Two-stage heat engine for converting waste heat to useful work

Erik J Finger, University of Rhode Island


There is a large range of machines and systems that generate unwanted waste heat. For some applications, waste heat is a problem that must be removed in order for a machine to function properly or to make a system efficient. The use of a heat engine to utilize this waste heat and convert it to useful work can help alleviate this problem and overall increase energy efficiency. In addition, using working fluids that are volatile can increase power output of and engine with minimal input heat requirements, increasing the engine's applicability to a wide range of uses. Potential applications range from a micro-scale where heat removal from small electronic devices is required to large-scale applications involving cogeneration with the heat engine to utilize the extreme exothermic heat conditions generated from fuel cell systems to increase system efficiency. With this in mind, the development of a heat engine using volatile working fluids to make use of excess waste heat and convert it to useful energy on any size scale is desired. ^ In this work, an undeveloped theoretical patented two-cycle heat engine has been chosen to be developed for this purpose. A feasibility study will first be performed under ideal thermodynamic conditions to justify the idea. Once deemed feasible, the heat engine will be simulated thermodynamically under non-ideal conditions to compare the results to the ideal case as well as current fossil fuel energy generation systems of today. ^ Potential applications will be reviewed to further demonstrate the heat engine's applicability. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Chemical

Recommended Citation

Erik J Finger, "Two-stage heat engine for converting waste heat to useful work" (2005). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3186905.