Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, Laboratoire de Thermique, Energétique et Procédés, BP7511, F - 64075 Pau, France
Invented in 1816, the hot-air engines have known significant commercial success in the nineteenth century, before falling into disuse. Nowadays they enjoy a renewed interest for some specific applications. The "hot-air engines" family is made up of two groups: Stirling engines and Ericsson engines. The operating principle of Stirling and Ericsson engines, their troubled history, their advantages and their niche applications are briefly presented, especially in the field of micro-combined heat and power, solar energy conversion and biomass energy conversion. The design of an open cycle Ericsson engine for solar application is proposed. A first prototype of the hot part of the engine has been built and tested. Experimental results are presented.