Whats new? 7 Watts !

A project log for Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

NASA cancelled this program in 2013 after spending USD260 Million. Lets see what we can do for USD260!.

mw-motorsMW Motors 03/16/2016 at 16:055 Comments

The device actually makes electricity !.

7 Watts.

That might not sound like a lot but in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. If you happen to be on a deep space mission & have 7 Watts instead of zero watts you would be a very happy person.

Similarly, for the 'prepper' community, 7 Watts, 24 hours a day from any heat source will be very useful.

But 7 Watts is just the start. This was the first trial run with a basic magnetic assembly. The displacement is small at about 2mm. We are looking at ways to multiply this by orders or magnitude.

We have a friend who happens to have a suitable solar collector. We are now just waiting for some decent sunny weather to see how the solar version works.

I think this has definite commercial possibilities. Once you know how, it is easy to make. It is entirely maintenance free. There is no doubt that it will eventually make a lot more than 7 Watts. It would even make an excellent executive toy..

Noise is something of an issue but we can solve that with a clever casing..

This particular project is badly written up but I will fix that (in the very distant future). This device is beyond cool. Shocking that NASA gave up on it. The potential is huge.


V wrote 03/16/2016 at 19:37 point


What is causing the noise?

Unavoidable byproduct of the process or potential power loss/future maintenance concern?

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MW Motors wrote 03/17/2016 at 06:31 point

The device operates at about 80 Hz.  It functions because of vibration & resonance.   When you get metal operating at this frequency, it will be noisy.  We knew it would be noisy.  I am in the odd position that even after seeing it working, I still do not quite get how (or better why) it works.

We can say it is an unavoidable byproduct.  We will never stop the noise but it looks easy enough to contain the noise.  Definitely not a maintenance concern.  If it is a power loss, it is not a major one or the one we would worry about..  The major losses come in the conversion of heat to electricity.  I think your average solar panel is about 15% efficient (no idea, lots of manufacturers claim more).  I do not know how efficient the engine is.  Maybe 5%.  I even need to think about how to measure efficiency. 

The standard solar panel is a ''rated 250 watt'' panel.  That tells us it will make about 37 W in ideal conditions & you very rarely get these.. I think this device can be produced for less than the price of a rated 250W panel (comparing mass production with mass production).  This device does not need any of the rare or exotic stuff in a solar panel & it would not need complex Mfg equipment.  So, if we were to get 40W, it could be a viable alternative.  Going from 7 to 40 is asking a lot but you gotta dream big..  This device can be made anywhere by any factory.  In terms of appearance, it would look very similar to domestic satellite dish so every house could have one..  

But, we are a terribly long way from anything above... Lots of tweaks to be done, measurements to be made etc etc..

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V wrote 03/17/2016 at 18:30 point

I don't think the part about the solar panel is correct; As far as I know, solar panel ratings are for output power (under certain test conditions).

A single-junction Silicon panel with 20% efficiency of 1 by 1 meters, lit with sunlight of about 1000 W / (m²), might have a power rating of 200W.

Perhaps it's easier to do comparisons with solar panels based on cost per Watt output?

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MW Motors wrote 03/17/2016 at 18:52 point

Hi V,

Oh God, you are right... I have a lot of stuff in my head.  I think I was mixing this up with wind. With turbines, the rated power is the size of the generator & this has little to do with the actual power is generates.  I think that number is about 20%..  On solar, it is just limited by the sunny hours in a day.  So, in the UK a 250w solar panel will on average make 620 watts a day..

Obviously results will be better in a country where the sun actually comes out more than once a year!. 

Based on this, we can say that the panel would produce an average of 620/24 = 26 watts an hour.  So, while my logic was totally wrong, our device should produce more than this but consistently (every hour, not bursts when the sun shine).  It could conceivable make 40w x 24 hours = 960w via sun during the day & sitting atop the camp fire at night...  

I am lucky.  Not many people will see my error because I think it is just you & me following this blog !!!!.. Thanks for pointing it out as it is entirely wrong.  

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V wrote 03/17/2016 at 19:45 point

Point well made about the average daily output though!

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