Stirling Solar Engine Design
Prepared for Professor Kee S. Moon, Ph.D.
Project Advisor Fletcher J. Miller, Ph.D.
Mechanical Engineering 490A
May 18, 2009
Stirling Solar Team Members
Todd Meyer II
Due to rising energy prices and increased interest in renewable energy sources, there
has been a large amount of activity in the field of renewable energy sources engineering
recently, particularly in the field of solar energy generation. Unfortunately, much of the
development of said renewable energy generation has been for utilities, limiting the range of
practical applications to large-output arrays, prohibitively expensive technology, and big
assemblies which require large parcels of land.
Our design team attempts to remedy the shortcomings of this development trend by
designing a residential-scale solar energy generation platform. The performance targets for our
system were therefore scaled down to suit the average household’s needs in terms of system
cost, output power, and space utilization. A current benchmark for small-scale energy
generation is $2 per Watt generated, so we adapted this as a rough target. As a result, we aim
to design a very inexpensive solar system which generates between 500 and 1000 Watts, while
requiring very little land space.
Currently, the market for residential solar energy systems is dominated by so-called “flat
panel” photovoltaic systems. These are identified by their characteristic flat black, rectangular
panels and can be seen on rooftops and small parcels of residential land (see Figure 1). The
appeal of this technology is their cheap manufacturing cost relative to market alternatives,
which will be discussed shortly. However, there are compromises in that flat panel photovoltaic