This paper is concerned with the study of low-cost, low-power thermoacoustic electricity generators. Based on target electrical output power values of 50 and 100 W, three standing wave prototypes (of both one-stage and two-stage prototypes) integrating a commercial loudspeaker with different coupling arrangements are conceived. Each stage consists of a square-pore stack sandwiched between hot and ambient heat exchangers. The working gas is air at atmospheric pressure. The prototypes’ efficiency in converting heat to electrical power is simulated by the specialized Design Environment for Low-Amplitude ThermoAcoustic Engines (DeltaEC) design tool based on the linear theory of thermoacoustics. At a given operation frequency, the optimal impedance matching between the loudspeaker and the engine is realized by adjusting both the engine parameters (stack location, stack length, heat exchangers length, loudspeaker location) and loudspeaker parameters (load resistance and box volume). Computations reveal that the one-stage engine and two-stage engine with loudspeakers coupled in side-branch mode are able to meet the target output power values with comparable thermal-to-electric efficiency (4.6%). The two-stage engine with the loudspeaker coupled in push–pull mode is unable to reach the desired power output and is characterized by low conversion efficiencies (2%) due to the poor loudspeaker–engine acoustic impedance matching.
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