Stirling Engine

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Kit (Stirling Engine)
Creates a Stirling Engine
Stacks Yes (10)
Created With Electronics Printer
Cost 5 Gold, 20 Copper, 30 Steel

Stirling Engine
Power Usage 1W
Placed with Kit (Stirling Engine)
Placed on Large Grid
Stage 1
Deconstructed with Hand Drill
Item received 2x Electronic Parts
Stage 2
Deconstructed with Wrench
Item received 2x Steel Sheets
Stage 3
Deconstructed with Hand Drill
Item received Kit (Stirling Engine)
Overall Stirling Engine Cost/Requirements
Created With Electronics Printer, Autolathe
Cost 6 Iron, 9 Gold, 26 Copper, 31 Steel


Harnessing an ancient thermal expoit, the Recurso 'Libra' Stirling Engine generates power via the expansion and contraction of a working gas to drive pistons operating an electrical generator.

When high pressure hot gas is supplied into the input pipe, this gas will heat the hot side of the unit, then pass into the output pipe. The cooler side uses the room's ambient atmosphere, which must be kept at a lower temperature and pressure in order to create a differential. Add a working gas by inserting a gas canister. The unit must be deactivated when adding or removing canisters, or the working gas may leak into the surrounding atmosphere.

Gases with a low molecular mass make the most efficient working gases. Increasing the moles of working gas can result in a greater potential power output. However, overpressuring the unit may have... sub-optimal results.


The Stirling Engine has an efficiency curve that is dependent on three factors:

  • Environment
  • Working Gas
  • Input to Output efficiency

The best a Stirling Engine can provide in power is 15% efficiency of the input heat, whereas a Gas Fuel Generator has a much higher efficiency ratio per Mol of fuel.


The Stirling engine itself is best placed outdoors in a 13-25 Celcius environment to provide the highest efficiency. The only planets that cannot effectively use it are: Venus, Moon and Mimas


  • Moon (Vacuum): 0%
  • Venus: 12% efficiency @ 463 Celcius
  • Vulcan (Night): 91% efficiency @ 126 Celcius
  • Mars: 100%
  • Loulan: 100%


Keeping the Stirling engine indoors to cool it down to maximum efficiency is debatable if not impossible, since the exposed working gas canister heats the room up, thus it has to be heavily cooled. The power gained from indoor cooling is significantly less than the possible power gained with a single indoor-cooled Gas Fuel Generator.

A single frame of 100kPa (330mol oxygen @ 20 celcius) will rise by 1.5 Celcius every second with 1500 Celcius gas, assuming that you are exporting from a furnace to the Stirling Engine.

Working Gas[edit]

The working gas is a canister of gas that must be provided to the machine before it can be used. The gas itself is not lost, only used as a heat transfer gas. When filling it, 60 mols of gas in the canister is needed, which is usually around 2.4MPa when it is pressurized at room temperature.

If the canister's pressure ever reaches 11 MPa, the machine will instantly explode.

Here are the efficiencies of several gasses:

  • Pollutants: 5%
  • Carbon Dioxide: 8%
  • Oxygen: 12%
  • Nitrogen: 12%
  • Nitrous Oxide: 12%
  • Hydrogen: 15% (Best)

User Comments[edit]

The Stirling Generator has a maximum pressure differential of 11000 KPa (11 MPa), if the difference between the internal and external pressure exceeds this it will explode in a radius of more than 3x3, destroying everything in its path and killing players. It works on Temperature difference between two pipes. There needs to be one Canister that is used to transfer the heat, it explodes easily if overpressure is reached, unlike normal canisters it doesn't take time to explode as it is instant. Due to its explosive nature steps of caution i.e. pressure regulators are advised to be placed before the generator input. The Energy output scales on How fast it can transfer that heat(higher pressure in the transfer canister, gases with higher heat transfer rate (due to water no longer being a gas, volatiles is the best) and higher temperature difference). The output Gases need to be connected to a room(or planet with atmosphere) to function it does not work in space or on moons without atmospheres. The new Thermogenic Plants are an option to generate semi free power.
Max power: 8000W

Maximum internal-external pressure differential: 11000kPa

Environment operating efficiency: Around 300K for 100%
Minimum power for maximum internal pressure differential efficiency: 4600.452W ((0.15×20.4×2500×5)÷8.3144)
Maximum working gas efficiency: 15% (0.15) with volatiles

Technical details

Ideal pressure differential: 2500
Internal volume: 54L
Piston volume: 5L
Heat exchanger volume: 10L
Hot side area: 2
Cold side area: 3.5
Convection factor: 0.15
Radiation factor: 0.15
Surface area: 8.499227


The Stirling Engine is a reasonable way to generate night time power on Vulcan when solar power is unavailable. Place it outside so it's in night time (400K) atmosphere, and capture mid-day (900 to 950K) atmosphere into a tank and run the Stirling Generator from that hot air at night, the generator can produce around 1.8 kW from the temperature difference. For the working gas, a good starting point is 70 moles of H2 in the canister. You can boost the power output to about 2.1kW by using an active vent to blow cold night air into the large grid that the Stirling Engine is in to cool it down.