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Title:
Steam powered electric generator and heating system
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Electricity generating apparatus with an outside wood-burning furnace having a water jacket to produce steam driving a steam engine. The steam engine drives an electric generator. A heated water supply for a house or other structure may also be obtained by utilizing the spent steam from the steam engine.


Inventors:
Mcintyre, David Gordon (Mallorytown, CA)
Application Number:
10/188629
Publication Date:
01/09/2003
Filing Date:
07/02/2002
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
60/645
International Classes:
F01K17/02; (IPC1-7): F01K13/00; F01K1/00
View Patent Images:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fish & Richardson P.C.,Y. ROCKY TSAO (225 Franklin Street, Boston, MA, 02110-2804, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. Electricity generating apparatus comprising: an outdoor furnace; a water jacket on said furnace and containing water to be heated by the burning of fuel in said furnace to produce steam; a steam outlet pipe from said water jacket to the inlet of a steam engine to drive the steam engine; one end of a drive shaft connected to said steam engine to be driven thereby; and the other end of said drive shaft being connected to drive an electric generator to produce electricity.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said furnace is a wood-burning furnace and said fuel is wood.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein back-up apparatus for the use of oil or natural gas is provided.

4. Electric generating apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said electricity is for supply to a building and including a storage battery arrangement between said electric generator and said building.

5. Electricity generating apparatus comprising: an outdoor furnace; a water jacket on said furnace and containing water to be heated by the burning of fuel in said furnace, to produce steam; a steam outlet pipe from said water jacket, and connected to the inlet of a steam engine to drive the steam engine; one end of a drive shaft connected to said steam engine to be driven thereby; the other end of said drive shaft being connected to drive an electric generator to produce electricity; a spent steam outlet on said steam engine; a steam pipe connected at one end to said spent steam outlet and passing through a heat exchange water tank for providing hot water, an outlet connection from said tank for said hot water and an inlet connection for return of the spent hot water; said steam pipe after passing through said heat exchange water tank being connected to a water inlet on said furnace water jacket, a check valve being in said steam pipe before said water inlet; and a pipe from an external water source being connected to a junction portion in said steam pipe on the water outlet side of said check valve to ensure an adequate supply of water for said furnace water jacket to produce sufficient steam to drive said steam engine.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said furnace has a water cooled door to facilitate the loading of fuel therinto.

7. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said furnace is a wood-burning furnace.

8. Apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said furnace is a wood-burning furnace.

9. Apparatus according to claim 6, including a connection into a main power supply of a utility company.

10. Apparatus according to claim 5,including a connection into a main power supply of a utility company.

11. Apparatus according to claim 7 including a connection into a main power supply of a utility company.

12. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said electricity is for supply to a building and including a storage battery arrangement between said electric generator and said building.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to the supply of services such as electricity and heat, to a building such as a house, or other structure. This is meant to be an alternate source of energy to get away from the escalating cost of purchasing electricity from the power company and the rising price of heating oil and natural gas.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is an object of this invention to provide apparatus capable of providing electricity to a house or building even though connected to said main supply line to offer an alternate source of electricity and heat.

[0003] Accordingly, there is provided electricity generating apparatus comprising an outdoor furnace, a water jacket on said furnace and containing water to be heated by the burning of fuel in said furnace to produce steam, a steam outlet pipe from said water jacket to the inlet of a steam engine to drive the steam engine, one end of a drive shaft connected to said steam engine to be driven thereby, and the other end of said drive shaft being connected to drive an electric generator to produce electricity.

THE DRAWINGS

[0004] An embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0005] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of generating apparatus according to the invention;

[0006] FIG. 2 shows a part of FIG. 1 in greater detail; and

[0007] FIG. 3 shows a battery storage arrangement associated with the generating apparatus

[0008] The same reference numerals are used for like parts throughout the specification.

DESCRIPTION

[0009] An outdoor wood-burning furnace 2 is shown having support legs 4 and a stainless steel chimney 6. The opening 8 through which fuel enters the furnace is provided with a water-cooled door 10 including a built in damper unit. Another door 12 is shown and behind this lies the instrumentation panel and adjustment means.

[0010] In the furnace a heavy gauge stainless steel water jacket 13 is provided within the furnace having a water inlet means and a steam outlet means. In use, a fan or blower blowing on the burning coals is adjusted to blow with the damper in unit 10 open, until the water in the water jacket 13 reaches 212° F. to produce steam. The damper then closes and the fan stops until the temperature falls below 212° F. when the operation resumes. The fan is on the rear side of the door 10.

[0011] The steam outlet means feeds the steam to a steam engine 14 having a drive wheel 16 with one end of a drive shaft 18 connected to it and driven by it. The other end of the drive shaft 18 is connected to an electric generator 20 to produce electricity. This electricity is then available at the electrical output 21 of the generator 20 for a house, building or other structure. An electric generator of 30 kilowatts capacity would normally be sufficient for most houses.

[0012] If a utility company starts to provide service in the area, the generator system 20 could also include a connection 23 into the main power supply of the local utility company.

[0013] Any surplus electricity produced by the system could be sold to the utility company and any time incoming power is needed, power would be purchased from the utility company. This would be done using two hydro meters, one to measure the outbound power and one to measure the inbound power.

[0014] Spent steam from the steam engine 14 passes through a steam pipe or conduit 22 to heat water in a water holding tank 24 to a temperature between 160° F. and 180° F. This water is removed through a hot water pipe 26 for use in the house or other building (not shown). Return water from the building returns to the water holding tank 24 by water of a return pipe 28.

[0015] The spent steam after heating the water in the holding tank 24 passes along a pipe portion 30 as water through a check valve 32 and junction 34 to return along pipe portion 36 to the water jacket within furnace 2. Water from a well or other external water source flows along pipe 38 to the junction portion 34, as required, to ensure that there is always sufficient water in the water jacket.

[0016] The furnace can, of course, be designed to burn wood, oil or gas but often in rural areas wood may be the fuel used and this has substantial environmental advantages. By using a furnace outside the building one avoids the task of hauling wood into the building and the constant mess of having wood in the building. An outdoor furnace will, in my opinion, reduce the fire hazard for the building.

[0017] Whilst wood is the main source of fuel, there is provided an oil or propane heating system 40 as a back-up to ensure the water temperature never falls below 212 degrees F.

[0018] In FIG. 2 there is shown the rear side of the fuel loading door 10 with a damper and fan assembly 42.

[0019] It will be understood that whilst the furnace 2 is identified as a furnace, it can also be regarded as a furnace/boiler since water is boiled in order to produce steam.

[0020] In the above description the output of generator 20 is supplied directly to a house or other building. It will be appreciated that a storage battery arrangement 50 (FIG. 3) could be interposed between the generator 20 and the building 52 whereby energy could be stored for use when the generator 20 is not functioning, for example during servicing of the furnaces.

[0021] It will be readily apparent to a person skilled in the art that a number of variations and modifications can be made without departing from the true spirit of the invention which will now be pointed out in the appended claims.