Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsEngineering · 1 decade ago

Why aren't Stirling engines used in vehicles?

Since it has a much greater efficiency and has much lesser vibration than an IC engine, wouldn't it be better to use Stirling engines for vehicles? Of course, the heat source would require some sort of fuel to be burnt if a considerable mass is to be driven, but i was wondering if solar power could serve as a heat source to drive a Stirling engine.

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Efficiency isn't everything.

    1) Power per unit volume of the engine is much greater for IC.

    2) IC is "instant on" technology -- Stirling, like steam, requires startup time to create the required temperature difference to drive the cycle.

    3) Stirling engines are already used in vehicles -- some submarines use it to generate electricity for electric propulsion and for driving electric subsystems (lights, life support, etc.)

  • 1 decade ago

    Interesting question. It shows that your mind is working.

    Power output would be low with a sterling engine. However, the idea is very sound.

    On a sunny day, fresnel lenses could be used as a heat source and would work quite well.

    It would be interesting to see what an 8 cylinder Stirling would produce! If you were able to get up around 50 horsepower, that would certainly be enough to run a small vehicle with. Something like a Mini Cooper.

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