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Thread: Solar incineration of biomass for increased energy?

  1. #1 Solar incineration of biomass for increased energy? 
    Forum Freshman
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    Hi.
    I guess this comes under chemistry...

    I'm prototyping a solar energy system which basically collects, concentrates, and transports raw solar energy, and I'm thinking of various applications for it.

    My main interest is in water purification, but electricity is an obvious one as well, which means steam or, preferably, stirling engine generation.

    So say I had six square meters of sunlight concetrated into a light pipe and filling an insulated chamber. WIth losses that's going to be at least 5 kiloWatts of power, which is quite a bit and would run an engine pretty well.

    But what if you had some kind of combustable material in the chamber, like waste organic matter? It would burn, obviously, and release extra energy. And with the chamber full of extra heat largely in the form of light, I'm thinking you'd get a very efficient combustion of the matter and some ammount of the smoke.

    So, does anyone know if this would be worthwhile? Would the extra energy gained make it worth it? What would the emissions be, compared with just setting fire to it all? What happens to carbon at these kinds of temperatures?
    etc.

    Cheers!


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    The solar flux is about 240 watts per square metre, so with six square metres of collector, unless I'm mistaken the most you can possibly get out of a 100% conversion system would be around 1.4 kw. How did you arrive at 5kw?


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  4. #3  
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    As I understand it, there's about one kilowatt of power in a square meter of sunlight...
    Though most of that is in the infra-red range.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    You're right. The 240 figure would be averaged over the Earth's surface, but the instantaneous rate on a receiver normal to the sun would be about 1 kW/m2.
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