Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Stirling-powered automobile generator

Use hot exhaust gases with a Sterling heat engine connected to a generator to run the car's electrical system.
 
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Rather long summary. Anyway, with CAD modeling, I'm sure that you could "port" the exhaust/Sterling hot side connection so that you would have a good, unobstructed flow around the hot side head of the Sterling motor on the way out to the tailpipe. That being the case, there wouldn't be the same demands put on an engine to provide electrical power as you have with a belt or gear driven system. It would be nice to run the air conditioner on full blast with your subs kicking and your neon running lights blinking like a Christmas tree. Heavy duty battery start, engine runs, exhaust heats up, Sterling engine turns, power is generated.
Syntheto, Jul 29 2004

Another energy recovery system for the ICE http://www.halfbake...m_20for_20the_20ICE
Same idea. [phoenix, Oct 17 2004]

A seemingly very efficient Stirling. http://www.whispergen.com/
[cogniznot, Sep 21 2005]

[link]






       But no electrical power aside from the battery until the exhaust heats sufficiently to run your Stirling engine? That seems rather inconvenient and prone to frequent failure, especially on cold, dark rainy nights.
jurist, Jul 30 2004
  

       this would probably be best used instead of a second alternator for large ICE installations.
stilgar, Aug 09 2004
  

       Stirlings can be made very thermally efficient, but unfortunately they're usually bulky for their power output. Bun for trying to reclaim lost thermal energy, but I seriously doubt that this could be done practically for automobile use.
Freefall, Aug 09 2004
  

       I agree with the above theory - it's a great idea for retrieving some otherwise lost heat energy, but with the growing demands on automotive electrical systems, it's unlikely that you could create a Stirling engine large enough to supply demand without having it take up the entire backseat. However, this idea could readily be used for other, lower-power rotary systems on the vehicle (my thought is for air injection pumps/vacuum pumps on a diesel).   

       The other problem with Stirling engines is that they require very precise machining (mostly to cut down on frictional losses), and as a result are expensive to manufacture and aren't prone to long, reliable lives.   

       Still, I'd say you deserve a bun.
Dirty Luke, Aug 10 2004
  
      
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