A dish/Stirling system comprises of a parabolic dish concentrator, a thermal receiver and a Stirling engine/generator located at the focus of the dish. These systems use a parabolic dish concentrator tracking the sun and focusing solar energy into a cavity receiver where it is absorbed and transferred to a Stirling Engine/ generator. Though there are other engines like the brayton and organic Rankine cycle engines, Stirling engines are the most popular and widely used due to their high thermal to mechanical efficiencies and their potential for long term, low maintenance operations.
Dish/Stirling engines are modular in design i.e each system is a self contained power generator. This is an advantage because they can be arranged in plants ranging from a few kilowatts to tens of megawatts.
Over the last 15 years a number of Dish / Stirling systems from 5 to 50 Kw have been developed in United States, Germany, Japan and Russia. The few of the Dish / Stirling designs are
Advanco’s Vanguard System
Schlaich-Bergermann und Partner
McDonell-Douglas / Stirling Energy Systems
Cummins Power Generation
Dish Stirling systems have successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility of generating electrical power. Future challenge lies in developing long lasting systems that can produce competitively priced electric power.