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http://www.gizmag.com/power-pallet-20-gasifier-biomass-generator/32245/

 

Could this little-known biomass generator start an energy revolution?

 

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The Power Pallet is a combination gasification unit and electrical generator

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It could be the most important portable power plant you've never heard of. It's called the "Power Pallet" and it is essentially a combined biomass refinery and generator that fits on a single pallet and can kick out up to 20 kilowatts of electricity.

 

I came across the shiny yet unassuming contraption that looks like ... well, like a miniature refinery attached to a miniature power plant, while roaming the back lot at the Bay Area Maker Faire where many of the bizarre or vaguely steampunk Burning Man industrial art creations were also on display.

It was an appropriate setting, given that Power Pallet creator Jim Mason is a Berkeley, California-based artist who began developing the portable, flexible power source after the city shut off power to the collective workspace he created for artists working on large scale projects for Burning Man. One of the first concepts he turned to in the quest for an alternative power source was gasification.

"Gasification is fascinating in that it's a process of pulling apart fire into its constituent components and being able to control them," Mason told Fast Company recently. "It should be thought of as the operating system of fire."

More than a decade later, Mason's company, All Power Labs, now has 35 full-time employees and has just rolled out version five of the Power Pallet after installing hundreds of the units in developing nations and as a research tool at universities, among other places.

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Amid a diesel shortage, Power Pallets were setup in Liberia

 

Basically, the Power Pallet works by burning available biomass, but before the fuel is fully combusted, the resulting flammable gases like hydrogen and carbon monoxide are spirited away to be used instead as fuel in a General Motors engine that works as an electrical generator. Walnut shells are among the best sources of biomass fuel that require the least amount of operation and maintenance supervision with a Power Pallet. Wood chips and coconut shells are next best and corn cobs or palm kernel shells are the most difficult to use.

The company estimates that 10 kg (20 lb) of biomass converted to electricity by a Power Pallet is roughly equivalent to the output of burning 4 L (1 gal US) of diesel fuel in a generator, but biomass feedstocks could cost as little as one third the price of diesel per kilowatt hour generated.

The ultimate vision forf the Power Pallet is to create a complete, portable and compact power generation solution that can easily be operated by anyone out of the box (or perhaps, off the pallet) without any training. The latest version includes upgrades like automated ash handling, essentially adding an ash disposal chamber that's easy to empty once a day to make sure things don't get clogged up.

According to the latest pricing on the company website, a Power Pallet 20 costs about US$30,000 or just under $40,000 for a unit with a grid tie package that allows any electricity shortfall to be met by the mains grid.

You can check out a walk-around of the latest model in the video below.

Source: All Power Labs

 
 
Shape look familiar?
 
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The Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine is said to be considerably more efficient than most conventional turbines

Image Gallery (3 images)
 
 

Although it's getting increasingly common to see solar panels on the roofs of homes, household wind turbines are still a fairly rare sight. If Rotterdam-based tech firm The Archimedes has its way, however, that will soon change. Today the company officially introduced its Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, which is said to have an energy yield that is "80 percent of the maximum that is theoretically feasible." That's quite the assertion, given that most conventional wind turbines average around 25 to 50 percent.

The 75-kg (165-lb) 1.5-meter (5-ft)-wide Liam obviously doesn't look much like a typical turbine. It draws on the form of the nautilus shell, and the screw pump invented by ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse.

That form factor reportedly results in minimal mechanical resistance, allowing it to spin very freely and to operate quietly – blade noise is one of the common complaints regarding rooftop wind turbines. Additionally, the design is claimed to keep it always pointing into the wind for maximum yield.

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Along with its claim of being able to achieve 80 percent of Betz' limit, The Archimedes adds that "The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household." Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what independent testing reveals. The company states that it has tested the Liam "over 50 times" to confirm the figures, and has already sold 7,000 of the turbines in 14 countries.

That said, the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine should be officially available as of July 1st. Although no price was given in today's announcement, a previous posting on the company website puts it at €3,999 (about US$5,450).

The turbine can be seen in use in the video below.

Source: The Archimedes

   
   

 

 

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greengorilla

hopefully it wont take years of bullshit 3rd party certification, just get it to the market already, thats what id like to see...Im frustrated with hearing about so many brilliant needed innovations, and then i cant buy it....sucks to no end

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bounder

Just not enough metal on that wind turbine for someone to steal for recycling. Perfect for me...especially if the price would go down.

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