A low-cost electricity generator for rural areas using a travelling-wave looped-tube thermoacoustic engine

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Yu, Z ; Jaworski, AJ ; Backhaus, S (2010)
  • Publisher: Sage Publications

This article describes the construction and preliminary testing of a pre-prototype thermoacoustic electricity generator to test the concept of a low-cost device for application in remote or rural areas of developing countries. A travelling-wave thermoacoustic engine with a configuration of a looped-tube resonator is designed and constructed to convert heat to acoustic power. Air at atmospheric pressure is used as the working gas, PVC tubing is utilized for the feedback pipe, whereas an inexpensive commercially available loudspeaker is adopted to convert the acoustic power, produced by the engine, to electricity. Preliminary experimental results are presented and discussed in detail. The results show that the approach is feasible in principle and it is possible to produce the electrical power levels in the order of 4-5 W with overall heat-to-electric efficiencies in the order of 1 per cent. Further work towards optimizing the device from the performance, manufacturing, and cost points of view is outlined.
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