The operation of Stirling Energy Systems’ Stirling Dish system and components, originally built and tested during the mid 1980s by McDonnell Douglas [Lopez, 1993] and operated in the Department of Energy Dish Engine Critical Components (DECC) Program since 1998 is presented in this paper. The operating time, performance, and system availability are presented. The data show that the Kockums Stirling engine has accumulated over 8,200 hours of on-sun operating time, has generated over 115 MWh of electrical energy, and has accumulated more than 15,000 hours of test cell operating time since April of 1998 in the DECC Program. Power measurements indicate that the system performs the same as it did in the 1980s. The daily energy plots show net energy efficiency between 24% to 27% when the daily energy available exceeds 600 kWh. System availability data during the 1998/1999 testing period shows that the system was available over 94% of the time when the insolation exceeded 300 W/m2.
The data presented herein focuses on three power conversion units (PCUs) and two solar concentrators, which are tested in various combinations and as individual system components. During later parts of the testing cycle, one of the engines, PCU 209, included newly manufactured Stirling engine components (regenerators and coolers) as part of a manufacturing cost reduction program.