Reader Sarah Turner emailed in a question yesterday asking about the Stirling Engine and what might come be it’s future as a power source in automobiles. Since this is an excellent topic that, I think, will interest a lot of AutoblogGreen readers, I’m re-asking the question here. If you’ve got any knowledge about this, post it in the comments.

Turns out Stirling Engines (which, to put it simply, use external sources of heat and cold to move pistons) have been developed for use in automobiles, but this was back in the 1970s when Ford, GM and AMC all built Stirling cars. There is no one (to my knowledge) working on new Stirling Engine vehicles today. Still, the potential is there, especially in a hybrid engine where the batteries would run the car and the Stirling would power the batteries. There is an inherent difficulty in making a Stirling that can shift between quick, inefficient bursts of power and slow efficient energy, something automobiles need to be able to do. The 1979 AMC Spirit’s experimental Stirling engine was the “P-40” and ran on gasoline, diesel, or gasohol! Combine a car engine with that kind of fuel flexibility and some sort of hybrid technology; add in todays biofuels and now we’re talking a really green car. For more information, I recommend this collection of messages and the Stirling FAQ

[Source: Stirling] 

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