Stirling Engine Software

Update – November 4, 2013

This page has moved. The comments below correspond to the page that was here before. If you already bought the Stirling engine software and manual through this website, no worries, you can still email me at the address given in the manual that comes with the software. I will still provide you with support and assistance if you need it.

My reason for moving this Stirling engine software page to my other physics based website is because it is better suited for that website than this one. I now sell my Stirling engine software only on my other physics website.

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31 Responses to Stirling Engine Software

  1. If you know where I can get stirling dish dimensions and schematics please contact me at the above address.

  2. Steven Barrett says:

    Does this program show CAD or similar animation of the designed engine?

  3. admin says:

    No, there is no CAD or animation of the designed engine. On the post-processing side there is only a results file which contains all the raw performance data, which can be plotted if you wish.

  4. Thanks for sharing. Interesting to see, how many people still are interested in this kind of engines. I still think they need development, there are new ways to go, new materials to use etc.

  5. Al says:

    Why is it so difficult to find a ready made stirling engine for sale?
    not the model ones!
    do you know if there is a company that sell such an engine (1kw-50kw)?

    thank you

  6. admin says:

    A lot of people are asking the same thing! The problem is that they just can’t compete with ICE’s in terms of price, power/weight ratio, and ability to increase/decrease power output quickly.

    It’s also a chicken and egg problem: The more you sell the better they get due to more development budget and the price comes down, but to sell them the price needs to come down and they need to perform at least as well as an ICE.

    But the Stirlings have an ace card, they can use any hot temperature source, and it’s unavoidable that for this reason they will become major players as less fossil fuel is used and more energy is generated using solar heat, biomass, etc.

    There are some companies that sell Stirlings. Here’s a page I made listing them:

  7. Al says:

    If you are looking to install it in your car it cannot compete with ICE’s
    anyhow,its a 100 years tech and not even a single manf??

    the ones in your link ask 100,000 us dollars!!!
    and doesn’t look like its made out of gold.. (-;

    if someone know of a non home manufacture I’ll
    be more then glade to hear from you (up to 20k)
    even a prototype will do.


  8. como conseguir desenhos e projetos de motores stirling

  9. Javier says:

    Since last year there is a company in Spain that is manufacturing and selling the 4 cilinder double acting Whispergen system in Europe through several distributors.
    I know they are producing hundreds per month but their production for this year is fully sold to germany, holland, UK and France.

    They do not sell the engine solely but the complete micro-cogeneration unit.

  10. jj says:

    Hmm stirlings not effective?, well they are used in submarines, the most quiet submarins which dont have an own nuclear powerplant.
    The next A26 will also utilize stirling engines.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I need to design a stirling cycle engine that use solar energy to supply at least 5kW of energy. And is limited to the roof area of a house. Do you think this program works to this design?

  12. admin says:

    A stirling engine is independent of the heat source. So in your case you have to figure out how much solar power is falling on the roof, and then concentrate that energy to get a higher temperature, which in turn increases efficiency (Carnot efficiency). You can do this with parabolic mirrors. The program does not do this part of the design for you, since it uses heater side temperature as input. How you are able to generate that input temperature, is a separate matter.

    Basically you need enough roof area to get 5 kW of engine power (after efficiency is accounted for). For example, for the most efficient solar-to-grid Stirling engine (The SunCatcher), the efficiency is 30%. So you need a solar incidence of (5 kW/0.3 = 16.7 kW). That’s a roof area of about 17 square meters, using a solar incidence of around 1000 W/m^2. However, your engine will likely be quite a bit less efficient than that, so you will need an area greater than 17 square meters to obtain the 5 kW engine power.

    That’s scratching the surface though. There’s many other factors to consider in your design, such as the reflective efficiency of the mirrors, temperature reached at the focal point of the mirrors, actual solar incidence in W/m^2 in your geographic area, collector design at the focal point and heat transfer efficiency to the engine, tracking mechanism to use and associated losses, etc.

  13. Bill Roosa says:

    As a general rule, the fewer times you make heat move from one media to another the better. Each change in medum (collector to water, water to storage unit, storage unit to engine) takes a temp differential. You start with what you can and it goes downhill from there. SO, using the roof as the hot side would be ideal provided you have a) sufficient area and b) a sufficiently high temp.
    I always though that putting a solar glass enclosure over the roof and using a steel roofing material and mounting the engine to the rafters with the hot side as the roofing material would be in keeping with the above. Use the cold side to heat your hot water or house. At night use the “icy blackness of space” to reverse the process so you can have 24 hour production. FWIW

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  15. Turab says:

    Can you suggest me some ways to design a solar sterling engine to generate about 1-5 kW power. From where can I find the helping material?

  16. Nauman Javed says:

    I am working on Solar Powered Stirling Engine nowadays. Is your software helpful in designing “Receiver” that receives heat from solar collector as you said your software provides sufficient information about heat exchangers as well. Furthermore, I am from Pakistan and our country is not included in the country list given on the paypal website. Without selecting country will it proceed?

  17. admin says:

    There’s nothing specific in the software that will help you design a solar receiver. That has to be done separately.

    I looked into it and PayPal is not set up to process payments from Pakistan. Now, some people work around that by asking relatives or friends from a PayPal supported country to send their online payments. Hopefully that is something you can do.

  18. Nauman says:

    Is it possible to calculate Stirling Engine losses like fluid friction loss, mechanical friction loss, shuttle conduction, static heat conduction, pumping loss, temperature swing loss, internal temperature swing loss etc with your software.

  19. admin says:

    With the software you can only explicitly calculate pumping losses from fluid friction (fluid friction loss and pumping loss are the same thing).

    The other loss accounted for by the software is Adiabatic Loss. This loss results from a high compression ratio — (maximum-engine- volume)/(minimum-engine-volume), which forces the gas temperature in the expansion and compression space (during parts of the cycle) to exceed the heater and cooler temperature, respectively. This results in heat being pumped out of the heater and cooler due to the positive temperature difference. This lowers thermal efficiency. Note that the Adiabatic Loss is inherently captured by the equations of the program, and doesn’t need to be accounted for explicitly – so it isn’t accounted for explicitly.

    The other losses such as mechanical friction are not accounted for since they can only be accurately calculated with experimentation.

    Here’s a section from the software manual which explains engine losses:

    In a real engine there are friction losses, such as in the mechanical drive, linkages,
    and between the piston/displacer seals and cylinder wall. This directly reduces
    engine power. These friction losses can only be accurately calculated with
    experimental measurements. They are not accounted for in the program.

    • There are also thermodynamic losses such as from hysteresis effects, due to compression of the working gas in the expansion and compression space, causing it to heat up to a temperature higher than that of the cylinder wall, during parts of the cycle. As a result, heat is lost to the environment. This loss mechanism can be minimized, by insulating the outside walls of the expansion and compression space. In the program it is assumed that the expansion and compression space are adiabatic, which means that the working gas does not lose heat through the cylinder walls. This is a good assumption for large high-pressure engines.

    • Other losses include: working gas leaking out of the engine, heat transfer inefficiency from heat source to heater tubes, and other thermodynamic inefficiencies due to heat loss in other parts of the engine. For instance, there are heat transfer losses that occur as a result of heat flowing along the engine wall from the hot side to the cold side. There are heating losses that occur between the gap of the displacer and the cylinder wall, due to the temperature difference between the expansion and compression space. No provision is made in the program to account for these losses. For the most part they can only be accurately calculated by experimental measurements, and then minimized by proper material selection and design.

    • As mentioned, regenerator inefficiency is one of the major sources of thermal loss. But the other thermal losses mentioned above can (in combination) further reduce thermal efficiency by several percent.

    • This program is meant to optimize the design based on the intrinsic engine thermodynamics, which models the main physical phenomenon occurring inside the engine. For the most part, the losses mentioned in the previous paragraph affect the thermal efficiency only (i.e. by reducing it). This means that extra heat energy input is required to compensate for these losses. In other words, the engine power itself is not affected, provided there is sufficient heat energy available to compensate for the thermal losses.

    • It is very important to know that (with the exception of hysteresis losses and leakage of working gas), accounting for all the above-mentioned losses would not affect the thermodynamics and physics inside the engine. So for optimization purposes they can be excluded from the model. In other words, their exclusion will not affect the number of tubes and (proportional) regenerator volume required for maximum power.

    • One way to significantly improve thermal efficiency in the design is to improve the heat transfer efficiency from heat source to heater tubes. A common loss mechanism in this regard is heat loss to the surrounding environment (e.g. warm exhaust from a burner). A way to minimize this loss is with an air Preheater. Using the exhaust stream, a Preheater heats the air before it enters the combustion chamber, and more of the heat energy of the fuel is used. This is also more economical since it reduces fuel consumption. In addition, you can also minimize heat loss by placing an insulated enclosure around the heat source.

    • A well-designed heat source, such as burner with air Preheater, can have a heat transfer efficiency of 90%. This means that 10% of the heat is lost to the environment. This loss further reduces thermal efficiency by several percent. For example, an engine operating at 40% thermal efficiency with (theoretically) perfect heat transfer from the heat source, would run at 36% efficiency with 90% heat transfer efficiency (0.90×0.40).

  20. A. Lozano says:

    Hello, I am interested in your program to try to build a stirling engine that is multi-kw power has emerged and I doubt the graphics shown above noted, the term “speed Hz” Are revolutions per second? I found too many to so it can withstand an engine of this type.

  21. admin says:

    Yes, Hz is “revolutions per second”. The speed shown in the graphs is for hydrogen which has low density and low viscosity, which results in higher engine speeds (since pumping losses are lower). The MOD II Stirling engine, developed in the 1980s, used hydrogen as the working gas, and it reached comparable speeds. At peak power it ran at about 4500 rpm which is 75 Hz. Also, note that predicting engine speed is among the biggest uncertainties, which is why in the design manual that comes with the program I give a speed tolerance of +25/-30% from the nominal value predicted by the program (as shown in the graph), which means that you can easily expect an actual running speed quite a bit lower than that.

  22. shrikant says:

    wer to download dis software?

  23. admin says:

    I explained it at the bottom of this page. But in any case, to download it you go to the main page You then click on the menu button “Stirling Engine”, and then follow the instructions.

  24. Aks says:

    Hello, i have a alpha striling engine of below config:
    Working media : Air
    Working Volume : 300 CC
    Dead volume : 200 CC (including regenerator )
    Hot side cylinder and Piston : steel & AL respectively
    Cold side cylinder and Piston : Cast Iron & AL respectively
    Heat input : 2KW electric coil
    Crank weight : 3.5 kg

    I am trying very hard to run this engine , but unable to do so from many months,
    Can you please suggest me how to move forward ? i am very much worried

  25. JAYDEEP (M.I.T) says:

    I am very much impressed by the work carried out in the field of Stirling Engine.
    Even my group made two models of Stirling Engine but unfortunately we failed due to mechanical disabilities and low heat transfer. We made 1st model from the scrap (Easily available)material. Like cylinders of SS (water jugs), pistons of SS (water glasses), likes were made in college work shop, etc. We gained much experience through the first prototype and than decided to work on 2nd model.
    In the 2nd model we used all available standard parts or machined by specialists.
    And we used piston rings for leak proofing and so we anodized the cylinders internally.
    We are even expecting the 2nd prototype to work.

  26. Gab says:


    Will you be improving the software to accommodate multi cylinder Stirling engine such as such as the Rinia configuration.


  27. admin says:

    I have no plans to do that right now.

  28. P.Pradeep says:

    I am a final B tech student .I am interested in Stirling engine.
    But I find it difficult to design it based on several assumptions.
    I cannot bear such a cost for Ur software .If u provide trail version I am able to complete the project successfully with less effort.
    I already designed an Stirling engine with less efficiency. So I want to go for a change.
    Hoping that u will help for a students like us.

  29. admin says:

    Use this web based simulator for an Ideal Adiabatic Analysis:

    At very low speeds (1-5 Hz) the results of this simulator are almost identical to that of my program. You enter the engine data in a browser window and the server crunches the numbers for you. The results are then output in the same browser window.

    However, this simulator assumes that there are no pumping (flow) losses, and the regenerator is ideal. My program accounts for pumping losses and a non-ideal regenerator.

  30. m_havar says:

    Dear friend ,
    is this software multi user?
    if not how much is this software for two user?

  31. admin says:

    ^^^ There is no license for multi users. But if you want to share the use of the program with a friend or colleague that’s okay.

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