Solar air engines

The hot air engine is wonderfully suited for solar power generation. 150 years ago a few inventors succeeded in generating power out the sun heat.

Open Cycle Closed cycle Description
Direct heating Solar air engine Solar air engines use the heat of the sun to achieve a thermodynamic cycle in order to generate work. They can work as open or closed cycle engines, with direct or indirect heating of the working fluid. This means that the working fluid is heated indirectly or directly depending on the technology.

Examples of solar engines:
- The Mouchot solar steam engine.
- The Ericsson sun motor
Indirect heating

Inventors of solar air engines

Year Inventor Country Engine page
1861 Mouchot France Mouchot sun motor
1868 Ericsson Sweden / America Ericsson sun motor


The direct utilization of the natural forces in the development of power suitable for human activities has been for centuries a matter of continued scientific research.
Curiously the taming of sun heat - the most spread natural source of energy - has been done only very recently.

Since two centuries several attempts have been made to harvest the energy from the sun heat, but they remain isolated.
Nowadays big plants use the energy of the sun - be it its heat or it light - to generate power.