to provide space power system designers with generally applicable technology for future applications.

  5. SRG110 Stirling Generator Dynamic Simulator Vibration Test Results and Analysis Correlation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Suarez, Vicente J.; Lewandowski, Edward J.; Callahan, John

    2006-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lockheed Martin (LM), and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) have been developing the Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG110) for use as a power system for space science missions. The launch environment enveloping potential missions results in a random input spectrum that is significantly higher than historical RPS launch levels and is a challenge for designers. Analysis presented in prior work predicted that tailoring the compliance at the generator-spacecraft interface reduced the dynamic response of the system thereby allowing higher launch load input levels and expanding the range of potential generator missions. To confirm analytical predictions, a dynamic simulator representing the generator structure, Stirling convertors and heat sources was designed and built for testing with and without a compliant interface. Finite element analysis was performed to guide the generator simulator and compliant interface design so that test modes and frequencies were representative of the SRG110 generator. This paper presents the dynamic simulator design, the test setup and methodology, test article modes and frequencies and dynamic responses, and post-test analysis results. With the compliant interface, component responses to an input environment exceeding the SRG110 qualification level spectrum were all within design allowables. Post-test analysis included finite element model tuning to match test frequencies and random response analysis using the test input spectrum. Analytical results were in good overall agreement with the test results and confirmed previous predictions that the SRG110 power system may be considered for a broad range of potential missions, including those with demanding launch environments.

  6. An Experimental and Analytical Investigation of Stirling Space Power Converter Heater Head

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abdul-Aziz, Ali; Bartolotta, Paul; Tong, Mike; Allen, Gorden

    1995-01-01

    NASA has identified the Stirling power converter as a prime candidate for the next generation power system for space applications requiring 60000 hr of operation. To meet this long-term goal, several critical components of the power converter have been analyzed using advanced structural assessment methods. Perhaps the most critical component, because of its geometric complexity and operating environment, is the power converter's heater head. This report describes the life assessment of the heater head which includes the characterization of a viscoplastic material model, the thermal and structural analyses of the heater head, and the interpolation of fatigue and creep test results of a nickel-base superalloy, Udimet 720 LI (Low Inclusions), at several elevated temperatures for life prediction purposes.

  7. Status of Kilowatt-Class Stirling Power Conversion Using a Pumped NaK Loop for Thermal Input

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, Maxwell H.; Geng, Steven M.; Robbie, Malcolm G.

    2010-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling power conversion has been identified as a viable option for potential Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems on the Moon and Mars. Proposed systems consist of two or more Stirling convertors, in a dual-opposed configuration, coupled to a low-temperature uranium-dioxide-fueled, liquid-metal-cooled reactor. To reduce developmental risks associated with liquid-metal loop integration, a test rig has been built to evaluate the performance of a pair of 1-kW free-piston Stirling convertors using a pumped sodium-potassium (NaK) loop for thermal energy input. Baseline performance maps have been generated at the Glenn Research Center (GRC) for these 1-kW convertors operating with an electric heat source. Each convertor was then retrofitted with a custom-made NaK heater head and integrated into a pumped NaK system at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). This paper documents baseline testing at GRC as well as the progress made in integrating the Stirling convertors into the pumped NaK loop.

  8. Proposed guidelines for reporting performance of a solar dish/Stirling electric generation system

    SciTech Connect

    Stine, W.B.; Powell, M.A.

    1992-12-31

    Experimental performance data from dish/Stirling system testing can be analyzed to generate a system performance model. An approach to developing an experimentally based performance model of a dish/Stirling system is given. Two methods for analyzing the experimental data are described. To provide information that will permit comparison of dish/Stirling systems, it is necessary to define many of the details involved in calculating system performance data such as the net system output and system solar-to-electric efficiency. This paper describes a set of guidelines for these calculations, based on past experience, especially with the Vanguard dish/Stirling system. Also presented are a set of rating conditions at which a maximum value for system efficiency can be calculated. Comparison between systems of their rated peak solar-to-electric efficiency is made possible when these rating conditions are in common use by manufacturers and testing agencies.

  9. One- and two-dimensional Stirling machine simulation using experimentally generated flow turbulence models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goldberg, Louis F.

    1990-01-01

    Investigations of one- and two-dimensional (1- or 2-D) simulations of Stirling machines centered around experimental data generated by the U. of Minnesota Mechanical Engineering Test Rig (METR) are covered. This rig was used to investigate oscillating flows about a zero mean with emphasis on laminar/turbulent flow transitions in tubes. The Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) and in particular, its heater, were the subjects of the simulations. The heater was treated as a 1- or 2-D entity in an otherwise 1-D system. The 2-D flow effects impacted the transient flow predictions in the heater itself but did not have a major impact on overall system performance. Information propagation effects may be a significant issue in the simulation (if not the performance) of high-frequency, high-pressure Stirling machines. This was investigated further by comparing a simulation against an experimentally validated analytic solution for the fluid dynamics of a transmission line. The applicability of the pressure-linking algorithm for compressible flows may be limited by characteristic number (defined as flow path information traverses per cycle); this warrants further study. Lastly the METR was simulated in 1- and 2-D. A two-parameter k-w foldback function turbulence model was developed and tested against a limited set of METR experimental data.

  10. The development of a free-piston Stirling engine power conversion system for multiple applications utilizing alternative fuel sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marusak, T. J.

    The thermodynamic and mechanical advantages of free-piston Stirling engines developed to date by NASA, and their future potential as small powerplants, are discussed. Applications include heat-pumps, mobile electric power systems, solar thermal electric power generation and multiple heat source-capability power systems. Existing prototypes have demonstrated engine efficiencies of 33% even at low output levels, and an advanced design capable of 40% efficiency and an output power of more than 3 kW is currently undergoing extensive testing.

  11. A 3-D Magnetic Analysis of a Linear Alternator For a Stirling Power System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geng, Steven M.; Schwarze, Gene E.; Niedra, Janis M.

    2000-01-01

    The NASA Glenn Research Center and the Department of Energy (DOE) are developing advanced radioisotope Stirling convertors, under contract with Stirling Technology Company (STC), for space applications. Of critical importance to the successful development of the Stirling convertor for space power applications is the development of a lightweight and highly efficient linear alternator. This paper presents a 3-D finite element method (FEM) approach for evaluating Stirling convertor linear alternators. Preliminary correlations with open-circuit voltage measurements provide an encouraging level of confidence in the model. Spatial plots of magnetic field strength (H) are presented in the region of the exciting permanent magnets. These plots identify regions of high H, where at elevated temperature and under electrical load, the potential to alter the magnetic moment of the magnets exists. This implies the need for further testing and analysis.

  12. Modular Stirling Radioisotope Power System (SRPS) using an advanced heat source

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moul, David S.

    2001-02-01

    The advanced Stirling engine/alternator developed by Stirling Technology Company has potential for a wide range of space applications, at an efficiency comparable to solar cells and triple that of thermoelectric elements. However, the unique design of the Stirling engine requires a concentrated heat input in an annular band which would be optimized with an advanced heat source design. The concentrated heat rejection area of the Stirling engine would also be optimized with the use of a Capillary Pumped Loop to transport the waste heat from the engine. This advanced concept will explore using a Capillary Pumped Loop to transport the waste heat to the mission spacecraft for operational heating. Use of these advanced techniques will allow a specific power approaching 8 We/kg, compared to 5 We for a conventional RTG. .

  13. CO2 laser-driven Stirling engine. [space power applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, G.; Perry, R. L.; Carney, B.

    1978-01-01

    A 100-W Beale free-piston Stirling engine was powered remotely by a CO2 laser for long periods of time. The engine ran on both continuous-wave and pulse laser input. The working fluid was helium doped with small quantities of sulfur hexafluoride, SF6. The CO2 radiation was absorbed by the vibrational modes of the sulfur hexafluoride, which in turn transferred the energy to the helium to drive the engine. Electrical energy was obtained from a linear alternator attached to the piston of the engine. Engine pressures, volumes, and temperatures were measured to determine engine performance. It was found that the pulse radiation mode was more efficient than the continuous-wave mode. An analysis of the engine heat consumption indicated that heat losses around the cylinder and the window used to transmit the beam into the engine accounted for nearly half the energy input. The overall efficiency, that is, electrical output to laser input, was approximately 0.75%. However, this experiment was not designed for high efficiency but only to demonstrate the concept of a laser-driven engine. Based on this experiment, the engine could be modified to achieve efficiencies of perhaps 25-30%.

  14. Solar-Electric Dish Stirling System Development

    SciTech Connect

    Mancini, T.R.

    1997-12-31

    Electrical power generated with the heat from the sun, called solar thermal power, is produced with three types of concentrating solar systems - trough or line-focus systems; power towers in which a centrally-located thermal receiver is illuminated with a large field of sun-tracking heliostats; and dish/engine systems. A special case of the third type of system, a dish/Stirling system, is the subject of this paper. A dish/Stirling system comprises a parabolic dish concentrator, a thermal receiver, and a Stirling engine/generator located at the focus of the dish. Several different dish/Stirling systems have been built and operated during the past 15 years. One system claims the world record for net conversion of solar energy to electric power of 29.4%; and two different company`s systems have accumulated thousands of hours of on-sun operation. Due to de-regulation and intense competition in global energy markets as well as the immaturity of the technology, dish/Stirling systems have not yet found their way into the marketplace. This situation is changing as solar technologies become more mature and manufacturers identify high-value niche markets for their products. In this paper, I review the history of dish/Stirling system development with an emphasis on technical and other issues that directly impact the Stirling engine. I also try to provide some insight to the opportunities and barriers confronting the application of dish/Stirling in power generation markets.

  15. Recent Advances in Design of Low Cost Film Concentrator and Low Pressure Free Piston Stirling Engines for Solar Power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kleinwaechter, J.; Kleinwaechter, H.; Beale, W.

    1984-01-01

    The free piston Stirling-linear alternator was shown to be scalable to power levels of tens of kilowatts in a form which is simple, efficient, long lived and relatively inexpensive. It avoids entirely the vexing problem of high pressure shaft, and its control requirements are not severe nor do they represent a significant threat to durability. Linear alternators have demonstrated high efficiency and moderate weight, and are capable of delivering 3 phase power from single machines without great increases of cost or complexity. There remains no apparent impediments to the commercial exploitation of the free piston engine for solar electric power generation.

  16. Overview of free-piston Stirling engine technology for space power application

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slaby, Jack G.

    1987-01-01

    An overview is presented of free-piston Stirling engine activities, directed toward space power applications. One of the major elements of the program is the development of advanced power conversion. Under this program the status of the 25 kWe opposed-piston Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) is presented. Initial differences between predicted and experimental power outputs and power output influenced by variations in regenerators are discussed. Technology work was conducted on heat-exchanger concepts to minimize the number of joints as well as to enhance the heat transfer in the heater. Design parameters and conceptual design features are also presented for a 25 kWe, single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space power converter. Projections are made for future space power requirements over the next few decades along with a recommendation to consider the use of dynamic power conversion systems, either solar or nuclear. A cursory comparison is presented showing the mass benefits of a Stirling system over a Brayton system for the same peak temperature and output power. A description of a study to investigate the feasibility of scaling a single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space power module to the 150 kWe power range is presented.

  17. Structural Analyses of Stirling Power Convertor Heater Head for Long-Term Reliability, Durability, and Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Halford, Gary R.; Shah, Ashwin; Arya, Vinod K.; Krause, David L.; Bartolotta, Paul A.

    2002-01-01

    Deep-space missions require onboard electric power systems with reliable design lifetimes of up to 10 yr and beyond. A high-efficiency Stirling radioisotope power system is a likely candidate for future deep-space missions and Mars rover applications. To ensure ample durability, the structurally critical heater head of the Stirling power convertor has undergone extensive computational analyses of operating temperatures (up to 650 C), stresses, and creep resistance of the thin-walled Inconel 718 bill of material. Durability predictions are presented in terms of the probability of survival. A benchmark structural testing program has commenced to support the analyses. This report presents the current status of durability assessments.

  18. A Design of a Modular GPHS-Stirling Power System for a Lunar Habitation Module

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Penswick, L. Barry; Shaltens, Richard K.

    2005-01-01

    Lunar habitation modules need electricity and potentially heat to operate. Because of the low amounts of radiation emitted by General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules, power plants incorporating these as heat sources could be placed in close proximity to habitation modules. A design concept is discussed for a high efficiency power plant based on a GPHS assembly integrated with a Stirling convertor. This system could provide both electrical power and heat, if required, for a lunar habitation module. The conceptual GPHS/Stirling system is modular in nature and made up of a basic 5.5 KWe Stirling convertor/GPHS module assembly, convertor controller/PMAD electronics, waste heat radiators, and associated thermal insulation. For the specific lunar application under investigation eight modules are employed to deliver 40 KWe to the habitation module. This design looks at three levels of Stirling convertor technology and addresses the issues of integrating the Stirling convertors with the GPHS heat sources assembly using proven technology whenever possible. In addition, issues related to the high-temperature heat transport system, power management, convertor control, vibration isolation, and potential system packaging configurations to ensure safe operation during all phases of deployment will be discussed.

  19. Single Phase Passive Rectification Versus Active Rectification Applied to High Power Stirling Engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Santiago, Walter; Birchenough, Arthur G.

    2006-01-01

    Stirling engine converters are being considered as potential candidates for high power energy conversion systems required by future NASA explorations missions. These types of engines typically contain two major moving parts, the displacer and the piston, in which a linear alternator is attached to the piston to produce a single phase sinusoidal waveform at a specific electric frequency. Since all Stirling engines perform at low electrical frequencies (less or equal to 100 Hz), space explorations missions that will employ these engines will be required to use DC power management and distribution (PMAD) system instead of an AC PMAD system to save on space and weight. Therefore, to supply such DC power an AC to DC converter is connected to the Stirling engine. There are two types of AC to DC converters that can be employed, a passive full bridge diode rectifier and an active switching full bridge rectifier. Due to the inherent line inductance of the Stirling Engine-Linear Alternator (SE-LA), their sinusoidal voltage and current will be phase shifted producing a power factor below 1. In order to keep power the factor close to unity, both AC to DC converters topologies will implement power factor correction. This paper discusses these power factor correction methods as well as their impact on overall mass for exploration applications. Simulation results on both AC to DC converters topologies with power factor correction as a function of output power and SE-LA line inductance impedance are presented and compared.

  20. Stirling to Flight Initiative

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hibbard, Kenneth E.; Mason, Lee S.; Ndu, Obi; Smith, Clayton; Withrow, James P.

    2016-01-01

    NASA has a consistent need for radioisotope power systems (RPS) to enable robotic scientific missions for planetary exploration that has been present for over four decades and will continue into the foreseeable future, as documented in the most recent Planetary Science Decadal Study Report. As RPS have evolved throughout the years, there has also grown a desire for more efficient power systems, allowing NASA to serve as good stewards of the limited plutonium-238 (238Pu), while also supporting the ever-present need to minimize mass and potential impacts to the desired science measurements. In fact, the recent Nuclear Power Assessment Study (NPAS) released in April 2015 resulted in several key conclusion regarding RPS, including affirmation that RPS will be necessary well into the 2030s (at least) and that 238Pu is indeed a precious resource requiring efficient utilization and preservation. Stirling Radioisotope Generators (SRGs) combine a Stirling cycle engine powered by a radioisotope heater unit into a single generator system. Stirling engine technology has been under development at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) since the 1970's. The most recent design, the 238Pu-fueled Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), was offered as part of the NASA Discovery 2010 Announcement of Opportunity (AO). The Step-2 selections for this AO included two ASRG-enabled concepts, the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) and the Comet Hopper (CHopper), although the only non-nuclear concept, InSight, was ultimately chosen. The DOE's ASRG contract was terminated in 2013. Given that SRGs utilize significantly less 238Pu than traditional Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) - approximately one quarter of the nuclear fuel, to produce similar electrical power output - they provide a technology worthy of consideration for meeting the aforementioned NASA objectives. NASA's RPS Program Office has recently investigated a new Stirling to

  1. Overview of free-piston Stirling engine technology for space power application

    SciTech Connect

    Slaby, J.G.

    1987-01-01

    An overview is presented of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center (LeRC) free-piston Stirling engine activities directed toward space-power application. One of the major elements of the program is the development of advanced power conversion of which the Stirling cycle is a viable candidate. Under this program the status of the 25 kWe opposed-piston Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) is presented. Technology work is also conducted on heat-exchanger concepts, both design and fabrication, to minimize the number of joints as well as to enhance the heat transfer in the heater. Design parameters and conceptual design features are also presented for a 25 kWe, single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space-power converter. Projections are made for future space-power requirements over the next few decades along with a recommendation to consider the use of dynamic power-conversion systems - either solar or nuclear. A description of a study to investigate the feasibility of scaling a single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space-power module to the 150 kWe power range is presented.

  2. Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power Lunar applications

    SciTech Connect

    Schmitz, P.D.; Mason, L.S.

    1994-09-01

    NASA`s Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) has proposed the use of high power nuclear power systems on the lunar surface as a necessary alternative to solar power. Because of the long lunar night ({approximately} 14 earth days) solar powered systems with the requisite energy storage in the form of regenerative fuel cells or batteries becomes prohibitively heavy at high power levels ({approximately} 100 kWe). At these high power levels nuclear power systems become an enabling technology for variety of missions. One way of producing power on the lunar surface is with an SP-100 class reactor coupled with Stirling power converters. In this study, analysis and characterization of the SP-100 class reactor coupled with Free Piston Stirling Power Conversion (FPSPC) system will be performed. Comparison of results with previous studies of other systems, particularly Brayton and Thermionic, are made.

  3. Technology Development for a Stirling Radioisotope Power System for Deep Space Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Qiu, Songgang; White, Maurice A.

    2000-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center and the Department of Energy (DOE) are developing a Stirling convertor for an advanced radioisotope power system to provide spacecraft on-board electric power for NASA deep space missions. NASA Glenn is addressing key technology issues through the use of two NASA Phase 2 SBIRs with Stirling Technology Company (STC) of Kennewick, WA. Under the first SBIR, STC demonstrated a 40 to 50 fold reduction in vibrations, compared to an unbalanced convertor, with a synchronous connection of two thermodynamically independent free-piston Stirling convertors. The second SBIR is for the development of an Adaptive Vibration Reduction System (AVRS) that will essentially eliminate vibrations over a mission lifetime, even in the unlikely event of a failed convertor. This paper discusses the status and results for these two SBIR projects and also presents results for characterizing the friction factor of high-porosity random fiber regenerators that are being used for this application.

  4. Stirling Engine Controller

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blaze, Gina M.

    2004-01-01

    Stirling technology is being developed to replace RTG s (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators), more specifically a stirling convertor, which is a stirling engine coupled to a linear alternator. Over the past three decades, the stirling engine has been designed to perform different functions. Stirling convertors have been designed to decrease fuel consumption in automobiles. They have also been designed for terrestrial and space applications. Currently NASA Glenn is using the convertor for space based applications. A stiring converter is a better means of power for deep space mission and "dusty" mission, like the Mars Rovers, than solar panels because it is not affected by dust. Spirit and Opportunity, two Mars rovers currently navigating the planet, are losing their ability to generate electricity because dust is collecting on their solar panels. Opportunity is losing more energy because its robotic arm has a heater with a switch that can not be turned off. The heater is not needed at night, but yet still runs. This generates a greater loss of electricity and in turn diminishes the performance of the rover. The stirling cycle has the potential to provide very efficient conversion of heat energy to electric a1 energy, more so than RTG's. The stirling engine converts the thermal energy produced by the decaying radioisotope to mechanical energy; the linear alternator converts this into electricity. convertor. Since the early 1990's tests have been performed to maximize the efficiency of the stirling converter. Many months, even years, are dedicated to preparing and performing tests. Currently, two stirling convertors #'s 13 and 14, which were developed by Stirling Technology Company, are on an extended operation test. As of June 7th, the two convertors reached 7,500 hours each of operation. Before the convertors could run unattended, many safety precautions had to be examined. So, special instrumentation and circuits were developed to detect off nominal conditions

  5. Conceptual design of free-piston Stirling conversion system for solar power units

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loktionov, Iu. V.

    A conversion system has been conceptually designed for solar power units of the dish-Stirling type. The main design objectives were to demonstrate the possibility of attaining such performance characteristics as low manufacturing and life cycle costs, high reliability, long life, high efficiency, power output stability, self-balance, automatic (or self-) start-up, and easy maintenance. The system design includes a heat transfer and utilization subsystem with a solar receiver, a free-piston engine, an electric power generation subsystem, and a control subsystem. The working fluid is helium. The structural material is stainless steel for hot elements, aluminum alloys and plastics for others. The electric generation subunit can be fabricated in three options: with an induction linear alternator, with a permanent magnet linear alternator, and with a serial rotated induction generator and a hydraulic drive subsystem. The heat transfer system is based on heat pipes or the reflux boiler principle. Several models of heat transfer units using a liquid metal (Na or Na-K) have been created and demonstrated.

  6. 1987 Overview of the free-piston Stirling technology for space power application

    SciTech Connect

    Slaby, J.G.; Alger, D.L.

    1994-09-01

    An overview is presented of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center free-piston Stirling engine activities directed toward space-power application. Free-piston Stirling technology is applicable for both solar and nuclear powered systems. As such, NASA Lewis serves as the project office to manage the newly initiated NASA SP-100 Advanced Technology Program. This 5-yr program provides the technology thrust for providing significant component and subsystem options for increased efficiency, reliability and survivability, and power output growth at reduced specific mass. One of the major elements of the program is the development of advanced power conversion concepts of which the Stirling cycle is a viable growth candidate. Under this program the status of the 25 kWe opposed-piston Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) is presented. Included in the SPDE discussion are comparisons between predicted and experimental engine performance, enhanced performance resulting from regenerator modification, increased operating stroke brought about by isolating the gas bearing flow between the displacer and power piston, identifying excessive energy losses and recommending corrective action, and a better understanding of linear alternator design and operation. Technology work is also conducted on heat exchanger concepts, both design and fabrication, to minimize the number of joints as well as to enhance performance. Design parameters and conceptual design features are also presented for a 25 kWe, single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space-power converter. A cursory comparison is presented showing the mass benefits that a Stirling system has over a Brayton system for the same peak temperature and output power.

  7. A compendium of solar dish/Stirling technology

    SciTech Connect

    Stine, W.B.; Diver, R.B.

    1994-01-01

    This report surveys the emerging dish/Stirling technology. It documents -- using consistent terminology the design characteristics of dish concentrators, receivers, and Stirling engines applicable to solar electric power generation. Development status and operating experience for each system and an overview of dish/Stirling technology are also presented. This report enables comparisons of concentrator, receiver, and engine technologies. Specifications and performance data are presented on systems and on components that are in use or that could be used in dish/Stirling systems. This report is organized into two parts: The first part (Chapters 1 through 4) provides an overview of dish/Stirling technology -- the dish/ Stirling components (concentrator, receiver, and engine/alternator), current technology, basic theory, and technology development. The second part (Chapters 5 through 7) provides a detailed survey of the existing dish/Stirling concentrators, receivers, and engine/alternators.

  8. Advanced 35 W Free-Piston Stirling Engine for Space Power Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, J. Gary; Lane, Neill

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents the projected performance and overall design characteristics of a high efficiency, low mass 35 W free-piston Stirling engine design. Overall (engine plus linear alternator) thermodynamic performance greater than 50% of Carnot, with a specific power close to 100 W/kg appears to be a reasonable goal at this small power level. Supporting test data and analysis results from exiting engines are presented. Design implications of high specific power in relatively low power engines is presented and discussed.

  9. Radioisotope Stirling Engine Powered Airship for Atmospheric and Surface Exploration of Titan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Colozza, Anthony J.; Cataldo, Robert L.

    2014-01-01

    The feasibility of an advanced Stirling radioisotope generator (ASRG) powered airship for the near surface exploration of Titan was evaluated. The analysis did not consider the complete mission only the operation of the airship within the atmosphere of Titan. The baseline airship utilized two ASRG systems with a total of four general-purpose heat source (GPHS) blocks. Hydrogen gas was used to provide lift. The ASRG systems, airship electronics and controls and the science payload were contained in a payload enclosure. This enclosure was separated into two sections, one for the ASRG systems and the other for the electronics and payload. Each section operated at atmospheric pressure but at different temperatures. The propulsion system consisted of an electric motor driving a propeller. An analysis was set up to size the airship that could operate near the surface of Titan based on the available power from the ASRGs. The atmospheric conditions on Titan were modeled and used in the analysis. The analysis was an iterative process between sizing the airship to carry a specified payload and the power required to operate the electronics, payload and cooling system as well as provide power to the propulsion system to overcome the drag on the airship. A baseline configuration was determined that could meet the power requirements and operate near the Titan surface. From this baseline design additional trades were made to see how other factors affected the design such as the flight altitude and payload mass and volume.

  10. A feasibility assessment of magnetic bearings for free-piston Stirling space power converters

    SciTech Connect

    Curwen, P.W.; Rao, D.K.; Wilson, D.S.

    1992-06-01

    This report describes work performed by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) under NASA Contract NAS3-26061, {open_quotes}A Feasibility Assessment of Magnetic Bearings for Free-Piston Stirling Space Engines.{close_quotes} The work was performed over the period from July 1990 through August 1991. The objective of the effort was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of applying magnetic bearings to free-piston Stirling-cycle power conversion machinery of the type currently being evaluated for possible use in future long-term space missions.

  11. Design, Qualification and Integration Testing of the High-Temperature Resistance Temperature Device for Stirling Power System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chan, Jack; Hill, Dennis H.; Elisii, Remo; White, Jonathan R.; Lewandowski, Edward J.; Oriti, Salvatore M.

    2015-01-01

    The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), developed from 2006 to 2013 under the joint sponsorship of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide a high-efficiency power system for future deep space missions, employed Sunpower Incorporated's Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs) with operating temperature up to 840 C. High-temperature operation was made possible by advanced heater head materials developed to increase reliability and thermal-to-mechanical conversion efficiency. During a mission, it is desirable to monitor the Stirling hot-end temperature as a measure of convertor health status and assist in making appropriate operating parameter adjustments to maintain the desired hot-end temperature as the radioisotope fuel decays. To facilitate these operations, a Resistance Temperature Device (RTD) that is capable of high-temperature, continuous long-life service was designed, developed and qualified for use in the ASRG. A thermal bridge was also implemented to reduce the RTD temperature exposure while still allowing an accurate projection of the ASC hot-end temperature. NASA integrated two flight-design RTDs on the ASCs and assembled into the high-fidelity Engineering Unit, the ASRG EU2, at Glenn Research Center (GRC) for extended operation and system characterization. This paper presents the design implementation and qualification of the RTD, and its performance characteristics and calibration in the ASRG EU2 testing.

  12. Design of a Facility to Test the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Oriti, Salvatore M.; Meer, David W.; Brace, Michael H.; Dugala, Gina

    2010-01-01

    The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG), a high efficiency generator, is being considered for space missions. An engineering unit, the ASRG engineering unit (EU), was designed and fabricated by Lockheed Martin under contract to the Department of Energy. This unit is currently under extended operation test at the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) to generate performance data and validate the life and reliability predictions for the generator and the Stirling convertors. A special test facility was designed and built for the ASRG EU. This paper summarizes details of the test facility design, including the mechanical mounting, heat-rejection system, argon system, control systems, and maintenance. The effort proceeded from requirements definition through design, analysis, build, and test. Initial testing and facility performance results are discussed.

  13. Biostirling({trademark}): A small biomass power conversion system using an advanced stirling engine

    SciTech Connect

    Johansson, L.; Ziph, B.; McKeough, W.; Houtman, W.

    1996-12-31

    Over the past decade the need for small power conversion systems to serve rural and/or remote needs has increased dramatically. The requirements for systems <100 kW are very similar, whether the need is defined as {open_quotes}rural electrification{close_quotes} in developed countries, or as {open_quotes}village power{close_quotes} in developing countries. The availability of biomass fuel resources to serve such systems is not in doubt, be they agricultural, forestry, animal or urban wastes. The main inhibiting factor has been the absence of a biomass power conversion system characterized by: reliability, cost effectiveness, low pollution, and ease of maintenance. Stirling Thermal Motors of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is recognized as the leader worldwide in the development and application of Stirling engine technology. It is currently demonstrating a {open_quotes}BioStirling({trademark}){close_quotes} Power Conversion System which combines its unique STM4-120 engine rated at 25 kW with a proven commercial gasifier. The BioStirling({trademark}) proof-of-concept demonstration is funded by DOE`s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is to be completed in late 1996, with field demonstrations in 1997 and commercial availability 1998.

  14. Terrestrial Applications of Extreme Environment Stirling Space Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dyson, Rodger. W.

    2012-01-01

    NASA has been developing power systems capable of long-term operation in extreme environments such as the surface of Venus. This technology can use any external heat source to efficiently provide electrical power and cooling; and it is designed to be extremely efficient and reliable for extended space missions. Terrestrial applications include: use in electric hybrid vehicles; distributed home co-generation/cooling; and quiet recreational vehicle power generation. This technology can reduce environmental emissions, petroleum consumption, and noise while eliminating maintenance and environmental damage from automotive fluids such as oil lubricants and air conditioning coolant. This report will provide an overview of this new technology and its applications.

  15. Epoxy Adhesives for Stator Magnet Assembly in Stirling Radioisotope Generators (SRG)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cater, George M.

    2004-01-01

    As NASA seeks to fulfill its goals of exploration and understanding through missions planned to visit the moons of Saturn and beyond, a number of challenges arise from the idea of deep space flight. One of the first problems associated with deep space travel is electrical power production for systems on the spacecraft. Conventional methods such as solar power are not practical because efficiency decreases substantially as the craft moves away from the Sun. The criterion for power generation during deep space missions are very specific, the main points requiring high reliability, low mass, minimal vibration and a long lifespan. A Stirling generator, although fairly old in concept, is considered to be a potential solution for electrical power generation for deep space flight. A Stirling generator works on the same electromagnetic principles of a standard generator, using the linear motion of the alternator through the stationary stator which produces electric induction. The motion of the alternator, however, is produced by the heating and cooling dynamics of pressurized gases. Essentially heating one end and cooling another of a contained gas will cause a periodic expansion and compression of the gas from one side to the other, which a displacer translates into linear mechanical motion. NASA needs to confirm that the materials used in the generator will be able to withstand the rigors of space and the life expectancy of the mission. I am working on the verification of the epoxy adhesives used to bond magnets to the steel lamination stack to complete the stator; in terms of in-service performance and durability under various space environments. Understanding the proper curing conditions, high temperature properties, and degassing problems as well as production difficulties are crucial to the long term success of the generator. system and steel substrate used in the stator. To optimize the curing conditions of the epoxies, modulated differential scanning calorimetry

  16. Summary of Test Results From a 1 kW(sub e)-Class Free-Piston Stirling Power Convertor Integrated With a Pumped NaK Loop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, Maxwell H.; Geng, Steven M.; Pearson, J. Boise; Godfroy, Thomas J.

    2010-01-01

    As a step towards development of Stirling power conversion for potential use in Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems, a pair of commercially available 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors was modified to operate with a NaK liquid metal pumped loop for thermal energy input. This was the first-ever attempt at powering a free-piston Stirling engine with a pumped liquid metal heat source and is a major FSP project milestone towards demonstrating technical feasibility. The tests included performance mapping the convertors over various hot and cold-end temperatures, piston amplitudes and NaK flow rates; and transient test conditions to simulate various start-up and fault scenarios. Performance maps of the convertors generated using the pumped NaK loop for thermal input show increases in power output over those measured during baseline testing using electric heating. Transient testing showed that the Stirling convertors can be successfully started in a variety of different scenarios and that the convertors can recover from a variety of fault scenarios.

  17. Summary of Test Results From a 1 kWe-Class Free-Piston Stirling Power Convertor Integrated With a Pumped NaK Loop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, Maxwell H.; Geng, Steven M.; Pearson, J. Boise; Godfroy, Thomas J.

    2010-01-01

    As a step towards development of Stirling power conversion for potential use in Fission Surface Power (FSP) systems, a pair of commercially available 1 kW class free-piston Stirling convertors was modified to operate with a NaK liquid metal pumped loop for thermal energy input. This was the first-ever attempt at powering a free-piston Stirling engine with a pumped liquid metal heat source and is a major FSP project milestone towards demonstrating technical feasibility. The tests included performance mapping the convertors over various hot and cold-end temperatures, piston amplitudes and NaK flow rates; and transient test conditions to simulate various start-up and fault scenarios. Performance maps of the convertors generated using the pumped NaK loop for thermal input show increases in power output over those measured during baseline testing using electric heating. Transient testing showed that the Stirling convertors can be successfully started in a variety of different scenarios and that the convertors can recover from a variety of fault scenarios.

  18. Electric co-generation units equipped with wood gasifier and Stirling engine

    SciTech Connect

    Bartolini, C.M.; Caresana, F.; Pelagalli, L.

    1998-07-01

    The disposal of industrial waste such as oil sludges, waste plastic, lubricant oils, paper and wood poses serious problems due to the ever increasing amount of material to be disposed of and to the difficulty in finding new dumping sites. The interest in energy recovery technologies is accordingly on the increase. In particular, large amounts of waste wood are simply burned or thrown away causing considerable environmental damage. In this context the co-generation technique represents one of the possible solutions for efficient energy conversion. The present paper proposes the employment of a Stirling engine as prime mover in a co-generation set equipped with a wood gasifier. A Stirling engine prototype previously developed in a joint project with Mase Generators, an Italian manufacturer of fixed and portable electrogenerators, is illustrated and its design is described.

  19. Conceptual Trade Study of General Purpose Heat Source Powered Stirling Converter Configurations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turpin, J. B.

    2007-01-01

    This Technical Manual describes a parametric study of general purpose heat source (GPHS) powered Stirling converter configurations. This study was performed in support of MSFC s efforts to establish the capability to perform non-nuclear system level testing and integration of radioisotope power systems. Six different GPHS stack configurations at a total of three different power levels (80, 250, and 500 W(sub e) were analyzed. The thermal profiles of the integrated GPHS modules (for each configuration) were calculated to determine maximum temperatures for comparison to allowable material limits. Temperature profiles for off-nominal power conditions were also assessed in order to better understand how power demands from the Stirling engine impact the performance of a given configuration.

  20. Technology demonstration of a free-piston stirling advanced radioisotope space power system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, Maurice A.; Qiu, Songgang; Olan, Ronald W.; Erbeznik, Raymond M.

    1999-01-01

    Free-piston Stirling convertors (Stirling engine with integral linear alternator) are a mature technology with demonstrated long-life, maintenance-free, degradation-free operation exceeding 46,000 hours (5+ years) on one unit. Tens of thousands of hours have been accumulated on numerous systems in beta trials, plus more than 8 million flexure-hours (900 flexure-years) on the most critical component (flexure bearings), all with no failures when operated within specifications. Vibration is a key concern for Stirling convertors in space. Recent tests have demonstrated a factor of 50 reduction in vibration, relative to a single convertor, by coupling two convertors mechanically and electrically. Even though the measured vibration level is below Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) specified vibration objectives, demonstration of an additional factor of 10 vibration reduction is pending with an active vibration reduction system. Stirling cycle efficiency is well established. A four-convertor 150-W(e) end of mission (EOM) power system for deep space missions is projected to require only three general purpose heat source (GPHS) modules with conservative Inconel 718 heater heads, leaving significant efficiency improvement potential when used with higher temperature materials. Even in the unlikely scenario of one inoperative convertor, the other three convertors ramp up to provide full output. A two-convertor demonstration system, representative of one-half of a 150-W(e) power system, is described in this paper and scheduled to become operational in December 1998.

  1. Large Parabolic Dish collectors with small gas-turbine, Stirling engine or photovoltaic power conversion systems

    SciTech Connect

    Gehlisch, K.; Heikal, H.; Mobarak, A.; Simon, M.

    1982-08-01

    A comparison for different solar thermal power plants is presented and demonstrates that the large parabolic dish in association with a gas turbine or a Sterling engine could be a competitive system design in the net power range of 50-1000KW. The important advantages of the Large Parabolic Dish concept compared to the Farm and Tower concept are discussed: concentration ratios up to 5000 and uniform heat flux distribution throughout the day which allow very high receiver temperatures and therefor high receiver efficiency to operate effectively Stirling motors or small gas turbines in the mentioned power range with an overall efficiency of 20 to 30%. The high focal plane concentration leads to the efficient use of ceramic materials for receivers of the next generation, applicable in temperature ranges up to 1,300 /sup 0/C for energy converters. Besides the production of electricity, the system can supply process heat in the temperature range of 100 to 400 /sup 0/C as waste heat from the gas turbo converter and heat at temperature levels from 500 to 900 /sup 0/C (1300 /sup 0/C) directly out of the receiver.

  2. Advanced Stirling Convertor Dual Convertor Controller Testing at NASA Glenn Research Center in the Radioisotope Power Systems System Integration Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dugala, Gina M.; Taylor, Linda M.; Bell, Mark E.; Dolce, James L.; Fraeman, Martin; Frankford, David P.

    2015-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) developed a non-nuclear representation of a Radioisotope Power System (RPS) consisting of a pair of Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASC), a Dual Convertor Controller (DCC) EM (engineering model) 2 & 3, and associated support equipment, which were tested in the Radioisotope Power Systems System Integration Laboratory (RSIL). The DCC was designed by the Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) to actively control a pair of Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASC). The first phase of testing included a Dual Advanced Stirling Convertor Simulator (DASCS) which was developed by JHU/APL and simulates the operation and electrical behavior of a pair of ASC's in real time via a combination of hardware and software. RSIL provides insight into the electrical interactions between a representative radioisotope power generator, its associated control schemes, and realistic electric system loads. The first phase of integration testing included the following spacecraft bus configurations: capacitive, battery, and supercapacitor. A load profile, created based on data from several missions, tested the RPS and RSIL ability to maintain operation during load demands above and below the power provided by the RPS. The integration testing also confirmed the DCC's ability to disconnect from the spacecraft when the bus voltage dipped below 22 V or exceeded 36 V. Once operation was verified with the DASCS, the tests were repeated with actual operating ASC's. The goal of this integration testing was to verify operation of the DCC when connected to a spacecraft and to verify the functionality of the newly designed RSIL. The results of these tests are presented in this paper.

  3. Advanced Small Free-Piston Stirling Convertors for Space Power Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, J. Gary; Lane, Neill

    2004-02-01

    This paper reports on the current status of an advanced 35 We free-piston Stirling convertor currently being developed under NASA SBIR Phase II funding. Also described is a further advanced and higher performance ~80 watt free-piston convertor being developed by Sunpower and Boeing/Rocketdyne for NASA under NRA funding. Exceptional overall convertor (engine plus linear alternator) thermodynamic performance (greater than 50% of Carnot) with specific powers around 100 We /kg appear reasonable at these low power levels.

  4. Overview of Stirling Technology Research at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, Scott D.; Schifer, Nicholas A.; Williams, Zachary D.; Metscher, Jonathan F.

    2015-01-01

    Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) are under development to provide power on future space science missions where robotic spacecraft will orbit, flyby, land or rove using less than a quarter of the plutonium the currently available RPS uses to produce about the same power. Glenn Research Center's (GRC's) newly formulated Stirling Cycle Technology Development Project (SCTDP) continues development of Stirling-based systems and subsystems, which include a flight-like generator and related housing assembly, controller, and convertors. The project also develops less mature technologies under Stirling Technology Research, with a focus on demonstration in representative environments to increase the technology readiness level (TRL). Matured technologies are evaluated for selection in future generator designs. Stirling Technology Research tasks focus on a wide variety of objectives, including increasing temperature capability to enable new environments, reducing generator mass and/or size, improving reliability or system fault tolerance, and developing alternative designs. The task objectives and status are summarized.

  5. Overview of Stirling Technology Research at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, Scott D.; Schifer, Nicholas A.; Williams, Zachary D.; Metscher, Jonathan F.

    2016-01-01

    Stirling Radioisotope Power Systems (RPSs) are under development to provide power on future space science missions where robotic spacecraft will orbit, fly by, land, or rove using less than a quarter of the plutonium the currently available RPS uses to produce about the same power. NASA Glenn Research Center's newly formulated Stirling Cycle Technology Development Project (SCTDP) continues development of Stirling-based systems and subsystems, which include a flight-like generator and related housing assembly, controller, and convertors. The project also develops less mature technologies under Stirling Technology Research, with a focus on demonstration in representative environments to increase the technology readiness level (TRL). Matured technologies are evaluated for selection in future generator designs. Stirling Technology Research tasks focus on a wide variety of objectives, including increasing temperature capability to enable new environments, reducing generator mass and/or size, improving reliability and system fault tolerance, and developing alternative designs. The task objectives and status are summarized.

  6. A 1987 overview of free-piston Stirling technology for space power application

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slaby, Jack G.; Alger, Donald L.

    1987-01-01

    An overview is presented of the NASA Lewis Research Center free-piston Stirling engine activities directed toward space-power application. NASA Lewis serves as the project office to manage the newly initiated NASA SP-100 Advanced Technology Program. One of the major elements of this five-year program is the development of advanced power conversion concepts of which the Stirling cycle is a viable growth candidate. Under this program the status of the 25 kWe opposed-piston Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) is presented. Included in the SPDE discussion are comparisons between predicted and experimental engine performance, enhanced performance resulting from regenerator modification, increased operating stroke brought about by isolating the gas bearing flow between the displacer and power piston, identifying excessive energy losses and recommending corrective action, and a better understanding of linear alternator design and operation. Technology work is also conducted on heat exchanger concepts, both design and fabrication. Design parameters and conceptual design features are also presented for a 25 kWe, single-cylinder free-piston Stirling space-power converter.

  7. Holistic Modeling, Design & Analysis of Integrated Stirling and Auxiliary Clean Energy Systems for Combined Heat and Power Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nayak, Amrit Om

    The research revolves around the development of a model to design and analyze Stirling systems. Lack of a standard approach to study Stirling systems and difficulty in generalizing existing approaches pose stiff challenges. A stable mathematical model (integrated second order adiabatic and dynamic model) is devised and validated for general use. The research attempts to design compact combined heat and power (CHP) system to run on multiple biomass fuels and solar energy. Analysis is also carried out regarding the design of suitable auxiliary systems like thermal energy storage system, biomass moisture removal system and Fresnel solar collector for the CHP Stirling system.

  8. Stirling engines. (Latest citations from the Aerospace database). Published Search

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-09-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning fuel consumption, engine design and testing, computerized simulation, and lubrication systems relative to the Stirling cycle engine. Solar energy conversion research, thermodynamic efficiency, economics, and utilization for power generation and automobile engines are included. Materials used in Stirling engines are briefly evaluated. (Contains 250 citations and includes a subject term index and title list.)

  9. Stirling engine power control and motion conversion mechanism

    DOEpatents

    Marks, David T.

    1983-01-01

    A motion conversion device for converting between the reciprocating motion of the pistons in a Stirling engine and the rotating motion of its output shaft, and for changing the stroke and phase of the pistons, includes a lever pivoted at one end and having a cam follower at the other end. The piston rod engages the lever intermediate its ends and the cam follower engages a cam keyed to the output shaft. The lever pivot can be moved to change the length of the moment arm defined between the cam follower and the piston rod the change the piston stroke and force exerted on the cam, and the levers can be moved in opposite directions to change the phase between pistons.

  10. Stirling engine power control and motion conversion mechanism

    SciTech Connect

    Marks, D.T.

    1983-07-12

    A motion conversion device for converting between the reciprocating motion of the pistons in a Stirling engine and the rotating motion of its output shaft, and for changing the stroke and phase of the pistons, includes a lever pivoted at one end and having a cam follower at the other end. The piston rod engages the lever intermediate its ends and the cam follower engages a cam keyed to the output shaft. The lever pivot can be moved to change the length of the moment arm defined between the cam follower and the piston rod the change the piston stroke and force exerted on the cam, and the levers can be moved in opposite directions to change the phase between pistons. 3 figs.

  11. Status update of a free-piston Stirling convertor for radioisotope space power systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, Maurice; Qiu, Songgang; Augenblick, Jack; Peterson, Allen; Faultersack, Frank

    2001-02-01

    Free-piston Stirling engines offer a relatively mature technology that is well-suited for advanced, high-efficiency radioisotope space power systems. This paper updates results from a combination of DOE and NASA contracts with Stirling Technology Company (STC). These contracts have demonstrated STC's Stirling convertor technology in a configuration and power level representative of a space power system. Based on demonstrated performance, long-life maintenance-free technology heritage, and success with aggressively imposed vibration testing. DOE has awarded system integration contracts to Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Teledyne Energy Systems. The objectives of these competitive Phase I contracts are to develop complete spacecraft power system conceptual designs based on the STC Stirling convertor, and to plan subsequent phases for two launches. Performance results for the DOE 55-W(e) Technology Demonstration Convertors (TDC's) have met original projections. Although the TDC's were intended only for technology demonstration, they have achieved very aggressive efficiency goals, demonstrated convertor-induced vibration levels below the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) specifications, passed a simulated launch load vibration test at 0.2 g2/Hz (12.3 g rms), and met EMI/EMC goals for most contemplated missions. No consideration for EMI reduction was included in the TDC design. Minor changes are underway to reduce EMI levels, with a goal of meeting specifications for missions such as Solar Probe with highly sensitive instrumentation. The long-term objective for DOE is to develop a power system with a system efficiency exceeding 20% that can function with a high degree of reliability for 10 years and longer on deep space missions. .

  12. The tribology of PS212 coatings and PM212 composites for the lubrication of titanium 6Al-4V components of a Stirling engine space power system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sliney, Harold E.; Lukaszewicz, Victor; Dellacorte, Christopher

    1994-01-01

    The Stirling space power machine incorporates a linear alternator to generate electrical power. The alternator is a reciprocating device that is driven by a solar or nuclear-powered Stirling engine. The power piston and cylinder are made of titanium 6Al-4V (Ti6-4) alloy, and are designed to be lubricated by a hydrodynamically-generated gas film. Rubbing occurs during starts and stops and there is the possibility of an occasional high speed rub. Since titanium is known to have a severe galling tendency in sliding contacts, a 'back-up', self-lubricating coating on the cylinder and/or the piston is needed. This report describes the results of a research program to study the lubrication of Ti6-4 with the following chromium carbide based materials: plasma-sprayed PS212 coatings and sintered PM212 counterfaces. Program objectives are to achieve adherent coatings on Ti6-4 and to measure the friction and wear characteristics of the following sliding combinations under conditions simulative of the Stirling-driven space power linear alternator: Ti6-4/Ti6-4 baseline, Ti6-4/PS212-coated Ti6-4, and PS212-coated Ti6-4/PM212.

  13. Programmatic status of NASA's CSTI high capacity power Stirling space power converter program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dudenhoefer, James E.

    1990-01-01

    An overview is presented of the NASA Lewis Research Center Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Converter Technology Development Program. This work is being conducted under NASA's Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). The goal of the CSTI High Capacity Power element is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space initiatives. Efforts are focused upon increasing system thermal and electric energy conversion efficiency at least fivefold over current SP-100 technology, and on achieving systems that are compatible with space nuclear reactors. The status of test activities with the Space Power Research Engine (SPRE) is discussed. Design deficiencies are gradually being corrected and the power converter is now outputting 11.5 kWe at a temperature ratio of 2 (design output is 12.5 kWe). Detail designs were completed for the 1050 K Component Test Power Converter (CTPC). The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, gas bearings, superalloy joining technologies and high efficiency alternators. An update of progress in these technologies is provided.

  14. Programmatic status of NASA`s CSTI high capacity power Stirling Space Power Converter Program

    SciTech Connect

    Dudenhoefer, J.E.

    1994-09-01

    An overview is presented of the NASA Lewis Research Center Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Converter Technology Development Program. This work is being conducted under NASA`s Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). The goal of the CSTI High Capacity Power element is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space initiatives. Efforts are focused upon increasing system thermal and electric energy conversion efficiency at least fivefold over current SP-100 technology, and on achieving systems that are compatible with space nuclear reactors. This paper will discuss the status of test activities with the Space Power Research Engine (SPRE). Design deficiencies are gradually being corrected and the power converter is now outputting 11.5 kWe at a temperature ratio of 2 (design output is 12.5 kWe). Detail designs have been completed for the 1050 K Component Test Power Converter (CTPC). The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, gas bearings, superalloy joining technologies and high efficiency alternators. This paper also provides an update of progress in these technologies.

  15. Heat pipe heat transport system for the Stirling Space Power Converter (SSPC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alger, Donald L.

    1992-01-01

    Life issues relating to a sodium heat pipe heat transport system are described. The heat pipe system provides heat, at a temperature of 1050 K, to a 50 kWe Stirling engine/linear alternator power converter called the Stirling Space Power Converter (SSPC). The converter is being developed under a National Aeronautics and Space Administration program. Since corrosion of heat pipe materials in contact with sodium can impact the life of the heat pipe, a literature review of sodium corrosion processes was performed. It was found that the impurity reactions, primarily oxygen, and dissolution of alloy elements were the two corrosion process likely to be operative in the heat pipe. Approaches that are being taken to minimize these corrosion processes are discussed.

  16. Stirling Isotope Power System Program. Final report, January 1978-December 1980

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1980-12-01

    The Stirling Isotope Power System (SIPS) design is discussed, including the control system and engine starter. The development, of fabrication, and testing of the SIPS converter are presented. The work performed on the Isotope Heat Source Assembly is described. The ancillary equipment, system integration and qualification, and safety are discussed. The safety discussion consists primarily of prediction of dose rates around the IHS and the influence on handling equipment design. Reliability and quality assurance are included. (MHR)

  17. Stirling Engine for Classroom Demonstration Purposes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Andrew

    2005-04-01

    In the study of Thermodynamics, the Carnot cycle is representative of an ideal engine. Such an engine has the maximum efficiency possible for a given temperature difference. The Stirling Cycle engine closely resembles the Carnot cycle in terms of efficiency. In order to demonstrate the Stirling Cycle in a classroom setting, a Stirling engine was built. Robert Stirling first patented the Stirling engine in 1816. The Stirling engine runs on the temperature differential between hot and cold air. As the air is cycled through the engine, the expansion and contraction of the air drives the piston. The work on the piston is transferred into mechanical work via a walking beam. There are no exhaust values that vent gases, because the gases inside the engine never leave. The power for the Stirling engine does not come from explosions like a combustion engine. Rather, the engine is powered by an external heat source. These engines also have practical purposes. They are used in very specialized applications where quiet operation is important. Examples of such uses are in submarines and auxiliary power generators.

  18. NASA GRC Technology Development Project for a Stirling Radioisotope Power System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thieme, Lanny G.; Schreiber, Jeffrey G.

    2000-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and Stirling Technology Company (STC) are developing a Stirling convertor for an advanced radioisotope power system to provide spacecraft on-board electric power for NASA deep space missions. NASA GRC is conducting an in-house project to provide convertor, component, and materials testing and evaluation in support of the overall power system development. A first characterization of the DOE/STC 55-We Stirling Technology Demonstration Convertor (TDC) under the expected launch random vibration environment was recently completed in the NASA GRC Structural Dynamics Laboratory. Two TDCs also completed an initial electromagnetic interference (EMI) characterization at NASA GRC while being tested in a synchronized, opposed configuration. Materials testing is underway to support a life assessment of the heater head, and magnet characterization and aging tests have been initiated. Test facilities are now being established for an independent convertor performance verification and technology development. A preliminary Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA), initial finite element analysis (FEA) for the linear alternator, ionizing radiation survivability assessment, and radiator parametric study have also been completed. This paper will discuss the status, plans, and results to date for these efforts.

  19. An experimental study on a model Stirling engine car

    SciTech Connect

    Sohma, Yutaka; Wu, Chungming; Isshiki, Seita; Ushiyama, Izumi

    1999-07-01

    A Stirling engine is a mechanical device that operates on a closed regenerative thermodynamic cycle, with cyclic compression and expansion of the working fluid at different temperature levels. The flow is controlled by volume changes, and there exists a net conversion of the heat to work. Stirling engines are ideally suited to off-grid electric power generation because of their multi-fuel capability, potentially high efficiency and low noise. The first model Stirling Techno-rally was held in August 1997 for further promotion of the clean and quiet Stirling engine as one of the Centennial Anniversary events of JSME. In the race, more than one hundred cars competed for the time on a course of 13 meters length and 30 centimeters width. In Ashikaga Institute of Technology, a model Stirling engine car Ashikaga Gekkoh was made for this event. In this paper the authors report on this model car that won the championship of the Stirling Techno-rally.

  20. Overview of NASA Lewis Research Center free-piston Stirling engine technology activities applicable to space power systems

    SciTech Connect

    Slaby, J.G.

    1987-01-01

    An overview is presented of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center free-piston Stirling engine activities directed toward space-power application. One of the major elements of the program is the development of advanced power conversion concepts of which the Stirling cycle is a viable candidate. Under this program the research findings of the 25 kWe opposed-piston Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) are presented. Included in the SPDE discussion are initial differences between predicted and experimental power outputs and power output influenced by variations in regenerators. Projections are made for future space-power requirements over the next few decades. A cursory comparison is presented showing the mass benefits that a Stirling system has over a Brayton system for the same peak temperature and output power.

  1. A feasibility assessment of magnetic bearings for free-piston Stirling space power converters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Curwen, Peter W.; Rao, Dantam K.; Wilson, Donald R.

    1992-06-01

    This report describes a design and analysis study performed by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) under NASA Contract NAS3-26061. The objective of the study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of applying magnetic bearings to free-piston Stirling-cycle power conversion machinery of the type currently being evaluated for possible use in long-term space missions. The study was performed for a 50-kWe Reference Stirling Space Power Converter (RSSPC) system consisting of two 25-kWe free-piston Stirling engine modules. Two different versions of the RSSPC engine modules have been defined under NASA Contract NAS3-25463. These modules currently use hydrostatic gas bearings to support the reciprocating displacer and power piston assemblies. Results of this study show that active magnetic bearings of the attractive electromagnetic type are technically feasible for RSSPC application provided that wire insulation with 60,000-hr life capability at 300 C can be developed for the bearing coils. From a design integration standpoint, both versions of the RSSPC were found to be conceptually amenable to magnetic support of the power piston assembly. However, only one version of the RSSPC was found to be amendable to magnetic support of the displacer assembly. Unacceptable changes to the basic engine design would be required to incorporate magnetic displacer bearings into the second version. Complete magnetic suspension of the RSSPC can potentially increase overall efficiency of the Stirling cycle power converter by 0.53 to 1.4 percent (0.15 to 0.4 efficiency points). Magnetic bearings will also overcome several operational concerns associated with hydrostatic gas bearing systems. However, these advantages are accompanied by a 5 to 8 percent increase in specific mass of the RSSPC, depending on the RSSPC version employed. Additionally, magnetic bearings are much more complex, both mechanically and particularly electronically, than hydrostatic bearings. Accordingly, long

  2. A feasibility assessment of magnetic bearings for free-piston Stirling space power converters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Curwen, Peter W.; Rao, Dantam K.; Wilson, Donald R.

    1992-01-01

    This report describes a design and analysis study performed by Mechanical Technology Incorporated (MTI) under NASA Contract NAS3-26061. The objective of the study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of applying magnetic bearings to free-piston Stirling-cycle power conversion machinery of the type currently being evaluated for possible use in long-term space missions. The study was performed for a 50-kWe Reference Stirling Space Power Converter (RSSPC) system consisting of two 25-kWe free-piston Stirling engine modules. Two different versions of the RSSPC engine modules have been defined under NASA Contract NAS3-25463. These modules currently use hydrostatic gas bearings to support the reciprocating displacer and power piston assemblies. Results of this study show that active magnetic bearings of the attractive electromagnetic type are technically feasible for RSSPC application provided that wire insulation with 60,000-hr life capability at 300 C can be developed for the bearing coils. From a design integration standpoint, both versions of the RSSPC were found to be conceptually amenable to magnetic support of the power piston assembly. However, only one version of the RSSPC was found to be amendable to magnetic support of the displacer assembly. Unacceptable changes to the basic engine design would be required to incorporate magnetic displacer bearings into the second version. Complete magnetic suspension of the RSSPC can potentially increase overall efficiency of the Stirling cycle power converter by 0.53 to 1.4 percent (0.15 to 0.4 efficiency points). Magnetic bearings will also overcome several operational concerns associated with hydrostatic gas bearing systems. However, these advantages are accompanied by a 5 to 8 percent increase in specific mass of the RSSPC, depending on the RSSPC version employed. Additionally, magnetic bearings are much more complex, both mechanically and particularly electronically, than hydrostatic bearings. Accordingly, long

  3. A Small Fission Power System with Stirling Power Conversion for NASA Science Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mason, Lee; Carmichael, Chad

    2011-01-01

    In early 2010, a joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Energy (DOE) study team developed a concept for a 1 kWe Fission Power System with a 15-year design life that could be available for a 2020 launch to support future NASA science missions. The baseline concept included a solid block uranium-molybdenum reactor core with embedded heat pipes and distributed thermoelectric converters directly coupled to aluminum radiator fins. A short follow-on study was conducted at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) to evaluate an alternative power conversion approach. The GRC study considered the use of free-piston Stirling power conversion as a substitution to the thermoelectric converters. The resulting concept enables a power increase to 3 kWe with the same reactor design and scalability to 10 kW without changing the reactor technology. This paper presents the configuration layout, system performance, mass summary, and heat transfer analysis resulting from the study.

  4. Two-tiered design analysis of a radiator for a solar dynamic powered Stirling engine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hainley, Donald C.

    1989-01-01

    Two separate design approaches for a pumped loop radiator used to transfer heat from the cold end of a solar dynamic powered Stirling engine are described. The first approach uses a standard method to determine radiator requirements to meet specified end of mission conditions. Trade-off studies conducted for the analysis are included. Justification of this concept within the specified parameters of the analysis is provided. The second design approach determines the life performance of the radiator/Stirling system. In this approach, the system performance was altered by reducing the radiator heat transfer area. Performance effects and equilibrium points were determined as radiator segments were removed. This simulates the effect of loss of radiator sections due to micro-meteoroid and space debris penetration. The two designs are compared on the basis of overall system requirements and goals.

  5. Two-tiered design analysis of a radiator for a solar dynamic powered Stirling engine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hainley, Donald C.

    1989-01-01

    Two separate design approaches for a pumped loop radiator used to transfer heat from the cold end of a solar dynamic powered Stirling engine are described. The first approach uses a standard method to determine radiator requirements to meet specified end of mission conditions. Trade-off studies conducted for the analysis are included. Justification of this concept within the specified parameters of the analysis is provided. The second design approach determines the life performance of the radiator/Stirling system. In this approach, the system performance was altered by reducing the radiator heat transfer area. Performance effects and equilibrium points were determined as radiator segments were removed. This simulates the effect of loss of radiator sections due to micro-meteoroid and space debris penetration. The two designs were compared on the basis of overall system requirements and goals.

  6. Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power lunar applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Mason, Lee S.

    1991-01-01

    An analysis is performed to mathematically model a 550 kWe lunar base power supply which uses a SP-100 reactor coupled with Stirling converters. The reactor is placed in an excavation to keep activated coolant in the hole and to allow maintance of the components outside the hole. Two technology levels are considered. They are 1050 and 1300 K heater head Stirling converts. It is found that for a 1050 K converter the total mass which provided 1000 volts dc at 250 m is 14,366 kg while the 1300 K system mass is 12,104 kg. The radiation area of the 1050 and 1300 K systems are 641 and 356 sq m respectively. Comparisons are made with Brayton and thermionic systems with both near term and advanced technology considered.

  7. Space reactor/Stirling cycle systems for high power lunar application

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, Paul C.; Mason, Lee S.

    1991-01-01

    An analysis is performed to mathematically model a 550 kWe lunar base power supply which uses a SP-100 reactor coupled with Stirling converters. The reactor is placed in an excavation to keep activated coolant in the hole and to allow maintenance of the components outside the hole. Two technology levels are considered. They are 1050 and 1300 K heater head Stirling converts. It is found that for a 1050 K converter the total mass which provided 1000 volts DC at 250 m is 14,366 kg while the 1300 K system mass is 12,104 kg. The radiation area of the 1050 and 1300 K systems are 641 and 356 sq m respectively. Comparisons are made with Brayton and thermionic systems with both near term and advanced technology considered.

  8. Free-Piston Stirling Engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaltens, Richard K.

    1989-01-01

    Engines promise cost-effective solar-power generation. Report describes two concepts for Stirling-engine systems for conversion of solar heat to electrical energy. Recognized most promising technologies for meeting U.S. Department of Energy goals for performance and cost for terrestrial electrical-energy sources.

  9. Component improvement of free-piston Stirling engine key technology for space power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alger, Donald L.

    1988-01-01

    The successful performance of the 25 kW Space Power Demonstrator (SPD) engine during an extensive testing period has provided a baseline of free piston Stirling engine technology from which future space Stirling engines may evolve. Much of the success of the engine was due to the initial careful selection of engine materials, fabrication and joining processes, and inspection procedures. Resolution of the few SPD engine problem areas that did occur has resulted in the technological advancement of certain key free piston Stirling engine components. Derivation of two half-SPD, single piston engines from the axially opposed piston SPD engine, designated as Space Power Research (SPR) engines, has made possible the continued improvement of these engine components. The two SPR engines serve as test bed engines for testing of engine components. Some important fabrication and joining processes are reviewed. Also, some component deficiencies that were discovered during SPD engine testing are described and approaches that were taken to correct these deficiencies are discussed. Potential component design modifications, based upon the SPD and SPR engine testing, are also reported.

  10. Experimental and vector analysis on gamma type Stirling engine with hot power cylinder

    SciTech Connect

    Isshiki, Naotsugu; Tsukahara, Shigeji; Ohtomo, Michihiro

    1995-12-31

    In 1993, the superiority of hot end connected power cylinder gamma type Stirling engine (HEC) compared to the conventional cold end connected power cylinder engine (CEC) was reported by Prof. J.Kentfield of the University of Calgary. It is a great thing that he introduced the HEC engine, and it reminded the authors that in 1980, they built and experimented with a three cylinder 3kW Stirling engine SRI-1, in which two cylinders are positively heated by gas, that is called HCH (Hot, Cold and Hot) engine as shown in a figure, and having similarity to the above HEC. The authors have developed a quite simple and understandable approximate harmonic vector analysis method for Stirling machines. By this, Kentfield`s HEC engine and their HCH engine are expressed by the same figure as shown in the paper. The similarity and superiority of HEC and HCH compared to CEC and CHC are easily shown by the vector analysis method with physical reason.

  11. Geothermal Power Generation

    SciTech Connect

    2007-11-15

    The report provides an overview of the renewed market interest in using geothermal for power generation including a concise look at what's driving interest in geothermal power generation, the current status of geothermal power generation, and plans for the future. Topics covered in the report include: an overview of geothermal power generation including its history, the current market environment, and its future prospects; an analysis of the key business factors that are driving renewed interest in geothermal power generation; an analysis of the challenges that are hindering the implementation of geothermal power generation projects; a description of geothermal power generation technologies; a review of the economic drivers of geothermal power generation project success; profiles of the major geothermal power producing countries; and, profiles of the major geothermal power project developers.

  12. Progress update of NASA's free-piston Stirling space power converter technology project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dudenhoefer, James E.; Winter, Jerry M.; Alger, Donald

    1992-01-01

    A progress update is presented of the NASA LeRC Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Converter Technology Project. This work is being conducted under NASA's Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). The goal of the CSTI High Capacity Power Element is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space initiatives. Efforts are focused upon increasing system power output and system thermal and electric energy conversion efficiency at least five fold over current SP-100 technology, and on achieving systems that are compatible with space nuclear reactors. This paper will discuss progress toward 1050 K Stirling Space Power Converters. Fabrication is nearly completed for the 1050 K Component Test Power Converter (CTPC); results of motoring tests of the cold end (525 K), are presented. The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, bearings, superalloy joining technologies, high efficiency alternators, life and reliability testing, and predictive methodologies. This paper will compare progress in significant areas of component development from the start of the program with the Space Power Development Engine (SPDE) to the present work on CTPC.

  13. Progress update of NASA's free-piston Stirling space power converter technology project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dudenhoefer, James E.; Winter, Jerry M.; Alger, Donald

    1992-08-01

    A progress update is presented of the NASA LeRC Free-Piston Stirling Space Power Converter Technology Project. This work is being conducted under NASA's Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI). The goal of the CSTI High Capacity Power Element is to develop the technology base needed to meet the long duration, high capacity power requirements for future NASA space initiatives. Efforts are focused upon increasing system power output and system thermal and electric energy conversion efficiency at least five fold over current SP-100 technology, and on achieving systems that are compatible with space nuclear reactors. This paper will discuss progress toward 1050 K Stirling Space Power Converters. Fabrication is nearly completed for the 1050 K Component Test Power Converter (CTPC); results of motoring tests of the cold end (525 K), are presented. The success of these and future designs is dependent upon supporting research and technology efforts including heat pipes, bearings, superalloy joining technologies, high efficiency alternators, life and reliability testing, and predictive methodologies. This paper will compare progress in significant areas of component development from the start of the program with the Space Power Development Engine (SPDE) to the present work on CTPC.

  14. Design of a transverse-flux permanent-magnet linear generator and controller for use with a free-piston stirling engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Jigui; Huang, Yuping; Wu, Hongxing; Zheng, Ping

    2016-06-01

    Transverse-flux with high efficiency has been applied in Stirling engine and permanent magnet synchronous linear generator system, however it is restricted for large application because of low and complex process. A novel type of cylindrical, non-overlapping, transverse-flux, and permanent-magnet linear motor(TFPLM) is investigated, furthermore, a high power factor and less process complexity structure research is developed. The impact of magnetic leakage factor on power factor is discussed, by using the Finite Element Analysis(FEA) model of stirling engine and TFPLM, an optimization method for electro-magnetic design of TFPLM is proposed based on magnetic leakage factor. The relation between power factor and structure parameter is investigated, and a structure parameter optimization method is proposed taking power factor maximum as a goal. At last, the test bench is founded, starting experimental and generating experimental are performed, and a good agreement of simulation and experimental is achieved. The power factor is improved and the process complexity is decreased. This research provides the instruction to design high-power factor permanent-magnet linear generator.

  15. Universal power optimized work for reciprocating internally reversible Stirling-like heat engine cycles with regeneration and linear external heat transfer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blank, David A.

    1998-09-01

    When bounded by two infinite thermal reservoirs, the theory of irreversible thermodynamics for reciprocating externally irreversible cycles yields to an optimum efficiency at maximum power output of η=1-(TL/TH)0.5 for internally reversible Stirling-like cycles using regeneration and linear heat transfer modes is in contrast to the upper limit for Stirling cycles of η=1-(TL/TH) obtained from classical thermodynamics. This optimum behavior is, however, only based on cycle temperature bounds. For reciprocating cycles one must go a step further and minimize cycle time. While executing this new step for finite thermal reservoirs, it was discovered that, for the general family of reciprocating Stirling-like cycles, the finite-time optimum work output (Wopt) at maximum power is less than (and in the limit of ideal regeneration, infinite reservoirs and of no internal irreversibility, is equal to) exactly one-half of the work of the externally reversible cycle operating at maximum thermal efficiency (Carnot work, Wrev) between the same temperature limits (i.e., Wopt⩽1/2Wrev). To accomplish this the analysis goes beyond earlier works to use time symmetry to better optimize overall cycle power. Because this procedure results in the concurrent employment of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, it ensures optimal allocation of thermal conductances at the hot and cold ends while simultaneously achieving both minimization of internal entropy generation and maximization of specific cycle work for a given set of operating temperatures. Based on linear heat transfer laws, this expression for optimum work is shown to be independent of heat conductances. Finally, the analysis establishes that the maximum power attainable for a Stirling-like reciprocating cycle operating between two temperature bounds is always less than (and in the limit of power optimized Carnot conditions, equal to) one-half of that obtained for the continuous counterpart of the same cycle operating

  16. Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit 2 (ASRG EU2) Final Assembly

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oriti, Salvatore M.

    2015-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) has recently completed the assembly of a unique Stirling generator test article for laboratory experimentation. Under the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) flight development contract, NASA GRC initiated a task to design and fabricate a flight-like generator for in-house testing. This test article was given the name ASRG Engineering Unit 2 (EU2) as it was effectively the second engineering unit to be built within the ASRG project. The intent of the test article was to duplicate Lockheed Martin's qualification unit ASRG design as much as possible to enable system-level tests not previously possible at GRC. After the cancellation of the ASRG flight development project, the decision was made to continue the EU2 build, and make use of a portion of the hardware from the flight development project. GRC and Lockheed Martin engineers collaborated to develop assembly procedures, leveraging the valuable knowledge gathered by Lockheed Martin during the ASRG development contract. The ASRG EU2 was then assembled per these procedures at GRC with Lockheed Martin engineers on site. The assembly was completed in August 2014. This paper details the components that were used for the assembly, and the assembly process itself.

  17. Testing of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit at NASA Glenn Research Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.

    2013-01-01

    The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is a high-efficiency generator being developed for potential use on a Discovery 12 space mission. Lockheed Martin designed and fabricated the ASRG Engineering Unit (EU) under contract to the Department of Energy. This unit was delivered to NASA Glenn Research Center in 2008 and has been undergoing extended operation testing to generate long-term performance data for an integrated system. It has also been used for tests to characterize generator operation while varying control parameters and system inputs, both when controlled with an alternating current (AC) bus and with a digital controller. The ASRG EU currently has over 27,000 hours of operation. This paper summarizes all of the tests that have been conducted on the ASRG EU over the past 3 years and provides an overview of the test results and what was learned.

  18. Optimized Heat Pipe Backup Cooling System Tested with a Stirling Convertor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tarau, Calin; Schwendeman, Carl L.; Schifer, Nicholas A.; Anderson, William G.

    2016-01-01

    Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is an attractive energy system for select space missions, and with the addition of a VCHP, it becomes even more versatile. The ASRG is powered through thermal energy from decaying radioisotopes acting as General Purpose Heat Sources (GPHS). A Stirling engine converts the thermal energy to electrical energy and cools the GPHS [2]. The Stirling convertor must operate continuously to maintain acceptable temperatures of the GPHS and protect their cladding. The addition of alkali metal VCHP allows the Stirling to cycle on and off during a mission and can be used as a backup cooling system. The benefits of being able to turn the Stirling off are: allowing for a restart of the Stirling and reducing vibrations for sensitive measurements. The VCHP addition should also increase the efficiency of the Stirling by providing a uniform temperature distribution at the heat transfer interface into the heater head.

  19. Accomplishments in free-piston stirling tests at NASA GRC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreiber, Jeffrey G.; Skupinski, Robert C.

    2002-01-01

    A power system based on the Stirling Radioisotope Generator (SRG) has been identified for potential use on deep space missions, as well as for Mars rovers that may benefit from extended operation. The Department of Energy (DOE) has responsibility for developing the generator and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is supporting DOE in this effort. The generator is based on a free-piston Stirling power convertor that has been developed by the Stirling Technology Company (STC) under contract to DOE. The generator would be used as a high-efficiency alternative to the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) that have been used on many previous missions. The increased efficiency leads to a factor of 3 to 4 reduction in the inventory of plutonium required to heat the generator. GRC has been involved in the development of Stirling power conversion technology for over 25 years. The support provided to this project by GRC has many facets and draws upon the lab's scientists and engineers that have gained experience in applying their skills to the previous Stirling projects. This has created a staff with an understanding of the subtleties involved in applying their expertise to Stirling systems. Areas include materials, structures, tribology, controls, electromagnetic interference, permanent magnets, alternator analysis, structural dynamics, and cycle performance. One of the key areas of support to the project is in the performance testing of the free-piston Stirling convertors. Since these power convertors are the smallest, lowest power Stirling machines that have been tested at GRC, a new laboratory was equipped for this project. Procedures and test plans have been created, instrumentation and data systems developed, and Stirling convertors have been tested. This paper will describe the GRC test facility, the test procedures that are used, present some of the test results and outline plans for the future. .

  20. Natural Convection Cooling of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Engineering Unit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewandowski, Edward J.; Hill, Dennis

    2011-01-01

    After fueling and prior to launch, the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) will be stored for a period of time then moved to the launch pad for integration with the space probe and mounting on the launch vehicle. During this time, which could be as long as 3 years, the ASRG will operate continuously with heat rejected from the housing and fins. Typically, the generator will be cooled by forced convection using fans. During some of the ground operations, maintaining forced convection may add significant complexity, so allowing natural convection may simplify operations. A test was conducted on the ASRG Engineering Unit (EU) to quantify temperatures and operating parameters with natural convection only and determine if the EU could be safely operated in such an environment. The results show that with natural convection cooling the ASRG EU Stirling convertor pressure vessel temperatures and other parameters had significant margins while the EU was operated for several days in this configuration. Additionally, an update is provided on ASRG EU testing at NASA Glenn Research Center, where the ASRG EU has operated for over 16,000 hr and underwent extensive testing.

  1. Radioisotope Stirling Engine Powered Airship for Low Altitude Operation on Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Colozza, Anthony J.

    2012-01-01

    The feasibility of a Stirling engine powered airship for the near surface exploration of Venus was evaluated. The heat source for the Stirling engine was limited to 10 general purpose heat source (GPHS) blocks. The baseline airship utilized hydrogen as the lifting gas and the electronics and payload were enclosed in a cooled insulated pressure vessel to maintain the internal temperature at 320 K and 1 Bar pressure. The propulsion system consisted of an electric motor driving a propeller. An analysis was set up to size the airship that could operate near the Venus surface based on the available thermal power. The atmospheric conditions on Venus were modeled and used in the analysis. The analysis was an iterative process between sizing the airship to carry a specified payload and the power required to operate the electronics, payload and cooling system as well as provide power to the propulsion system to overcome the drag on the airship. A baseline configuration was determined that could meet the power requirements and operate near the Venus surface. From this baseline design additional trades were made to see how other factors affected the design such as the internal temperature of the payload chamber and the flight altitude. In addition other lifting methods were evaluated such as an evacuated chamber, heated atmospheric gas and augmented heated lifting gas. However none of these methods proved viable.

  2. Advanced Stirling Convertor Dual Convertor Controller Testing at NASA Glenn Research Center in the Radioisotope Power Systems System Integration Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dugala, Gina M.; Taylor, Linda M.; Bell, Mark E.; Dolce, James L.; Fraeman, Martin; Frankford, David P.

    2015-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center developed a nonnuclear representation of a Radioisotope Power System (RPS) consisting of a pair of Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs), Dual Convertor Controller (DCC) EMs (engineering models) 2 and 3, and associated support equipment, which were tested in the Radioisotope Power Systems System Integration Laboratory (RSIL). The DCC was designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) to actively control a pair of ASCs. The first phase of testing included a Dual Advanced Stirling Convertor Simulator (DASCS), which was developed by JHU/APL and simulates the operation and electrical behavior of a pair of ASCs in real time via a combination of hardware and software. RSIL provides insight into the electrical interactions between a representative radioisotope power generator, its associated control schemes, and realistic electric system loads. The first phase of integration testing included the following spacecraft bus configurations: capacitive, battery, and super-capacitor. A load profile, created based on data from several missions, tested the RPS's and RSIL's ability to maintain operation during load demands above and below the power provided by the RPS. The integration testing also confirmed the DCC's ability to disconnect from the spacecraft when the bus voltage dipped below 22 volts or exceeded 36 volts. Once operation was verified with the DASCS, the tests were repeated with actual operating ASCs. The goal of this integration testing was to verify operation of the DCC when connected to a spacecraft and to verify the functionality of the newly designed RSIL. The results of these tests are presented in this paper.

  3. Status of the Advanced Stirling Conversion System Project for 25 kW dish Stirling applications

    SciTech Connect

    Shaltens, R.K.; Schreiber, J.G.

    1991-01-01

    Under the Department of Energy's (DOE) Solar Thermal Technology Program, Sandia National Laboratories is evaluating heat engines for terrestrial Solar Heat Receivers. The Stirling engine has been identified by Sandia as one of the most promising heat engines for terrestrial applications. The Stirling engine also has the potential to meet DOE's performance and cost goals. The NASA Lewis Research Center is conducting technology development for Stirling convertors directed toward a dynamic power source for space applications. Space power requirements include high reliability with very long life, low vibration and high system efficiency. The free-piston Stirling engine has the potential for future high power space conversion systems, either nuclear or solar powered. Although both applications appear to be quite different, their requirements complement each other. NASA Lewis is providing management of the Advanced Stirling Conversion System (ASCS) Project through an Interagency Agreement (IAA) with the DOE. Parallel contracts continue with both Cummins Engine Company (CEC), Columbus, Indiana, and Stirling Technology Company (STC), Richland, Washington for the designs of an ASCS. Each system'' design features a solar receiver/liquid metal heat transport system, and a free-piston Stirling convertor with a means to provide nominally 25 kW of electric power to a utility grid while meeting DOE's performance and long-term'' cost goals. The Cummins free- piston Stirling convertor incorporates a linear alternator to directly provide the electrical output, while the STC design generates electrical power indirectly through a hydraulic pump/motor coupled to an induction generator. Both the Cummins and STC ASCS designs will use technology which can reasonably be expected to be available in the early 1990's. 17 refs., 7 figs., 3 tabs.

  4. Transient liquid phase diffusion bonding of Udimet 720 for Stirling power converter applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mittendorf, Donald L.; Baggenstoss, William G.

    1992-01-01

    Udimet 720 has been selected for use on Stirling power converters for space applications. Because Udimet 720 is generally considered susceptible to strain age cracking if traditional fusion welding is used, other joining methods are being considered. A process for transient liquid phase diffusion bonding of Udimet 720 has been theoretically developed in an effort to eliminate the strain age crack concern. This development has taken into account such variables as final grain size, joint homogenization, joint efficiency related to bonding aid material, bonding aid material application method, and thermal cycle.

  5. MHD Power Generation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kantrowitz, Arthur; Rosa, Richard J.

    1975-01-01

    Explains the operation of the Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generator and advantages of the system over coal, oil or nuclear powered generators. Details the development of MHD generators in the United States and Soviet Union. (CP)

  6. A conceptual study of the potential for automotive-derived and free-piston Stirling engines in 30- to 400-kilowatt stationary power applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vatsky, A.; Chen, H. S.; Dineen, J.

    1982-01-01

    The technical feasibility of applying automotive-derived kinematic and free-piston Stirling engine concepts for stationary applications was explored. Automotive-derived engines offer cost advantages by providing a mature and developd engine technology base with downrating and parts commonality options for specific applications. Two engine sizes (30 and 400 kW), two Stirling engine configurations (kinematic and free-piston), and two output systems (crankshaft and hydraulic pump) were studied. The study includes the influences of using either hydrogen or helium as the working gas. The first kinematic configuration selects an existing Stirling engine design from an automotive application and adapts it to stationary requirements. A 50,000-hour life requirement was established by downrating the engine to 40 kW and reducing auxiliary loads. Efficiency improvements were gained by selective material and geometric variations and peak brake efficiency of 36.8 percent using helium gas was achieved. The second design was a four-cylinder, 400 kW engine, utilizing a new output drive system known as the z-crank, which provides lower friction losses and variable stroke power control. Three different material and working gas combinations were considered. Brake efficiency levels varied from 40.5 percent to 45.6 percent. A 37.5 kW single-cycle, free-piston hydraulic output design was generated by scaling one cylinder of the original automotive engine and mating it to a counterbalanced reciprocal hydraulic pump. Metallic diaphragms were utilized to transmit power.

  7. A conceptual study of the potential for automotive-derived and free-piston Stirling engines in 30- to 400-kilowatt stationary power applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vatsky, A.; Chen, H. S.; Dineen, J.

    1982-05-01

    The technical feasibility of applying automotive-derived kinematic and free-piston Stirling engine concepts for stationary applications was explored. Automotive-derived engines offer cost advantages by providing a mature and developd engine technology base with downrating and parts commonality options for specific applications. Two engine sizes (30 and 400 kW), two Stirling engine configurations (kinematic and free-piston), and two output systems (crankshaft and hydraulic pump) were studied. The study includes the influences of using either hydrogen or helium as the working gas. The first kinematic configuration selects an existing Stirling engine design from an automotive application and adapts it to stationary requirements. A 50,000-hour life requirement was established by downrating the engine to 40 kW and reducing auxiliary loads. Efficiency improvements were gained by selective material and geometric variations and peak brake efficiency of 36.8 percent using helium gas was achieved. The second design was a four-cylinder, 400 kW engine, utilizing a new output drive system known as the z-crank, which provides lower friction losses and variable stroke power control. Three different material and working gas combinations were considered. Brake efficiency levels varied from 40.5 percent to 45.6 percent. A 37.5 kW single-cycle, free-piston hydraulic output design was generated by scaling one cylinder of the original automotive engine and mating it to a counterbalanced reciprocal hydraulic pump. Metallic diaphragms were utilized to transmit power.

  8. Conceptual study of the potential for automotive-derived and free-piston Stirling engines in 30- to 400-kilowatt stationary power applications. Final Report

    SciTech Connect

    Vatsky, A.; Chen, H.S.; Dineen, J.

    1982-05-01

    The technical feasibility of applying automotive-derived kinematic and free-piston Stirling engine concepts for stationary applications was explored. Automotive-derived engines offer cost advantages by providing a mature and developed engine technology base with downrating and parts commonality options for specific applications. Two engine sizes (30 and 400 kW), two Stirling engine configurations (kinematic and free-piston), and two output systems (crankshaft and hydraulic pump) were studied. The study includes the influences of using either hydrogen or helium as the working gas. The first kinematic configuration selects an existing Stirling engine design from an automotive application and adapts it to stationary requirements. A 50,000-hour life requirement was established by downrating the engine to 40 kW and reducing auxiliary loads. Efficiency improvements were gained by selective material and geometric variations and peak brake efficiency of 36.8 percent using helium gas was achieved. The second design was a four-cylinder, 400 kW engine, utilizing a new output drive system known as the z-crank, which provides lower friction losses and variable stroke power control. Three different material and working gas combinations were considered. Brake efficiency levels varied from 40.5 percent to 45.6 percent. A 37.5 kW single-cycle, free-piston hydraulic output design was generated by scaling one cylinder of the original automotive engine and mating it to a counterbalanced reciprocal hydraulic pump. Metallic diaphragms were utilized to transmit power.

  9. Electrical power generating system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nola, F. J. (Inventor)

    1983-01-01

    A power generating system for adjusting coupling an induction motor, as a generator, to an A.C. power line wherein the motor and power line are connected through a triac is described. The triac is regulated to normally turn on at a relatively late point in each half cycle of its operation, whereby at less than operating speed, and thus when the induction motor functions as a motor rather than as a generator, power consumption from the line is substantially reduced.

  10. The optimization of Stirling refrigerator and Stirling heat engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Xin-Mei

    2007-03-01

    The optimization of an irreversible Stirling refrigerator or a Stirling heat engine is an important research subject for a long time. Taking into account of the influence of mixed thermal resistance and regeneration loss in the performance study, we have derived the optimal relation of both of them. For Stirling refrigerator, we have deduced the optimal relation between the thermal resistance coefficient and the efficiency. To the Stirling heat engine, we have deduced the optimal relation between the power output and the efficiency. The conclusions obtained mirror the observed performance of the Stirling refrigerator or the Stirling heat engine quite well. Thus, the results may provide a new theoretical guidance to the optimal design and the selection of optimal operating condition of the Stirling refrigerator or the Stirling heat engine.