This is the first time this type of breakthrough generator has gone over 100 kilowatts. Thermoacoustic engine achieves high thermal-to-electrical efficiencies with no moving parts. The new generator converts sound directly into electrical energy.
The Chinese design can be used for ultraquiet submarines.
Nasa's LEW-TOPS-80 patent proposed a thermoacoustic engine paired with an alternator to generate electricity in space. NASA has not shown a prototype.
NASA Glenn's thermoacoustic power converter reshapes the conventional Stirling engine from a toroidal shape into a straight colinear arrangement. Instead of relying on failure-prone mechanical inertance and compliance tubes, this design achieves acoustical resonance by using electronic components. In a typical Stirling engine, the acoustical wave travels around a toroid and reflects back, forming a standing wave. In Glenn's device, by contrast, the wave instead travels in a straight plane where a transducer receives the acoustical wave and electrical components modulate the signal. A second transducer on the diametrically opposed side reintroduces the acoustic wave with the correct phasing to achieve amplification and resonance. Glenn's design allows the transducers to operate at high frequency while presenting a mass rather than stiffness impedance. Glenn's magnetostrictive alternator uses stacked magnetostrictive materials under a biased magnetic and stress-induced compression.