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DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 11:24 AM

Do any of you know of a site or sites that will help me from "A" to "Z" in building a small steam setup to run a generator for home use. Where this idea comes from is I can't stand how much trash my own family has that goes to the land fill. I want to burn it and make energy. I live in the country and have many trees on my land that will make up for any oxygen i am stealing from the atmosphere. I can make just about anything as I own a machine shop with very little work right now. I have CNC mills and lathes along with welding of any kind. I'm just not much of a designer however I follow directions great, lol.

Thanks for any help you may have. Chuck H.

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 12:18 PM

The steam age already gone,try solar system.

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Anonymous Poster
#2
In reply to #1

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 1:00 PM

He's surely aware of that, just wants to take any advantage of his houses' disposal materials rather than sending it all to the land fill.

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#24
In reply to #2

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 7:04 AM

thanks for seeing the simplicity of it. Chuck

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 1:02 PM

Please expand on this notion. Mainly, how do you propose that he converts his trash into solar power?

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 2:11 PM

Who told you that steam has gone away. Most power plants today convert thermal energy to mechanical energy by the use of the conversion of water to steam. The steam then runs through a steam turbine to spin the shaft of a generator. Did you think that heat (thermal energy) just ran backwards through a resistor to produce electric energy.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 2:39 PM

Several interesting concepts being discussed here.

Turning trash into solar power, running heat thru a resistor to produce electricty...

I am going to watch this one with interest!

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#40
In reply to #6

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:18 PM

the poster wants to turn trash into heat to make steam to power a generator.

someone else suggested using solar to make steam.

this guy doesnt want to pay for trash going to a landfill, so no amount of solar steam will help.

someone else said steam power is dead, lol.

i guess he has no idea how a nuke plant runs, does he, lol. all the nuclear materials do is turn water into steam, which turns a hundread year old design, or older, steam turbine engine to make power.

And an ancient relic antique car called the stanley steamer will outrun any modern car that money can buy you.

The only reason they were withdrawn from the market was that the builders did not undestand aerodynamics very well, so one of the stanley brothers was killed as his steam powered car passed 200mph, left the ground, and went flying through the air.

Steam is no where near dead, although anyone who does not understand steam's power, and how to murphy proof a steam generating system will soon be. On the rare occasions a steam boiler explodes, the entire building or ship, etc is usually destroyed.

You will not get specific exact details here on building a steam powerplant, because we dont want to make darwin jokes about you later. Nothing personal. There are other websites, etc, though devoted to steam power. whatever you build, make a steam genset with a FLASH boiler. they only heat a small amount of water at a time, and are usually lower pressure, and much safer. check on youtube, there are lots of small scale steam power projects there.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 2:50 PM

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is called the Rankine Cycle and is the closest we've gotten to the theoretical limit of the Carnot Cycle for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy.

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#41
In reply to #5

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:21 PM

"Did you think that heat (thermal energy) just ran backwards through a resistor to produce electric energy"

actually, if you have thermoelectric generators, or peltier/seebeck devices, it does, lol.

I have a few i put together to play with. if i put a propane flame on one side, 6 led spotlights light up at the other end.

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#9
In reply to #1

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 3:49 PM

I don't know what part of the planet you're on but, surely you must be a full-on moron!

What kind of an answer is this to his query? Aren't you part of a NWO cult by any chance?

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#10
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Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 3:55 PM

It does not help your image here to stoop to a fool's level. Trust me I know this from experience.

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#32
In reply to #10

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 1:01 PM

LOL

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#14
In reply to #1

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 9:01 PM

I'm not sure how to do this but I'm willing to try if you teach me. Here we go,,,,,, I need to know how to burn household trash with the sun and create a way to run a power generator at the same time from the energy you will get from burning the trash. I'm excited about doing this, please explain soon. Thanks ,,,,Chuck,,,,,BTW,,,,I am about as red neck as you tried to make me out to be however I do own a paid for CNC equipped machine shop doing production and job shop work. And I didn't get a dime from Daddy or Mom GOD rest their souls, my wife and I busted our arse's for it all. And "YES" we did stay in a "Holiday Inn" thank you. The reason I have time to do this project is I'm not much of a salesperson so I have very little work thanks to China and Mexico. I lost 3 major customers to those two countries. Anyway I'll be waiting on your instructions with baited breath,,,,,LOL,,,,Chuck, a Hard Working Redneck in Sugar Tit South Carolina and Very Proud of it! God bless all those little pigmi children in the down,,,,,,owwwww what ever he says on the comedy tour thing ya know,,,,,,,lol,,,,sleep well all,,,

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#23
In reply to #14

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 4:48 AM

Basics - you need to burn the trash to make steam or hot water or both. Solar thermal is of no benefit in burning trash but perhaps you could use thermal panels to augment the low temperature heating of your water (feed water in the case of a boiler). Unless you have a need for steam stay with hot water. The moment you decide to go for steam you need a step change in technology in having a boiler. If you make steam but have no need for process steam then you complicate matters further by having to recover the energy in a steam turbine. If you are going to use a stem turbine you need high pressure steam. A pressurised system - for home manufacture - is that much more demanding since you will need to follow the appropriate codes for materials, welding and safety. If you have enough trash - and a rule of thumb is if you have more than about 2 MW thermal worth of trash - then it could make sense to have a steam cycle generating perhaps 500 kW of electricity and some hot water. With less than about 1 MW thermal of trash it would be difficult to make any case for the complexity of a full fledged boiler and steam turbine-generator. Since you are considering household trash I expect you have less than 1 MW thermal at your disposal and I would suggest that you keep it very simple - so it works - rather than trying for an all-singing, all-dancing installation which doesn't. My suggestion would be: 1. an old fashioned grate type furnace which is easily constructed - essentially steel fabrication - and which is fairly tolerant of variation of heat content of the fuel. A fixed grate rather than a moving grate for a unit of this size. You would need stainless steels only for parts subjected to the highest combustion temperatures. If your heat exchange tubes are not too close to the combustion zone you can avoid any exotic materials. 2. Even though a grate is very forgiving of fuel quality you would still need to sort the trash to avoid glass and other alkali containing materials (to avoid corrosion) and some materials which are slow to burn and emit carcinogens and materials which cause slag at low (relatively) temperatures. 3. Design only for hot water and avoid the complications of controlling a boiling process. Simple designs of fixed grate furnaces are readily available for example here - http://books.google.com/books?id=KE565zmFumQC&pg=PA135&lpg=PA135&dq=fixed+grate+furnace&source=bl&ots=wHz9Cd7jgu&sig=J5GnvVPX_Inf-xDrnDxocsG5OVg&hl=en&ei=c0tqTP-GFsrKOJHu-fAB&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved= Good luck! ktwop

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 7:44 AM

Thanks so much. You gave me exactly the help I'm looking for. I need to study on all you've said to make sense of it and my idea. You are correct I'm sure now that I think about it in the fact that I will not have enough trash to go the steam way. However what I really do have in mind is a very small system more or less "proof of concept" type thing. For that matter I'll change my whole idea if someone has a better one. I just want to get ride of trash and receive some kind of energy in return. I already save all my cans and melt them down to make small molds of aluminum to make stuff from. Basically I believe in recycling everything, waste nothing!! I try everyday to find something I can do with all this plastic from the water bottle works that has taken off so. Thanks again for your thoughts and please stay in touch. If you have anymore ideas please share. Thanks ,,,,Chuck

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#42
In reply to #25

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:32 PM

I try everyday to find something I can do with all this plastic from the water bottle works that has taken off so.

the world health org is now touting regular clear 2 liter bottles for water purification. Fill a bottle full with settled cloth filtered ditch water, put the bottle in the sun all day, and the water is biologically sterile and safe to drink that day. of course this does not remove chemical contaminants, if present.

i believe most plastic bottles made are pretty clean burning PETE now, so you can toss them in the fire,too. I do it all the time

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#48
In reply to #42

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 2:01 PM

"i believe most plastic bottles made are pretty clean burning PETE now, so you can toss them in the fire,too. I do it all the time"

Sorry but "NO" the ones I burn don't go away. When i look in my burn barrel here at work I find what I'll call "globs" (for lack of a better word in my vocabulary at this time) of melted plastic, NOT BURNED plastic. Thats why I had said earlier that I am always looking for a good use of wasted plastic in bottles or any plastic for that matter. I know plastic burns but what it leaves is not ash that you can add to you're garden as fertilizer. I've read several comments striking down my negative views of landfills so let me add this.

BMW the car manufacture is about 4 miles from my shop here in Sugar Tit SC. and one great thing they do is pipe methane from the locale landfill to their place and use it very productively. HOWEVER, all that methane came from things that degrade, NOT PLASTIC. We use things from the earth to make plastic, again HOWEVER, plastic doesn't return it's self to the earth,,,Whew are you still with me,,,lol,,,,I hope you guys understand where I'm coming from. BTW, any misspellings above are caused by my keyboard as it hates me! Hell I came from a USAF family and went to a few Yankee schools so we all know I'm edumacated,,,lol

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 2:16 PM

Yep, bottle plastics should be recycled instead of placed in a landfill. There's a good reason that bottle plastics don't decompose easily in a landfill. Bottled water plastics are designed to not dissolve in water. Now if your burner could produce much higher temperatures you could burn any plastic. But one will often find that your burning plastic waste will add very little total heat in the process.

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#4

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 1:35 PM

There is quite a hobby interest in small steam engines, and a magazine called "Live Steam" (I think.) Searching on model railroading might also turn up many good ideas. In a minute I will try a Google on "steam engine plans"....Yeah, lotsa stuff. Sounds like a great project--with your tooling and background, you'll have good luck and likely success.

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#8

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 3:27 PM

The more modern method to small scale heat to electric power conversion is to use Peltier coolers running in reverse or Seebeck units to directly convert the heat source into DC electricity.

Although they are not super efficient a good design will be roughly equal to that of a small steam system but has the advantage of being zero pressure system and the waste heat energy is easier to capture and reuse for other purposes. Plus it would have no moving parts on the power production side and a extremely long working life with minimal maintenance.

This method would make it possible to build a waste fuel to electric generator system without the need for using pressurized steam or mechanical parts. Basically all you need is a temperature controlled water jacket to stabilize the fires heat output (large thermal mass for temperature regulation) and a method to draw the excess heat off of the solid state generator devices (basically a heat exchanger or heat sink system) and some place that extra heat energy can be use beneficially.

Its just a thought any way.

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#12
In reply to #8

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 6:55 PM

No idea what size system Chuck (the OP) is envisaging, but after a quick look round I came up with about £250/kW for Peltier effect devices.

Given that he has essentially free man-hours and machine shop access, the costing could be a fine balance.

I must say the lack of moving parts/pressure systems etc for power generation is attractive (albeit boring ).

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#27
In reply to #12

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:03 AM

LOL, I'm an old motocross racer John so "I must say the lack of moving parts/pressure systems etc for power generation is attractive (albeit boring

)." seems very attractive to me,,,LOL,,,, if you know what I mean.

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#34
In reply to #27

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 1:38 PM

Nothing beats mechanical clatter and the smell of oil, eh?

However, as I gather your output could easily exceed 1kw, therefore, I would think of something substantially more powerful than an auto generator. If you consider to use steam engine you could dress its fly-wheel with neo-magnets and just 3 coils to create a simple 3phase generator since they all have governors. Should you decide to rectify it then rev stability ain't important.

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#50
In reply to #34

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 2:37 PM

"Nothing beats mechanical clatter and the smell of oil, eh?"

Correct, however I lost my sense of smell when I was but 21 years old you see from motocross racing motorcycles with my face getting too personal with the ground.

Isti80 ya lost me at "3 coils" though. I do know just enough about electricity to get me in the hospital. LOL, I know 3 phase, governors, but not "rectify" nor "revstability" lol unless you meant "rev-stability" and thats got something to do with the back door at the hospital doesn't it?,,,lol,,,if we don't laugh we'll go crazy don't cha know????

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#43
In reply to #12

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:47 PM

these guys have the cheapest hookup i have found for small scale thermoelectric generators, if your interested http://www.tegpower.com/energyprojects.htm

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#26
In reply to #8

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 7:54 AM

Thanks, I'll look these up as you got way over my head real quick ya see. LOL. Thanks again,,,,Chuck

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#11

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 5:47 PM

What size generator are you thinking about to drive and would it operate 24/7?

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#28
In reply to #11

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:10 AM

any size really I'm not even sure yet. For cost savings I may even use a car alternator. The whole idea is just to do my part in keeping stuff out of our locale landfill and make some energy in the process. For the neighbors and youth a proof of concept type thing you see. Thanks ,,,Chuck

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#55
In reply to #28

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 6:17 AM

I guess that you have considered composting? or you might already compost a lot of your food refuse? The decomposed material becomes plant fertilizer.

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#56
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Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 6:54 AM

....true, but don't forget it also gives off the same amount of CO2 as if you had burnt it and heated something up with it......slower, but thats all!!

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#63
In reply to #56

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/20/2010 11:19 AM

Indeed, that occurred to me later. Yet it could keep the air cleaner than burning, especially if methane production isn't very high. Then the decomposed material can be used to grow more carbon capturing plants and that can be repeated over again.

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#68
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Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/23/2010 8:07 AM

Not quite true. Composting leaves a fair amount of organic matter (humus) that may never leave the soil. Burning releases all of the carbon.

Think about how the organic matter for the oil we are using today got there. That was all through long-term, large scale composting!

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#58
In reply to #55

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 7:57 AM

Yes we do compost. I can even add to that with the fact that as I have said I have a machine shop and have done a lot of cast iron work in the past when work was better. With all these cast iron chips that has come from the work done I do everything from put them around tree trunks for fertilizer, to building ramps off concrete pads because when the chips rust together it makes a very good driving surface at little to no cost.

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#64
In reply to #58

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/20/2010 11:27 AM

I had never heard of using iron waste like that.

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#33
In reply to #11

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 1:15 PM

You hit the nail right on the head, who is going to be around 24/7 to feed the rubbish into the boiler????

Its a job done by underpaid people over the last 1 1/2 centuries.......which is why its gone severely out of fashion......the only way to do it is to make (a totally unpractical and costly) automatic feeder.......

If you restrict it to say 4 - 6 hours a day, you will still get rid of the rubbish and save some money, get a lot of books read between loading and not need to do it automatically.....

Or see if you can "swap" all your wood for wood pellets. They can be automated very easily.....see any home pellets burner!!

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#35
In reply to #33

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 2:10 PM

Shred & pellitize the rubbish

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#13

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 8:27 PM

Hi Chuck,

These are not for food waste but some simple instructions for simple wood gasifiers which are easy to follow. If you have the gear and the time, it may be worthwhile for the initial energy conversion. I understand there are some complete and cheap units out of India, from the boiler to the generator. There seems to be plenty of info on the net and changing all the time. Let us know how you go. Bob

http://www.clean-air.org/Ed%20Burton%20Story/wood_chips_to_bio.htm

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA208249&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

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#29
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Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 9:28 AM

Thanks so much, just what I'm looking for, links on how too.

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#44
In reply to #29

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:54 PM

those fema type gassifiers will trash an engine quickly. for info on gassifying stuff and running generators off it, try the yahoo woodgas group. there are several people with good gassifiers who drive cross country on a few cords of firewood and daily run their vehicles and generators on wood and trash.

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#15

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 11:03 PM

Chuck the real problem you will be dealing with is how to combust household garbage without running afoul of several problems. Non combustible garbage or wet stuff which should more properly go into some kind of composting. Land fill sites close to big urban centers have already looked at this and discovered major problems with the process. Among the most sucessful projects so far are Toronto landfil sites that colect the methane gas that is a natural result of the decomposition of the degradable portion of household garbage. Most land fillsite simply cap the junk and install collection wells and vents to safely bleed off the gas We wont even deal with the toxic fumes emanating fromn the burning garbage. so it doesn't become a fire hazard.

Hopefully you can build a smoke stack tall enough so the neighbours or your family won't complain and the EPA will not detect it and track you down.

Seriously a good home brew solution would be an outdoor wood burning boiler for hot water heating and with the addition of a Stirling engine driving a generator you can generate electric power while you burn off stuff. These boilers are forced draft types so you can actually develop a fair amount of heat and be able to burn off some household garbage. Be sure to include a tall enough smke stack to really get a draft going and dispelll the smoke high enough it doesn't collect locally on calm days. You will have to educate the family to sort garbage into compostable stuff burnable stuff plastic (toxic smoke) and maybe recyclables if your area support refundable containers.

This is a concept already in use in Europe but so far not very well known in Georgia. Sadly no one site has step by step instructions but several Stirling engine enthusiasts have previously posted on this forum. Tru a search for Stirling engines and you will find the relevant posts. from ther you can link to the guy who has plans for steam engines and also DIY generators. When you get stuck give me a PM; maybe I can help you further.

i

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#16

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 11:05 PM

One of the biggest problems you may face is burning such a variable fuel cleanly. Rubbish can have a highish moisture content as well as some hard to combust materials. If they are not heated sufficiently you will create some toxic gases (eg carbon monoxide) as well as some highly corrosive gases. Your generator would need to be able to tolerate these chemicals. Nickel based alloys don't generally like sulphur compounds much, some stainless steels can embrittle at high temperatures.

The additional hazard is high pressure steam. Many people have been injured by steam explosions, there are boiler codes for heated pressure vessels (for a reason).

A stirling engine gets past the steam issue but often are filled with high pressure gas, although failure is unlikely to be catastrophic for a number of reasons.

I am not trying to put you off, just go into it with your eyes open.

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#30
In reply to #16

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 9:31 AM

Thanks for your kind input sir and I will keep my eyes open. Chuck

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#17

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 11:15 PM

A shredder would be a good start

possibly mix the shredded trash with wood chips

composting some of the organics could produce some methane to enhance the burn

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#18

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 11:15 PM

Here is a great link on home-brew steam power. Do the heat calculations and you will likely talk yourself out of the project.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/goebel43.html

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 12:33 AM

Excellent, to the point article, with appropriate cautions. Just the requirement that your boiler be constantly attended if fed with wood or coal (let alone trash) is usually enough to dissuade home steam plant aspirants. So GA

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#47
In reply to #20

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 1:34 PM

Damn guys, old age seems to be setting in well on me,,,,lol,,,,I've been reading all your replies and looking stuff up all the while just kinda passing over misunderstood stuff like the letters "GA",,,,,,lmao, I just realized after reading drbob's words that GA means "Good Answer",,,,LOL,,,now if that's not what it means, don't anyone tell me as I may loose it ya see,,,,,lol,,,,,having all this free time on my hands and not knowing where the next dime is going to come from makes ya a little paranoid ya see,,,,,lol,,, thanks for all the help you guys are trying to give me,,,,,Chuck,,,,ie,,,I just wanted to share that with you guys so you may be able to understand that sometimes I'm not the smartest cookie in the jar ya see,,,,,lol,,,however I can sometimes make stubbling on a flat surface interesting,,,,,LOL

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#19

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/16/2010 11:37 PM

Use Atomic energy and it will be cheap and clean no problem with Atomic

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#21

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 1:13 AM

Dude - you'll kill yourself. Start recycling and get a worm bin.

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#22

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 4:00 AM

Wait a minute:

  • Trash-to-heat.
  • Heat-to-electrical-power.

Isn't this a job for a Stirling engine coupled to a generator?

Either that or:

  • Trash-to-heat.
  • Heat-to-domestic-hot-water.

Isn't this a job for a stove with a back-boiler?

So why go via steam at all?

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#31
In reply to #22

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 10:01 AM

your correct as i don't have to go this way. I'm just trying to kill two or three birds with one stone. I'm very open to any other ideas on how to get ride of my household waste and create energy at the same time.

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#46
In reply to #22

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 10:15 PM

GA 's Sir slack. I didn't want to say anything on this thread, being that it is about something besides best engineering practices. The best engineering will tell you, you get better results with landfill reclamation for the trash, and a boiler is a poor application for burning trash alone. Chuck If your interest is in the care of the land, farm it well, be that trees or whatever.

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#36

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 2:15 PM

Designing a 'open' type boiler system that does not hold any pressure is rather easy and has little code restrictions being it considered a basic form of a hot water heater.

I designed mine about 8 years ago to heat my shop and house. By being a open design its not a closed system that can build up pressure to any great extent if it does overheat and boil over. The surge tank is open at the top so any steam just escapes from there. Despite being all homemade and installed in my shop my insurance company has inspected it and had no problems with it being its not a closed or pressurized system and that I have multiple redundant fail safes in place as well.

The trick to getting a good run time out of a manually fed system is large thermal mass storage capacity. The simplest way to do that is to just use a very large water jacket or tank to hold the heat when its not running. I have a burner capacity of around 500K BTU nominal 1M BTU+ peak and a water jacket system that holds around 450 gallons on top of the nearly 1600 pounds of steel that makes up the boiler itself. Between the 16 cu foot fire box and the large thermal mass I only have to load it about twice a day in the worst weather. Once a day in most weather or once every day and a half to two days when burning railroad ties and coal mixed together.

As far as fuel goes I designed mine as a multi fuel incinerator type so it will burn anything remotely combustible. That includes any type of wood, coal, garbage, railroad ties, and the occasional tire now and then. The trick to being able to burn anything is having a dual draft system that blows the air in from under the fuel to keep it burning hot and a second draft system that blows air in from above the fuel so that it gets a reasonable secondary burn of the gases coming out of the fuel from the lower draft system.

Unfortunately the down side to a multi fuel boiler system is that it needs some degree of automated self control to work most effectively. I designed my control system around a TECO PLC unit so its completely self adjusting and will automatically shut down when it runs out of fuel or has a problem. That parts a little on the difficult side to build and design though. But having a smart boiler system really pays of on the long term ease of use and overall working efficiency. After a few years of experimenting I came up with a control system that is basically a 'Light a fire and press a button' operation wise everything else from there is managed by the program logic of the controller including overheat protocols and integration with the house thermostat and heating system.

To design, build, and refine my system over the first three years took about $5000 and so far it has saved me around $23,000+ on heating fuel in its 8 year life! In the future I plan to integrate a Peltier or Seebeck thermoelectric power generating system onto it and produce a KW or two of power as a side load when its running and grid tie that into my farm electrical system to help cut down on my electric bill. I figure my boiler should be able to produce around 10 - 20 KWh a day when its running in the winter which will be most of my average power consumption during those months.

What I am getting at is you are in for a rather complex build and a fair amount of cost, time, effort and experimenting in order for you to make a good reliable system that can do anything useful. I recommend that if you are going to do it make sure it has a large enough capacity to serve more than one purpose and that it can run on multiple fuels when it is working.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 2:46 PM

only problem is it's not that cold very often

http://www.idcide.com/weather/sc/greer.htm

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#51
In reply to #37

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 2:59 PM

Garthh, "not that cold" obviously you don't know my wife,,,lol,,,no just joking as i have a great wife and a very poor sense of humor. You are correct it doesn't get that cold here. I lived in Alaska for 3 years just outside Fairbanks and I cannot get people here in SC to understand that it gets colder here to the body than it does in Alaska. It's a wet cold here, not in Alaska.

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#54
In reply to #51

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 8:00 PM

It's a wet cold then

my point is that given the relatively short winter, it would be harder to utilize a CHP [combined heat & power] system

I do know what you mean, 35º, windy & foggy is more uncomfortable than 0º[or worse] calm & dry

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#45
In reply to #36

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 9:28 PM

You, with actual experience perfecting and using a similar system, bring reality to what has been speculation and calculation till now. So, GA

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#38

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 5:34 PM

Hi Chuck;

I had no time to read all posts, so there might be lots better than this and more usefull, BUT please take special care on the design of the boiler, even a small one weighing a few pounds can kill you if explodes.

Look, the rest of the system is pretty straight forward, I'm shure you'll figure how to rotate a PMDC motor (or one with wound field) and charge a battery, which is connected to an inverter to give you 120VAC, either "bypassing excess" voltage while charging or drawing from battery when turbine is off.

Don't waste too much time with this right now, you'd better concentrate on the design of the pressurized boiler, try to buy a manual or specs sheet.

Yahlasit

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#52
In reply to #38

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 3:10 PM

You may be pretty sure, but I'm not. Please don't think I know anything, teach me as if I was a child. Very young child,,,lol,,,Chuck

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#39

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/17/2010 8:06 PM

The Peltier effect sounds like fun. There is plenty of info on steam systems. Turbines don't seem feasible, but a reciprocating steam engine drives a generator very nicely. Building such a plant is a big deal, and it would be just your bad luck to have a government bureaucrat show up and ask you for your steam engineer's license and boiler inspection documents. A boiler inspection can cost tens of thousands of dollars. And, yes, steam can be very dangerous.

If you would like a challenging machining job, you might try to build a Stirling engine. That's a major job. However, if you care to contact me by e-mail, I have some designs for a much simpler external combustion hot air engine (the patent has expired) which could be built in different sizes, from a toy/demo model to big one suitable for driving a generator. If you built one and liked it, you might use your machine shop to make more and sell them. The only danger in operation would be burned fingers or electrical shocks ;-).

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#53

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/18/2010 3:20 PM

Just a couple of points relative to steam power:

Back in the days when people weren't so picky about pollution, the English generated power in London by burning trash. They injected oxygen, so the trash burned hotter (more power) and cleaner. Almost everything burned, cleanly, even the steel beads in old tires. Glass didn't burn, but the melted glass ran to the bottom and was tapped off. Apparently, even though the effluent from a tall stack was invisible, it contained extremely small particles (such as iron oxide), and the French objected to having them blow over Paris.

Steam railway locomotives persisted in South Africa for a long time, because economic sanctions stopped the importation of oil and they had domestic sources of coal. They found that, if steam was injected into the firebox, some of the coal was gassified (5C + 3H2O >> 2CH3 and 3CO), and the gasses burned cleanly, reducing smoke.

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#57

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 7:05 AM

I have thought about this and I really think that stoking a fire to make electricity will soon get boring, after about 12 hours or so I expect!!

so I thought about it some more and I read all the other posts and the only thing I could come up with was to heat a large qauantity of water, in a well insulated boiler at normal pressures. And use this to be a source of heat to be "pumped up" to heat water for washing/bath and to run heating in winter.

You will need quite a large tank, depending upon the size of your house, but with a good bit of planning, it should be possible to get a good fire going for say 2 hours and run the house heating for maybe 3 days.......

Forget electricity completely.....

Just a few thoughts.......

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#59
In reply to #57

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 8:07 AM

OK, that's another way to go. The end to this whole thought that I'm asking for help with is wrapped around NOT throwing anything away that still has energy in it! Hell Guys, the whole thought brings up all kinds of new challenges like; making energy, making heat, storing heat or energy ETC..

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 9:23 AM

Chuck,

I like what you're doing and have read most of the thread, so the suggestions that you just make hot water are about on the money as far as I can see.

I'll explain. Heat ind storing a LOT of water, 3000 gals or so, would give you a resource with which to heat your buildings for a protracted period, and with a little engineering get you refrigeration for cooling as well. I'm thinking absorbtion method. Yes it's old tech, but it's simple and reliable.

Regarding plastics. You might get some mileage from this: you may be able to harvest some electric from peltier in the flue.

As you have seen a downturn in you shop work it may be possible to commercialise the process enough to get serious money for the end product.

To qualify my self, I'm an old engineer (hands on) and inventor who loves steam and all it's glory, but it's complicated machining that you don't have to do to accomplish the end that you are chasing.

More power to you.

I'll keep thinking,

Cheers,

Stu.

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/19/2010 11:11 AM

Thanks so much for your input. I do hope to hear more from you sir.

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#62

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/20/2010 4:35 AM

Try getting the gas engine that will utilise the gas from the landfill site to generate electricity. Steam turbines in general are not environmental friendly and complecated.

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#65

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/20/2010 1:33 PM

If you are looking for the secret to burning anything combustible the trick is to put sufficient draft air to it from the bottom up and from the top at the same time.

Try burning sawdust, dry grass, or hay from the top down once. All it does is smolder and smoke. But put the draft air to it from the bottom up and then try burning it. You get a hot flame and lots of outgassing. Just add enough air to that out gassing and it too burns very hot and clean as well.

This also works well with garbage that has a high plastics or rubber content. It needs air and a self sustaining hot flame under it to get it to burn properly. By putting a forced draft into my boiler from the bottom up I get very little residual ash byproducts. Many times the fire is so hot that the remaining ash from what ever I burned will melt and fuse together into crusty brick like chunks! Now thats a hot and complete combustion process!

Also mixing different types of fuels together helps at times also. Add a percentage of wood or coal to harder to burn materials in order to balance out the burn rates and heat output.

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/20/2010 3:47 PM

This is one of the things I have tried to stress in my email to him that air-blow does help to keep the fire going better, even locos use the spent steam to create draft.

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/20/2010 5:17 PM

Try putting a custom built digital control system on friends boiler and then try to get him to understand that there is no way in hell he can make adjustments to a digital self adjusting system based on his level of knowledge.

"Start a fire then push the button" handed him his ass a few times. He got the 'push the button part' right, being there was only one to push, but step one wasn't working for him so he figured it must be a controller problem.

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#69

Re: DIY Steam Generator

08/29/2010 4:52 AM

Hello sc6chuck9:

Personaly dont know of such web site. However from experience in building such things it may be of help if you first think of the wattage output you wish from your generator. Unfortunately vague answers only provide disaster.

One first appearance you have the necessary machinery. Also you need to think how to boiler seal, by weld or bolt.

Cheers Peter

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