Thursday, June 14, 2018

Canada: Building Stirling Engines that Run on Ultra-Low Geothermal Resources

Can’t stop the engines (University of Alberta -  Future Energy Systems)

Technology that could generate emissions-free power from Alberta’s geothermal reservoirs is full of lessons for Future Energy Systems graduate students

David Miller is an engineer in the most classic sense: along with his fellow Master’s students Calynn Stumpf and Jason Michaud, he builds engines in the University of Alberta’s Dynamic Thermal Energy Conversion Laboratory (DTECL). But these are different engines than the ones in our cars –– they’re called Stirling engines and are based on a 200-year-old design that converts heat from any source into electricity. Since the heat doesn’t have to come from the burning of hydrocarbon fuels, that means they can generate electricity without any carbon dioxide emissions.

As part of Dr. David Nobes’ team in the Future Energy Systems project Optimizing Geothermal Energy Production and Utilization Technology, David, Calynn and Jason are redesigning these engines to work with renewable heat sources. With every roadblock they overcome, they’re moving their designs closer to potentially remaking the geothermal energy landscape.

Their main challenge: building Stirling engines that run at an ultra-low temperature differential, and then creating a model that their successors can use to scale up.

Read More.........