US20120279221A1 - Mobile biomass generating plant - Google Patents

Mobile biomass generating plant Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120279221A1
US20120279221A1 US13/465,562 US201213465562A US2012279221A1 US 20120279221 A1 US20120279221 A1 US 20120279221A1 US 201213465562 A US201213465562 A US 201213465562A US 2012279221 A1 US2012279221 A1 US 2012279221A1
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Prior art keywords
generating plant
mobile biomass
power unit
gear driven
biomass generating
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US13/465,562
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Michael Durden
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Michael Durden
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Priority to US13/465,562 priority patent/US20120279221A1/en
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F01MACHINES OR ENGINES IN GENERAL; ENGINE PLANTS IN GENERAL; STEAM ENGINES
    • F01KSTEAM ENGINE PLANTS; STEAM ACCUMULATORS; ENGINE PLANTS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; ENGINES USING SPECIAL WORKING FLUIDS OR CYCLES
    • F01K13/00General layout or general methods of operation of complete plants
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F01MACHINES OR ENGINES IN GENERAL; ENGINE PLANTS IN GENERAL; STEAM ENGINES
    • F01KSTEAM ENGINE PLANTS; STEAM ACCUMULATORS; ENGINE PLANTS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; ENGINES USING SPECIAL WORKING FLUIDS OR CYCLES
    • F01K15/00Adaptations of plants for special use
    • F01K15/02Adaptations of plants for special use for driving vehicles, e.g. locomotives

Abstract

Disclosed is a mobile biomass generating plant having a power unit, at least one generator and a drive shaft. In one embodiment, the power unit is mounted to a lowboy trailer and the at least one generator is mounted to at least one of the lowboy trailer and a second lowboy trailer. Additionally, the drive shaft may connect the at least one generator to the power unit. In one embodiment, the power unit may generate and direct power to the drive shaft which can be used to manipulate the at least one generator to produce electricity.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/482,756 filed on May 5, 2011, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Natural and man-made disasters create irreparable damage and destruction in many parts of the world. For example, homes and buildings are damaged, and electric power in the affected areas is unavailable for a period of time. Additionally, debris from the damaged homes and buildings prevents utility crews from arriving to the affected areas quickly and/or repairing the electrical problems in a timely manner.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Many aspects of this disclosure can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present disclosure. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
  • FIG. 1A illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the mobile biomass generating plant of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 1B illustrates a top view of an embodiment of the mobile biomass generating plant of the present disclosure.
  • SUMMARY
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure, in one aspect, relate to a mobile biomass generating plant.
  • Briefly described, embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant comprising a power unit, where the power unit is mounted to a lowboy trailer, at least one generator, and a drive shaft, where the drive shaft connects the at least one generator to the power unit.
  • Briefly described, embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile method of using biomass to produce electric power comprising burning biomass in a fire box of a power unit, where the power unit comprises a gear driven steam engine mounted on a lowboy trailer, to produce heat, boiling a quantity of water in a boiler of the gear driven steam engine using the heat produced by burning the biomass, and using the steam produced by the boiling water to run pistons on the gear driven steam engine, thereby turning at least one drive shaft to spin at least one generator connected to the gear driven steam engine via the at least one drive shaft to produce electric power.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Before the present disclosure is described in greater detail, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to particular embodiments described, as such may, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only, and is not intended to be limiting, since the scope of the present disclosure will be limited only by the appended claims.
  • In accordance with the purpose(s) of the present disclosure, as embodied and broadly described herein, embodiments of the present disclosure, in one aspect, relate to a mobile biomass generating plant. Natural and man-made disasters create irreparable damage and destruction in many communities around the world. The mobile biomass plant of the present disclosure utilizes debris from buildings and other structures destroyed as a result of these disasters and/or any woody material or trash that is combustible (e.g., grasses, leaves, pine cones, needles, scrap tires, shingles, etc.) to produce power and provide electricity to the affected areas. The mobile biomass plant of the present disclosure may also utilize material from forests such as understory, destroyed wood, trees, and/or any other type of material that is flammable. In an embodiment of the present disclosure, wood based products include paper, boards, pellets, scrap wood, grass, farm waste, corn stalks, wheat straw, other wood based products, and/or any other renewable resource, and/or any combination thereof. Additionally, the mobile biomass plant of the present disclosure uses waste material from manufacturing facilities such as saw dust, wood scrape, grass, farm waste, and/or any other type of waste material and/or any combination thereof. Furthermore, the mobile biomass plant of the present disclosure uses any combination of any of the materials described above to produce power in an affected area.
  • After producing power in an affected area, the mobile biomass plant of the present disclosure can be relocated to a second affected area to repeat the process of using debris and waste to generate power.
  • With reference to FIGS. 1A and 1B, shown is a mobile biomass generating plant 100 according to various embodiments. The mobile biomass generating plant 100 comprises a power unit 101, at least one generator 102, and a drive shaft 103. The power unit 101 is mounted to a lowboy trailer 104. In an embodiment, the at least one generator 102 is mounted to a second lowboy trailer (not shown). In another embodiment comprising multiple generators, the generators are each mounted to separate trailers. In an embodiment, the generators are mounted to the same trailer. In another embodiment, the at least one generator is mounted to the same lowboy trailer 104 as the power unit 101. The drive shaft 103 connects the at least one generator 102 to the power unit 101. In an embodiment, the power unit 101 is fitted to the trailer with a feed trough/tray 105 mounted to the boiler/firebox 106.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the feed tray 105 is a conveyer belt, however, one skilled in the art would understand that alternative types of feed trays may be used.
  • Mounting the power unit 101 on a trailer enables mobility of the biomass generating plant of the present disclosure. In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the power unit 101 is mounted on a permanent base or foundation.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the power unit 101 comprises a gear driven train with the axels removed, such as, for example, a Heisler gear driven train. In another embodiment, the Heisler gear driven train is outfitted with a modern heavy duty truck style axle. These axles may enable smoother operation and longer operating life. In other embodiments, the power unit may comprise gear driven steam engines for steam ships, paddle boats, and/or manufacturing facilities. Additionally, the power unit may comprise any gear driven engine producing a predetermined threshold amount of power during operation. In still another embodiment, the power unit may comprise an engine that operates on compressed air.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the power unit 101 comprises a gear steam train with the axles removed, leaving the axle shafts 108. The axle shafts 108 connect to transmissions (gear boxes) 109 on separate trailers (see FIG. 1B). In an embodiment of the present disclosure, each axle (e.g., a train includes 4 separate axles) powers two generators. In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the transmission 109, at least one generator 102, and drive shaft 103 are housed in a trailer. The components of the embodiments of the present disclosure may be arranged in any number of ways, depending on the size of the generators and how they fit on the trailer, if any.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the power unit 101 (e.g., gear driven steam engine (e.g., train)) comprises at least one drive shaft 103. In another embodiment, multiple (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc.) generators are mounted on separate trailers and connected by one drive shaft. In another embodiment of the present disclosure, the power unit 101 (e.g., gear driven steam engine (e.g., train)) comprises a crank case 110. In an embodiment, steam turns the crank case 110, which drives the axles.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the power unit 101 comprises a water inlet 111, a water boiler 112, a fire box 106, an exhaust outlet 113, and a clean out plate 115.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, an operator station and/or an operator cab of the gear driven train is removed and replaced with a feed trough 105. The feed trough 105 is installed so that a wood based product can be delivered into a fire box/fire boiler 106 using a loader machine, such as, for example, a skidster with a bucket and/or a slick sheet of metal to allow biomass to slide down without difficulty.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the feed trough 105 is configured to receive coal and/or any other energy producing product. Further, if the power unit 101 comprises an engine operating on compressed air, then the feed trough 105 is removed and an engine replaced to supply the air needed to run the plant's engine on gasoline, propane or LP gas, natural gas, vegetable oil and/or any other type of petroleum based product, and/or any combination thereof. In one embodiment, any flammable material is used, regardless of the type of engine.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the mobile biomass generating plant includes a fan 107 affixed to the fire box and/or fire boiler 106. For example, the fan 107 enables the wood product in the fire box and/or fire boiler 106 to burn hotter, faster, and/or more efficiently. Further, this fan 107 delivers air into the wood product while the product is burning to control the temperature of the fire and manage the temperature of the water.
  • In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the boiler is outfitted with stronger steel and safety features that function to prevent any boiler failures. For example, the boiler is customized with relief valves to release pressure if the pressure generated by the steam engine exceeds a threshold amount. Further, the relief valves may be monitored by a computer system to ensure the pressure inside the boiler does not exceed a predetermined threshold. Additionally, the steel comprising the boiler (e.g., high tech metals) may make the boiler lighter and safer.
  • Additionally, in an embodiment of the mobile biomass generating plant of the present disclosure, an air quality system is included to monitor the exhaust being generated by the biomass generating plant. In one embodiment, the air quality system may be a catalytic converter, an ammonia solution system, and/or any other type of air quality system. The type of air quality system used will depend on the geographical area the unit is operating, i.e., local requirements will determine which system will be used. In an embodiment, the unit can be operated without the air quality system if subject to any regulations and/or if the unit is used outside of the United States.
  • In one embodiment, the mobile biomass generating plant may include at least one generator 102 comprising one or more megawatt units mounted onto a separate lowboy trailer and/or any other type of trailer 114. For instance, the generators may be one or more 1 megawatt units (e.g., about 1 to 3 Megawatts), each mounted on separate trailers relative to each other and the power unit (see FIG. 1B). In this example, each trailer may include a generator 102, transmission 109, transformer, and/or cables for transferring power into power lines. In one embodiment, the lines may be distribution lines, transmission lines, and/or any combination thereof. Additionally, the trailers may be pulled separately where the transmissions and the generators are connected to the steam engine by a drive shaft.
  • Further, in one embodiment, the power unit 101 may accommodate a generator having up to eight 1-megwatt (or greater) units at a time. As such, each trailer 114 housing each of the generators 102 may be pulled alongside the power unit 101 and connected to each other via a drive shaft 103 from the power unit 101. In one embodiment, eight generators 102 may be connected to the power unit 101, and each generator 102 may be mounted on its own trailer 114. In another embodiment, the power unit 101 may operate with a generator 102 having less than 1 megawatt unit (e.g., 5 KW generator). Types of generators and transmissions that may be used include: a GE generator, a Toshiba generator, a Siemens generator, a Caterpillar generator, and/or any other type of generator or combination thereof. Each of these types can be used, depending on availability as well as location.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, water is brought to the power unit (e.g., steam engine) by a small water tender. In an embodiment, the water tender is a water truck capable of pumping water into a water tank of the water truck from a nearby body of water, such as, a lake and/or river. In another embodiment, the water is pumped into the water tank of the water truck via a gas engine and/or any other power producing system. All water used evaporates in the process, thus, no water runoff will occur in the process of producing power. The water is heated to the point of steam and evaporates into the air. In one embodiment, the water tank may be expanded to allow the power unit to execute long cycles. For instance, a larger tank will hold a larger amount of water thereby allowing the power unit to perform its intended purpose without a need to shut down and refill the water tank on a frequent basis. In this embodiment, a large water tank may be associated with a larger fire box and/or fire boiler to aid in heating a larger volume of water.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, transformers on the trailers carrying the generators are used to regulate the output of power into the distribution or transmission lines. In one embodiment, the transformers help prevent a power surge on the grid into which power is being supplied. For instance, the connection to the power grid can be made at a substation or into a distribution line. A one-way switch may be used to prevent a back feed in electricity into the at least one generator 102 and power unit 101. In one embodiment, the switch can vary, based at least in part on the output of power the unit produces.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant comprising a power unit, where the power unit is mounted to a lowboy trailer, at least one generator, and a drive shaft, where the drive shaft connects the at least one generator to the power unit. In an embodiment, the at least one generator is mounted to a second lowboy trailer. In another embodiment, the power unit and the at least one generator are mounted to the same lowboy trailer.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant, where the power unit comprises a gear driven steam engine. In an embodiment, the power unit is selected from the group consisting of: a Heisler gear driven train, a Shay gear driven train, and a combination thereof.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant, where the gear driven train has a plurality of train axels removed. In an embodiment, an operator station of the train is replaced with a feed trough. In another embodiment, a fire box coupled to the power unit receives a flammable product from the feed trough. In another embodiment, a boiler associated with the power unit is enhanced with a plurality of safety features comprising a plurality of pressure release valves.
  • In an embodiment of the present disclosure, the mobile biomass generating plant further includes an ash tray positioned underneath the boiler.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant where a water tank coupled to the power unit is configured to enhance a duty cycle for the mobile biomass generating plant.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant further comprising an air quality system, where the air quality system is selected from the group consisting of: a catalytic converter, an ammonia solution system, and a combination thereof, and where the air quality system is used to monitor a quantity of exhaust generated by the mobile biomass generating plant. The air quality system size of units can vary from 1 or 2 5 KW right on top.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant, where the at least one generator comprises one or more at least 1-megawatt units. In an embodiment, the at least one generator may be as low as about 5 KW.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a mobile biomass generating plant, where the at least one generator comprises a transmission, a transformer, and cables to transfer power to a plurality of power lines. In an embodiment, a transmission is not needed on smaller models. In another embodiment, the power lines comprise distribution lines and transmission lines.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure further include a method of using a mobile biomass plant. In an embodiment, the wood product/biomass is squeezed of all moisture to reduce the need for drying. In one embodiment, drying the wood products/biomass enables the product to burn hotter thereby causing the boiler to reach an appropriate temperature. For instance, moisture contained in the wood product/biomass may prevent the product from burning efficiently. Removing this moisture allows for the wood product/biomass to burn hotter, longer, and/or faster. In one embodiment, the process for squeezing the wood product/biomass may be a sugar cane press typically used in the process of making sugar cane syrup. This process may be driven by an electric motor and multiple units may be used to handle the volume of wood chips needed to fuel the boiler.
  • Additionally, the heat from the boiler fire is used to further dry the wood product/biomass before burning, if necessary. In one embodiment, this is accomplished by piping the heat from the exhaust stack 113 to the feed tray and forcing the hot air underneath the wood product. The hot air rises up from underneath and dries the wood product before the wood product enters the fire box. For example, in one embodiment, the heat from the boiler fire is directed underneath the wood product by using a small fan that can be powered by the mobile biomass plant and/or another energy source. Alternatively, or in addition thereto, woody material can be air dried and/or dried by the sun. Additionally, in an embodiment, an ash tray is fitted underneath the boiler to catch the hot ashes from the fire box and/or fire boiler 106.
  • The mobile biomass generating plant of the present disclosure is used to process product, such as wood product, to convert to electric power. For instance, a burner included in the plant burns the wood product to produce heat. The resulting heat is then used to boil a quantity of water to produce steam. The gear driven engine is configured to use the steam to run the pistons, thereby turning a shaft to spin a plurality of generators that produce electric power. In addition, it can run a turbine or turbine generator, not just a piston driven gear box.
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure include a method of using a mobile biomass generating plant to produce electric power comprising burning biomass in a fire box of a power unit, where the power unit comprises a gear driven steam engine mounted on a lowboy trailer, to produce heat; boiling a quantity of water in a boiler of the gear driven steam engine using the heat produced by burning the biomass; and using the steam produced by the boiling water to run pistons on the gear driven steam engine, thereby turning at least one drive shaft to spin at least one generator connected to the gear driven steam engine via the at least one drive shaft to produce electric power.
  • In an embodiment, the method further includes relocating the mobile biomass plant to a second affected area to repeat the process of using debris and waste to generate power after producing power in a first affected area.

Claims (20)

1. A mobile biomass generating plant comprising:
a power unit, wherein the power unit is mounted to a lowboy trailer;
at least one generator; and
a drive shaft, wherein the drive shaft connects the at least one generator to the power unit.
2. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, wherein the at least one generator is mounted to a second lowboy trailer.
3. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, wherein the power unit and the at least one generator are mounted to the same lowboy trailer.
4. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, wherein the power unit comprises a gear driven steam engine.
5. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 4, wherein the power unit is selected from the group consisting of: a Heisler gear driven train, a Shay gear driven train, and a combination thereof.
6. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 5, wherein the gear driven train has a plurality of train axels removed.
7. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 5, wherein an operator station of the train is replaced with a feed trough.
8. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 4, wherein a fire box coupled to the power unit receives a flammable product from the feed trough.
9. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 4, wherein a boiler associated with the power unit is enhanced with a plurality of safety features comprising a plurality of pressure release valves.
10. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 4, further comprising an ash tray positioned underneath the boiler.
11. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, wherein a water tank coupled to the power unit is configured to enhance a duty cycle for the mobile biomass generating plant.
12. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, further comprising an air quality system, wherein the air quality system is selected from the group consisting of: a catalytic converter, an ammonia solution system, and a combination thereof, and wherein the air quality system is used to monitor a quantity of exhaust generated by the mobile biomass generating plant.
13. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, wherein the at least one generator comprises one or more at least 1-megawatt units.
14. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 1, wherein the at least one generator comprises a transmission, a transformer, and cables to transfer power to a plurality of power lines.
15. The mobile biomass generating plant of claim 14, wherein the power lines comprise distribution lines and transmission lines.
16. A method of using a mobile biomass generating plant to produce electric power comprising:
burning biomass in a fire box of a power unit, wherein the power unit comprises a gear driven steam engine mounted on a lowboy trailer, to produce heat;
boiling a quantity of water in a boiler of the gear driven steam engine using the heat produced by burning the biomass; and
using the steam produced by the boiling water to run pistons on the gear driven steam engine, thereby turning at least one drive shaft to spin at least one generator connected to the gear driven steam engine via the at least one drive shaft to produce electric power.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the gear driven steam engine is selected from the group consisting of: a Heisler gear driven train, a Shay gear driven train, and a combination thereof.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein the gear driven steam engine further comprises an air quality system selected from the group consisting of: a catalytic converter, an ammonia solution system, and a combination thereof.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein the boiler further comprises safety features comprising a plurality of pressure release valves.
20. The method of claim 16, further comprising relocating the mobile biomass plant to a second affected area to repeat the process of using debris and waste to generate power after producing power in a first affected area.
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