|A cutaway diagram of Infinia’s 55-W free-piston Stirling generator.|
Open Energy Corporation and Infinia Corporation (formerly Stirling Technology Company) plan to integrate Sterling engines and solar concentrators to create a new solar-powered electric generation system.
The engineering teams at Infinia and Open Energy believe that the Suncone CSP solar concentrating power system can be modified to deliver more than 700° C of solar thermal energy to Infinia’s free-piston Sterling engine to generate electricity on a cost-effective basis without burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases.
|A rendering of the Suncone CSP.|
Development of the Suncone/Stirling system will begin with a modified version of a 1 kW engine already being produced for residential heating and electricity in Asia and Europe as a proof-of-concept, according to David Saltman, president and CEO of Open Energy.
The free-piston back-and-forth motion in the Infinia Stirling engine drives a patented linear alternator. The SunCone CSP utilizes non-imaging optical cones made of reflective composites to concentrate sunlight on rods at the base of each cone. The cones stay cool, but the fluid flowing through the base is superheated.
We have already achieved solid results with a dish Stirling system at our facility in eastern Washington and have made significant progress on our larger engines. By working with Open Energy, we believe we can accelerate the development and commercial availability of these truly important and unique solar power generation systems. Our companies share a similar goal—to fundamentally change how the world generates and uses energy—and our engineering teams are hard at work to make this happen.—J.D. Sitton, CEO of Infinia Corporation