141 Internal Combustion Engines

Reciprocating internal combustion engines (ICEs) are the traditional technology for emergency power all over the world. Operating experience with diesel and Otto cycle units is extensive. The cost of units is the least of any DG

technology, but maintenance costs are among the greatest. Furthermore, diesel and gasoline engines produce unacceptable emission levels in air quality maintenance areas of the U.S. Natural gas ICE generators offer a partial solution to the emissions problem but do not solve it entirely. However, the NG-fired IC engine is the key competition to all other DG technologies considered here.

The key barriers to ICE usage include the following:

• Maintenance cost - the highest among the DG technologies due to the large number of moving parts.

• NOx emissions are highest among the DG technologies (15-20 PPM even for lean burn designs).

• Noise is low frequency and more difficult to control than for other technologies; adequate attenuation is possible.

Attractive ICE features include:

• Capital cost is lowest of the DG approaches.

• Thermal or electrical cogeneration is possible in buildings.

• Modularity is excellent, nearly any building related load can be matched well (kW to MW range), part load efficiency is good; the need for this is described later.

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.

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