I received this update from Bert Murray, team captain of the NSS Space Elevator Team;
This week the NSS Space Elevator Team finish up our laser absorber tests. The the heat from the absorber will be used to heat helium that in turns drives a Stirling Engine. Attach is a photo of a sample absorber heated with the laser. BTW our Test chamber is a modified army surplus ammunition case.
So, they are using a Stirling Engine to power their Climber. The last team that tried that was in 2006, I think, the Fischer28 team. Let’s hope that NSS fares better…
(Click on the thumbnail of the Absorber for a larger version of the picture)