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Light generated by sawdust

30.06.2006
Efficient, compact and low-cost power installation was developed by Russian researchers. The power installation generates a lot of energy from bad-quality coal, sawdust and other low-grade fuel, and it emits very little noxious gas.

The installation exists in a single copy for the time being. Students who are doing practical work for the “non-traditional power engineering” speciality are learning to work on this installation in the N.E. Bauman Moscow State Engineering University. Thus, they would find out that heat and light in big quantity may be obtained practically from waste. To this end, it is not necessary to forward to furnace birchwood and high-quality minerals – the most valuable raw stuff for chemical industry. It turns out possible to obtain power from all kinds of “garbage”, thus getting rid of it without any damage to the environment. Besides, it is relatively low-cost, which is of no small importance.

The mobile, stand-alone power installation was developed by their teachers – Yuri Maslov, Ph.D. (Engineering Sciences), assistant professor, and his colleagues from the N.E. Bauman Moscow State Engineering University, famous for magnificent engineering traditions. The power installation is intended to supply heat and light for small-size enterprises, farms and other small entities. It does not claim that it would provide a town or even a region with power. But in cases when relatively little power is needed, but there is no power transmission line network, proper roads and/or big money yet, the power installation is capable of solving the problem in any season.

The installation consists of two active units: the gas generator and the internal-combustion engine, similar to the diesel engine and in fact developed on the basis of the standard engine but with some modifications. The most important thing is the gas generator per se, that is the device that allows to convert fuel of little use into useful, or more correctly - power-generating gas with the least possible losses both for itself and the environment.

So, thermochemical processing of fuel occurs first. In essence, fuel gasification (that is solid fuel conversion into the gases capable to oxidize with energy liberation) has been known in principle for nearly one hundred years. The distinction is in figures – those of efficiency of the process, that is the ratio of costs and the quantity of obtained power, and environmental safety.

In the gas generator of the “Bauman” installation, sawdust and other waste products (woody, vegetable and even stock-raising, peat and brown coal) are initially dried a little, and then heated at certain temperature in air current. This takes place in several stages in different parts of the generator – in the drying, restoration and combustion zones. Everything is important in the process - temperature conditions and the quantity of materials of which the generator is made, and quantity of oxidant, i.e., atmospheric oxygen. All these parameters were thoroughly determined by the authors based on a large amount of experimental investigations, and engineering and physicochemical calculations.

As a result, power-generating gas coming out of such installation’s gas generator consists nearly by half from a mixture of burning gases, i.e. carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane and oxygen, and also of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which do not burn or damage the environment either. The installation erected in the laboratory of the engineering university, is able to generate 10 kilowatt of electric power. This is not much, but the installation is small – this is rather a pilot variant. In principle, they are designed for generation of 30 kilowatt of electric power, i.e., it is quite possible to provide for example one farm with electric power. Along with that, the farm would get rid of vegetable waste and would reduce expenses on purchase and delivery of the “standard” fuel. Of course, some farmers do not care that much about the contents of any power installation discharge or about they toxicity, as environmental safely of the installation still is not a decisive argument for farmers. Instead, they would appreciate economy and effectiveness. Ecological safety is an inalienable part of the installation.

Nadezda Markina | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

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