Design Optimization and Performance Analysis of a Multi-kW Thermoacoustic Electric Generator Using DeltaEC Model

Srinath Somu, Deanna Lacoste, Saumitra Saxena, William L. Roberts, Robert M. Keolian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Abstract Waste heat recovery from power plants and industries requires a new type of electricity generator and related technological developments. The current research work is aimed at the design of a multi-kilowatt thermoacoustic electric generator, which can be employed as the bottoming cycle of a gas-turbine power plant or for industrial waste heat recovery. The proposed device converts thermal energy into acoustic power and subsequently uses a piezoelectric alternator to convert acoustic power into electricity. The challenge in designing such a device is that it has to be acoustically balanced. The performance of the device is greatly affected by numerous parameters such as frequency of the traveling acoustic wave, heat exchanger parameters, regenerator dimensions, acoustic feedback loop, etc. The proposed device is a lab-scale demonstration targeted to produce few kilowatts of electric power from a 20 kWth heat source. DeltaEC software is used to achieve the acoustically balanced configuration of the device. The DeltaEC model outcomes are used to arrive at the optimized design of the device and its components. The analytical method, the optimized geometrical dimensions of thermoacoustic components, and the minimum required conditions of heat source input are presented in this paper.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Energy Resources Technology
StatePublished - Mar 12 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-03-30
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): 1975-10, BAS/1/1370-01-01
Acknowledgements: We wish to acknowledge the work of Scott Backhaus, who wrote the original version of our DeltaEC model. This study has been supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology through the CARF project 1975-10, and the baseline funds BAS/1/1370-01-01 and BAS/1/1396-01-01.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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