Breaking away from conventional engines

Breaking away from conventional engines

Students of the National Institute of Engineering (NIE) — Sanath Kumar M, Sanjay S, Nagaraj G B and Nanaiah B N — under the guidance of NIE-CREST director S Shamsundar have designed a prototype of the Stirling engine to make their idea come true. The project was funded by Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, one of the project members, Nagaraj said they planned to undertake the project as they wanted to use non-conventional sources of energy such as agricultural waste, solar energy or biological waste.

The present day internal combustion engines — either petrol or diesel — work only when fuel is burnt and the air pressure created makes the pistons inside them move. This causes pollution and also with increasing prices is becoming an expensive option.

Nagaraj said the concept of a Stirling engine was put forward by Robert Stirling, a Scottish inventor about two centuries ago. According to him, the engines can be put to work by providing an external heat source. Nagaraj said it works on the principle of heat transfer.
With agricultural waste found in abundance in rural areas, the students feel that the engine could be put to use effectively in such regions. By heating the engine they have designed, students say pump-sets could eventually be run without the need for external power. They feel that rural areas suffering from massive electricity cuts could benefit from the Stirling engine.

The engine could be used in space research (in satellites), motor pump-sets, and even for small scale power generation. Nagaraj said they have asked their juniors to couple the engine to a generator for generating electricity.

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