Research project

PRIN 2017 - 2017JP8PHK_005 Technology for solar and waste heat powered energy conversion systems (DIT.AD017.082)

Thematic area

Engineering, ICT and technologies for energy and transportation

Project area

Tecnologie energetiche a basse emissioni (DIT.AD017)

Structure responsible for the research project

Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie per l'Energia e la Mobilità Sostenibili (STEMS)

Other structures collaborating in the research project

Project manager

Phone number: 0817177221


Climate changes and environmental concerns related to pollution generated from conventional power production systems are increasingly directing the world energy policy to consider technology as a strategic tool for reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, limiting the use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energies. Thus, the energy industry will need to address a growing interest in low-cost alternative technologies that can produce energy from renewable sources.
In this context, ThermoAcoustic (TA) technology offers a series of unique advantages and attractive opportunities. A TA system realizes the conversion of heat into acoustic power or, conversely, uses an intense acoustic wave to transport heat from low to high temperature. These two interactions are the key mechanisms for the operation of TA engines and refrigerators, respectively, and account for their technical simplicity when compared to conventional energy conversion systems. A TA has many applications and is therefore of clear relevance for the industry and the society in general since it has the potential to be a significant emerging cost-competitive clean energy technology.


The research project has the objective to develop practical applications of TA technology which could perform at a comparable level with conventional energy technologies, but with more attractive benefits from an environmental, economic and technical point of view. Specifically, the project aims at designing and implementing two efficient but technically simplified TA energy conversion devices for waste heat recovery and renewable energy exploitation applications as below reported:
A) A TA electricity generator powered by medium/low-grade heat characterized by a heat-to-acoustic energy conversion close to the Carnot theoretical limit and by an overall thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency close to 5-6 %.
B) A TA refrigerator powered by medium/low-grade heat characterized by a COP close to 20 % relative to Carnot at a temperature of -30 °.
Both systems will, therefore, perform at levels comparable to the ones characterizing conventional technologies (photovoltaic, Stirling, etc.) but with a much lower cost/efficiency ratio since all parts of the prototypes will be made of common low-cost materials without any special requirements.

Start date of activity



Istituto Motori, ITAE

Last update: 25/09/2023