Ancillary Equipment

Alternator: The mechanical-to-electrical conversion device used in dish/engine systems depends on the engine an d application. Induction generators are used on kinematic Stirling engines tied to an electric-utility grid. Inductio n generators synchronize with the grid and can provide single or three-phase power of either 230 or 460 volts. Induction generators are off-the-shelf items and convert mechanical power to electricity with an efficiency of about 94% . Alternators in which the output is conditioned by rectification (conversion to DC) and then inverted to produce A C power are sometimes employed to handle mismatches in speed between the engine output and the electrical grid. Th e high-speed output of a gas turbine, for example, is converted to very high frequency AC in a high-speed alternator , converted to DC by a rectifier, and then converted to 60 hertz single or three-phase power by an inverter. Thi s approach can also have performance advantages for operation of the engine.

Cooling System: Heat engines need to transfer waste heat to the environment. Stirling engines use a radiator to exchange waste heat from the engine to the atmosphere. In open-cycle Brayton engines, most of the waste heat i s rejected in the exhaust. Parasitic power required for operation of a Stirling cooling system fan and pump, concentrator drives, and controls is typically about 1 kW e.

Controls: Autonomous operation is achieved by the use of microcomputer-based controls located on the dish to control dish tracking and engine operation. Some systems use a separate engine controller. For large installations, a centra l System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) computer is used to provide supervisory control, monitoring, and data acquisition.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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