Charcoal/Steam Powerplant In Shipping Containers
This quick draft is a concept for a small, versatile portable power plant in two shipping containers. Any kind of dry biomass can be used as fuel, although wood probably works best. It produces electricity in two ways: from gasified charcoal in an internal combustion engine as well as from waste heat in a steam engine. Alternative products are biochar (if not gasified) and steam (if not used to power the steam engine).
Description (see figure)
- Two 20 ft. shipping containers are used: the lower container is the carbonization/gasifier unit and the upper one is the steam / steam engine unit
- a charcoal-making unit similar to the Kon-Tiki Kiln is used for "open burn" pyrolysis
- the charcoal can be used as biochar
- alternatively, charcoal can be fed into a Troy Martz Gasifier
- "waste heat" rises into a Steam Generator
- Steam powers Steam Engine
Considerations / Problems
- the configuration of the Troy Martz Gasifier will have to be modified significantly. This is just a quick sketch.
- similarly, the configuration of the Kon-Tiki Kiln will also have to be very different. It is not clear that the dumping option is easy to achieve.
- since the walls of the shipping containers already act as an air barrier, the requirements for the geometry of the Kon-Tiki Kiln are not as strict as for a free-standing kiln
- Charcoal coming out of the kiln would burn when exposed to air, so the transfer to the gasifier would have to be quick
- Carbon monoxide release is a potential problem
- alternative to the conveyor belt is some kind of auger that transfers the hot charcoal into the holding tank.
- the waste heat from the Troy Martz Gasifier can be ducted to the Steam Generator for increased overall efficiency
- the Kon-Tiki Kiln has to be relatively accessible from all sides to allow fuel loading
- superheated steam may also be produced if the steam coming out of the steam generator is ducted back through the kiln.
Variations on the Theme
- skip the Troy Martz Gasifier and only use the waste heat for power. Perhaps then make the charring unit larger for more energy.
- steam turbine (or Stirling engine) may be preferable over steam engine.
- could the entire facility be packaged into a single shipping container?
- Use a Gas Turbine or ICE First, THEN usee the steam engine; essentially making it a combined cycle heat engine