Fossil fuels are commonly used to create electricity. In some cases, alternative biofuels are used to supplement fossil fuels. Municipal waste and mud coal are two of the more common alternative sources of heat used to produce electricity. With 30 million tons of dried leaves being disposed of in landfills every year, dried leaves could be a good secondary source of fuel for electrical plants. Home steam turbine set-ups can use dried leaves in place of fuel or wood. Dried leaves burn very quickly, requiring a large amount of dried leaves to create a small amount of electricity.
Things You'll Need
- Steam turbine
Creating Electricity from Dried Leaves in a Home Steam Turbine
Spread out leaves to ensure they are evenly dried. Leaves must be completely dry before packing into the steam turbine furnace. Wet leaves produce more smoke and less heat.
Pack leaves into the fuel furnace. Home steam turbines may be fueled by a burn barrel while commercial set-ups often use an enclosed furnace created to hold large amounts of biomass or fuel. Dried leaves burn very quickly so packing the leaves into the burn barrel will decrease burn time and increase heat.
Fill boiler with water. The boiler is directly attached to the steam turbine. Water levels need to be high enough to prevent quick evaporation, but low enough to prevent spilling into the steam turbine tubing when water comes to a boil.
Light the furnace packed with dried leaves. Heat is produced when dried leaves are set on fire. This heat will heat the water in the boiler until steam is produced. Steam moves through tuber tubing and moves the steam turbine which produces electricity.
Replace water and dried leaves as needed. As water levels diminish and dried leaves burn up, they will need to be replaced to continue producing electricity. The boiler is an enclosed system that works by building up steam and forcing that steam through a small tube. When water needs to be added, be careful not to remove the boiler cover before water has cooled.
Extinguish the fire. When all dried leaves are burned, the fire needs to be extinguished, even if it looks harmless. Small sparks can cause large fires if dried leaves are not put out properly. Water should be added to the burn furnace to completely cover ashes. Local government agencies may offer guidelines for disposing of ash.
- Photo Credit leaves image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com
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