Review on the conversion of thermoacoustic power into electricity

Michael A. G. Timmer, Kees de Blok, Theo H. van der Meer
  • The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, February 2018, Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
  • DOI: 10.1121/1.5023395

Review article on the conversion of thermoacoustic power into electricity

What is it about?

This article gives an overview of the work done on producing electricity from acoustic waves in thermoacoustic engines. These engines use a heat source as an input and subsequently create high power acoustic waves. To harvest this acoustic energy four acoustic to electric transducers are indentified and treated in this article: eletromagnetic devices (loudspeakers and linear alternators), piezoelectric transducers, magnetohydrodynamic devices and bidirectional turbines. For each transducer, a literature review of the technology for the field of thermoacoustics is given, focusing on possible configurations, operating characteristics, output performance, and analytical and numerical methods to study the devices. The work is concluded by a comparison of the four technologies, concentrating on the possible areas of application, the conversion efficiency, maximum electrical power output and more generally the suggested focus for future work in the field.

Why is it important?

This article is important because it provides a clear overview of the work done on acoustic to electric transducers in thermoacoustic engines. Such a specialized review for the given topic was not yet available in the thermoacoustic literature. The bundling and examination of 118 references in this article provides researchers and designers of thermoacoustic engines a clear overview of the different options available with their advantages, disadvantages and expected performance characteristics.

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