Fabrication and design of a Stirling Engine powered by hydrogen

Sheehan, Michael (2022) Fabrication and design of a Stirling Engine powered by hydrogen. [USQ Project]

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This dissertation investigates the potential for using hydrogen as a fuel to power a Stirling engine and generate useful energy for applications in industry. The Stirling engine is an excellent candidate for producing clean energy which is renewable and won’t produce harmful by-products that pollute the environment. This type of engine only requires a heat source to operate and therefore can be powered by many alternative options available in the renewable energy space. Hydrogen as a fuel is compared with current solar technologies to assess its viability in being used as a fuel for a Stirling engine application. It was found that hydrogen combustion can produce significant flame temperatures without releasing harmful by-products during combustion, and provides an attractive solution for generating power in various applications that won’t harm the environment.

Stirling engine design and analytical theory is presented along with the relevant properties of hydrogen for use in calculations, and four different analyses have been used to assess the potential power output. The analyses used include the Pressure-Volume diagram, the Schmidt equation, the Beale number and the West number. An engine was designed for a target power output of 750 - 1000 Watts based on potential uses for the engine as found when comparing with solar energy technology. The flame temperature and energy produced by hydrogen combustion is used for selecting an appropriate configuration and designing the geometry of an alpha type Stirling engine with crank slider mechanism. All components of the engine were designed and analysed for safety in terms of stress and the material properties, and the decisions made throughout the design process are discussed. Finite element analysis has been conducted and the results are presented along with a comparison to the hand calculations. After completing design of the engine, technical detail and assembly drawings were produced and are presented as appendices. The engine was fabricated and assembled using the drawings produced, and testing was carried out by simulating a heat source comparable to hydrogen combustion. The heater head reached a maximum temperature of 800° C but unfortunately the engine failed to run. Various modifications were made to the engine in an attempt to improve its performance and these are discussed along with the results.

Although the engine failed to run, the potential for using hydrogen as a fuel to power a Stirling engine and generate clean power proves to be very promising. Potential applications have been discussed assuming that the target power output can be achieved, and various potential areas for optimisation are discussed.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Engineering (1 Jan 2022 -)
Supervisors: Yousif, Belal
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical)
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2023 02:54
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 02:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: hydrogen; fuel; Stirling engine
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/51897

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