Blue print for a simple, reliable and low cost heat driven thermoacoustic generators for rural areas producing 20-50W electric power.
Thermoacoustics is a conversion technology in which the compression, expansion and displacement of the working gas is driven by acoustic wave motion rather than by pistons, valves and displacers. Using acoustic wave motion eliminates mechanical friction and wear and therefore drastically increase lifespan and minimize maintenance. Because of the lack of moving mechanical parts in the thermodynamic process the construction tolerances and material requirements are relaxed allowing for (potential) low production and investment costs. These properties makes thermoacoustics not only a second generation energy conversion technology but also a candidate for low cost, small scale conversion technology for rural and developing areas.
These opportunities were recognized in, for example, the Score project in England (www.score.uk.com) and by initiatives supported by the FACT Foundation in the Netherlands (www.fact-foundation.com). The aim of these projects, started a few years ago, is to develop low cost thermoacoustic devices generating electricity combined with wood stoves for cooking or heating water. These projects also address the social and economic aspects involving charities and local communities. This type of devices could contribute to improving local living conditions by the use of small scale air operated multi-purpose devices for preparing hot water, cooking and generating some electricity. It could also stimulate labour related to local production installation and maintenance of these devices.
The document below describes the design approach and underlying physics of a pre-production version of a small scale near atmospheric air operated thermoacoustic generator and provide a blueprint for the further (local) development and production of such generators in and for rural areas and developing countries. To make this happen, background information and construction drawings are available from Aster as input for local projects, students, scientist and construction companies who will intend to do experimenting and furthering this technology.