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Other Acoustic Technologies
- A Sound Way to Turn Heat into Electricity - University of Utah physicists developed small devices that turn heat into sound and then into electricity via piezoelectric conversion. The technology holds promise for changing waste heat into electricity, harnessing solar energy and cooling computers and radars. (PESN; May 5, 2007)
- Directory:Magnetic Resonance Amplifier - Dan Davidson: US Patent # 5568005 ~ Acoustic-Magnetic Power Generator
- Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed an "Acoustic Stirling Heat Engine" with no moving parts. It converts heat into intense acoustic power. 
Increased Efficiency Losses
On June 17, 2007, NEC advisor, Jim Dunn wrote:
To first convert heat to sound and then sound to electrical energy will not yield over 12-15% efficiency, which is where we are with peltier and Seebeck devices today.
Heat to sound is not simple or efficient, (20-30%) and sound to electric (as in piezoelectric or capacitive (electret) microphones) is quite mature, but not considered of good efficiency (25-35%). Other possible choices like Barium titanate transducers might be a little better, but still not dramatic.
To compound 2 low efficiency devices (20-30% each) will not yield over 10% final net efficiency.
This is not likely to beat existing techs.
On June 21, 2007, Ken Rauen wrote:
I beg to differ. See http://www.lanl.gov/mst/engine/
The Los Alamos National Laboratory team that developed the first practical acoustic Stirling engine now has its efficiency up to 30%. They say linear motor/generators can be driven by this engine, and such generators are over 80% efficient. 30% x 80% = 24%. A 90% alternator would make it 27%. These are much better numbers than James Dunn claims they are.
I say thermoacoustic engines with linear alternators are more efficient than common thermoelectric generators. They are about the same in cutting edge TEG designs which are reported to be about 25% efficient.
For those of you who do not know, Peltier and Seebeck devices are the same thing! They are thermoelectric devices such as thermocouples, thermopiles, and thermoelectric generators. The Peltier effect is the phenomenon of heat-to-electricity and electricity-to-heat at a thermoelectric junction, such as a p-n junction in semiconducting materials; a solar cell exhibits the same thing with a particular wavelength of light. The Seebeck effect is the voltage of said junction, as a function of temperature, measured in volts per degree.
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