Hey, blog readers: Just so you know, subscribers to my free weekly newsletter read this piece 10 days ago.
There are certain topics that create an unending fascination for a small but eager subset of the geek world. The Stirling engine is high on that list.
The Stirling engine is an external-combustion rather than internal-combustion engine; outside heat sources move the pistons, making it a more flexible design that produces less pollution and is potentially more efficient. Great, but in more than a century nobody has been able to make it work on industrial scale, which drives some engineers and engineer-ish people crazy. It seems like it should work, doggone it!
So when I wrote a year ago that New Hampshire might install a Stirling engine donated by Dean Kamen’s R&D firm DEKA (Kamen is a lifelong fan of Stirling engines) in a government building to test whether it could cut heating/power costs, I received a flurry of “keep me posted!” comments from all over the internet. It hasn’t ended: Every couple of weeks I get some email from who-knows-where asking for an update.
Well, it’s been a year since my story so it’s time for an an update, courtesy of Karen Rantamaki, the state energy manager, who responded to my email questions.
She wrote that the state is still trying to figure out where to install this device and will soon put out a “request for proposals” in case other companies have a similar product. (A criticism of the original proposal was that it sounded too much like a publicity stunt for DEKA’s system.) The hope is to install it by this summer, she wrote.
So there you go, geeks: It’s possible that within six months you can add “visit Stirling engine” when you plan your vacation to Concord, New Hampshire.
I’ll keep you posted.