Numerical modelling of heat transfer in a novel heat engine

Project aim:

As efficient usage of resources becomes more and more important because of their finiteness, one way to efficiently use energy is micro combined heat and power generation (mCHP). Therefore, Stirling engines excited interest for the domestic use of mCHP in recent years. Despite the promise of high efficiency due to the underlying Stirling cycle, these engines often have reliability problems because of their numerous moving parts.

The novel heat engine under investigation makes use of a thermodynamic cycle similar to Stirling, but with less moving parts, therefore having a much higher reliability. Thus, we focus on the optimization of the novel engine generator for application within a micro-CHP appliance.

A crucial but still not fully understood part of this heat engine is the regenerator/heat exchanger assembly, where the heat is transformed to useful power. In order to get a better understanding of the phenomena taking place within this assembly, the heat transfer will be examined with the help of computational fluid dynamics. With this additional knowledge, the total thermal-to-electric efficiency and electric output power of the entire engine can be increased.