Clean Technology 2009

Solar thermal combined heat and power system

S.P. Weaver
Cool Energy, Inc., US

Keywords: solar thermal renewable heat electricity Stirling engine


At Cool Energy, Inc., development is well underway on the SolarHeartTM Engine, a medium-temperature Stirling engine for converting widely prevalent alternative and renewable heat sources such as rooftop solar thermal, geothermal, and industrial waste heat to electricity. The SolarHeart Engine is the core component of a distributed energy system for combined heating and electrical power generation, the SolarFlowTM System. This system can be used in homes and small commercial buildings to supply up to 75% of the annual space heating needs, 95% of the hot water needs, and 60% of the electricity, and can do so for half the cost of energy of a current solar photovoltaic (PV) system. End user economic value is maximized with an optimizing control system, the SolarSmart ControllerTM, that monitors and regulates the production of heat and/or electricity depending on energy costs and the user’s specific requirements. The energy storage and control system ensure maximum value to the system user and make the system particularly attractive to the needs of utilities, due to the excellent load matching and dispatchable power features of the system.
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