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Solar powered Steam engine

Steam engine brought industrial revolution in 19th century. Moreover, we can say that they were the engine of growth. At present time too, they are widely used in nuclear and coal power plants.

We discussed steam engine briefly in our post steam engine powered bicycle. Today we will discuss how we can produce steam using solar power?

Why do we need to use solar power?

Traditional steam engines mainly use coal and nuclear fuel to power themselves. Each of these methods has their repercussion. Coal powered engine damage our environment and after Japan Tsunami we know that use of nuclear fuel can be dangerous. Moreover, there are other strong reasons too, one of the most important is that sun light is free and abundant while coal and uranium are not.

How this project works?

To understand it, first you should know about how steam engine works?

Steam engines produce steam by boiling water and later use that steam for pushing piston in to and fro motion.My idea is, if we can use energy from the sun, to boil our water and left remaining steam engine intact, it would work exactly like our traditional engine except that our engine is powered by green energy.

To boil water using solar energy, we need a large magnify glass focused on our Solar Evacuated tube.
Evacuated tubes absorb solar energy and convert it into heat for use in water heating.  There are several types of evacuated tubes used in solar thermal collectors.This type of tube is chosen for its reliability, performance and cost effectiveness. We connect this tube with our engine using pipe and pass steam through it.


When lens of a system receives sun light, it direct it to the focal point which is our evacuated tubes.This process starts to heat these tubes.When we pass water through them,it converts into steam which we later use to power our engine.

Required Material:

Fresnel Lens
Solar Evacuated tube: Evacuated tubes absorb solar energy and convert it into heat for use in water boiling.

Useful Links:

Engine Plans

How to build one?

Toy Steam engine video:



Does it really works?



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