Now that the petrol and diesel internal combustion engines are on the way out, the question rises: what will replace them? One candidate is obvious, the electro-motor, powered by renewable electricity, with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell as intermediary storage stage:
But what if we only have heat available as an energy source, for instance from burning biomass, methanol, ammonia, or even metal powder like is shown here (0:43 – 1:20):
Stirline engine powered by burning iron powder
The answer to that question would be the Stirling engine. A Dutch-based company called Microgen claims (in 2014) to be the first to mass produce a stirling engine, albeit still powered by natural gas. Microgen is located in Doetinchem, has an R&D-facility in Petersborough, England and production in China. Patents probably owned by Sunpower from the US.
Work on the Stirling engine was carried out in the sixties by Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as well as by Ford and GM in the seventies. But none of these projects made it into mass production.
[agem.nu] – Stirlingmotor uit de Achterhoek slingert duurzaamheid aan
[microgen-engine.com] – Microgen corporate site
[wikipedia.org] – Stirling Engine
[wikipedia.org] – Applications of the Stirling Engine
[wikipedia.org] – Internal combustion engine
Swedisch submarine powered by a Stirling engine
Philips Stirling motor, still working half a century later.