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Old 11-09-2008, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Stirling-Electric Hybrid Built

I should have known that if anybody could make the Stirling engine work, it would be inventor extraordinair Dean Kamen. Yes, the inventor of the Segway, personal medical pumps, and home dialysis systems has built a practical Stirling-electric hybrid. Right in my home town. The engine provides heat and electricity to run the car's systems independent of the propulsion battery, then it recharges the battery as needed.

Brillaint!

Of course, Dean isn't content with this small application and sees the Stirling as a means of producing electricity in far-flung parts of the globe currently without electricity.

http://www.unionleader.com/article.a...2-913c8568fb36




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Old 11-09-2008, 03:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think I watched a video about this before. He had to set up the system as a serial hybrid (the stirling generates power but doesn't directly drive the wheels) because of the warm-up time for the stirling. Great idea with lots of potential in my opinion. A stirling is far more efficient and would have a much wider range of operating fuels available. Plus you would have the regenerative braking of the electric.
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperTrooper View Post
I should have known that if anybody could make the Stirling engine work, it would be inventor extraordinair Dean Kamen.
Huh? GM had it working 40 years ago: GM could have made a plug-in hybrid car 38 years ago - AutoblogGreen
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Old 11-09-2008, 04:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
GM worked on the Stirling for several years, but never put out a rolling prototype. The reference from the Car Craft magazine is from an ad for GM. The rolling example of the XP-883 had a 35 cu in 2-cyl ICE.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I just checked out the Norwegian company that provided the car for the conversion.

Home - Website Interface

Expected selling price in Europe is $25,000 for a car with a range of 60-80 miles and a top speed of 62 MPH.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here's a blurb from DEKA Reasearch, Kamen's company, about the work they are doing on the Striling:

"The Stirling Cycle Engine
The Stirling Cycle Engine was devised in the early 1800’s as a safe and efficient alternative to Steam Power. In its original incarnations, it was a large, air charged, low pressure, low power machine, made of cast iron, brass, bricks, and wood. One section of the engine was kept hot, another section cold. The air contained within the closed cycle engine was cyclically heated, expanded, cooled, and compressed as the machine would operate. Mechanical power was extracted from a rotating output shaft. The Stirling Engine’s usage was primarily industrial throughout the 1800’s, before its obsolescence at the turn of the century with the advent of the internal combustion engine.

The Stirling Engine possesses an inherently high potential for thermodynamic efficiency, but has been historically plagued with real world, practical problems. The limitations of materials, heat transfer efficiency, and engine design were and remain, so far, fundamental constraints on the engine’s performance capabilities. In light of the technical advances over the past 150 years, however, almost all aspects of the engine can now be improved and modernized, taking the engine from a low power, cast-iron, 19th century giant, to a high performance, high output, efficient machine of the 21st century. New materials in the high-temperature sections of the engine and high performance bearings and seals enable the production of compact, efficient, high-speed machines. In addition, the use of Computer Aided Design Systems, the ability to acquire and contain light, high performance gasses such as hydrogen and helium within an engine at high-pressure, and the use of microprocessors to control engine operation all contribute to these potential improvements. Today, the value of a small, clean, quiet, efficient, power source is greater than ever, particularly in view of the engine’s inherent flexibility in fuel source."


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Old 11-09-2008, 11:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperTrooper View Post
GM worked on the Stirling for several years, but never put out a rolling prototype.
In fact they did. If you search, you can probably find links to articles by people who worked on the project (and others over the years), with reports of road tests &c. I think I've linked several such here.

So we have Dean "my stupid 2-wheel thing is going to change the world" Kamen doing something that was done decades ago, and hyping it as a revolutionary breakthrough? I do think Stirling-engine hybrids would be nice to have (as I've perhaps too often said), but I hate to see someone feeding his ego by taking credit for other people's ideas.
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
So we have Dean "my stupid 2-wheel thing is going to change the world" Kamen doing something that was done decades ago, and hyping it as a revolutionary breakthrough? I do think Stirling-engine hybrids would be nice to have (as I've perhaps too often said), but I hate to see someone feeding his ego by taking credit for other people's ideas.
If you design something that doesn't work or is never realized, you can't take credit as the first to do it. The idea may be decades old, but it's not the idea that matters (we have a surplus of ideas, and they come cheap), it's the execution that's key. It's not that I'm defending him (he's actually a decent guy in person, however) - but if I somehow get a viable fusion reactor or similar working in my garage, I want to be able to say "I'm first, I got it working, this is revolutionary." Just say'in
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The point is that the Stirling-electric hybrid DID work. For Kamen to take credit for it as an INVENTION (rather than development) is like Boeing trying to claim that they invented the airplane.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
The point is that the Stirling-electric hybrid DID work. For Kamen to take credit for it as an INVENTION (rather than development) is like Boeing trying to claim that they invented the airplane.
Boeing claiming to invent the airplane would be like Kamen claiming to invent the automobile, which he's not.

GM had the development, they had the capability (or maybe they didn't, because they didn't put the engine in the car - iono), they never had a working prototype. Not following through was pretty stupid of GM, in my opinion. If the XP-883 was going to have a Stirling engine and didn't, it wasn't the first. Here's popsci's original write up - click on page thumnails.

For thoroughness, here's the referenced Car Craft article on the Stir-Lec 1 that's probably more pertinent.
. Okay, so they had a drawing, which is nice and all - but I've got notebooks full of idea sketches and drawings and plenty of documentation of failed prototypes. This was very likely a case were GM's great idea came far before the technology was available to realize and execute it. I'm sure it didn't help that, in 1969, oil was cheap (too bad it wasn't ready for '73 though).


Kamen released the first working prototype. He said, "It's the world's first Stirling hybrid electric car." Unless such a vehicle was working elsewhere at an earlier time, I see no problem with the accuracy/validity of this statement.

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