Thermoacoustic Energy Generation
Advisors: Steve Alexander, Professor of Physics and Lee Fellows, Coordinator of Science Facilities and Equipment
Environmentally benign power generation, waste energy recovery, biomedical
prosthetics, and sensors; the applications, humanitarian and commercial potential is enormous for the patented Fellows Thermoacoustic Cycle (TAC) engine; a closed circuit, traveling-wave, acoustic oscillator. It is a universal thermal-electric power generator that will work in any environment and utilize any source of thermal energy (solar, liquid, gas, geothermal, exhaust, field waste, open flame, body heat). It converts the incoming thermal energy into directional acoustic waves, and modifies the impedance in the gas column so that the acoustic waves couple efficiently and synchronously with the reciprocating mass of the armature of a linear generator with no bearings or lubrication. This system will operate for thousands of hours with no maintenance or sound. Our goal is to decrease the operation frequency from 5000 Hz to military standard (400 Hz) so that it will have greater consistency and higher commercial viability. With the fact that any heat source can be used, we predict applicability in any environment (industrial, commercial, and third-world).