There is a steam power plant over in England that is getting money and winning awards. It is fun to read how they do it. There are heat pipes, as in: “The combustion and flue heat recovery modules consist of a plurality of heat pipes, …” And, best of all, “The system recovers heat from waste fluids and gases, …” And it is: “A highly efficient electricity generating plant, running at 60 percent electrical efficiency.”
The reason I am copying all of these phrases is so that I will be able in the future to write just like this. There may be a problem with my conscience, but at my age I should be able to do something about that by exercising more mental discipline. The system starts by burning wood pellets, but not just ordinary run of the mill, just out of the extruder wood pellets, but “renewable bio-fuel wood pellets” and they are so good that produce steam but no carbon dioxide. These things burn in a Cyclonic Burner.
There is an attempt at explaining how a steam power plant works, although it is not a very clear explanation what with it giving both prime and waste heat steam production and having a flue gas manifold where heat is extracted and transferred to the water manifold. Quite a few other things happen and in the end “the complete system delivers a circa 90 percent energy conversion ratio.” The best part is the new invention whereby the “steam engine gives considerable energy benefit in the negation of having to condense the exhaust steam back to liquid for re-use, therefore retaining the latent heat value of circa 900 btu/lb of water …”
I have always like negations, particularly where they involve not having to condense steam back into water. On second thought, what am I complaining about; these people are clearly smarter than I am. They got the money to develop this and I did not.
The problem, as I see it, is that they plan on using a plurality of those little Green steam engines out of San Diego, the ones with a flexible shaft, a “Z” crank, and the cylinders rotate around a ball joint that has to maintain a steam seal while withstanding unbalanced forces and, from anything I could see, without the benefits of lubrication.
The basic idea is a good one. What the world needs is a bio-fuel burner that makes power. Steam is the best way of accomplishing this, and small distributed power plants are the best way to utilize bio-fuel, what with its bulk and weight before drying. The system is carbon neutral, which is to say that it does not contribute carbon to the atmosphere because the tree took carbon from the atmosphere last year while busy growing. It would be nice if someone with some knowledge and technical skill were to do this. Maybe even an understanding of how thermodynamics works also.