Title:
Exhaust gas deflector for system for generating electric power
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for deflecting a flow of exhaust gas may include a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between a muffler and an exhaust gas exit. The system may further include a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction to a second direction generally orthogonal to the first direction. The system may also include at least one arm operably coupling the tubular member and the surface to one another.



Inventors:
Errera, Michael R. (Milner, GA, US)
Gills, Kenton D. (Jonesboro, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/217825
Publication Date:
12/31/2009
Filing Date:
07/09/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
290/1A
International Classes:
F01N7/00; F02B63/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SINGH, DAPINDER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CATERPILLAR/FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, L.L.P. (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for deflecting a flow of exhaust gas, the system comprising: a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between a muffler and an exhaust gas exit; a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction to a second direction generally orthogonal to the first direction; and at least one arm operably coupling the tubular member and the surface to one another.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the surface is at least partially formed from a mesh material.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the surface defines a generally curved surface.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one arm is configured to provide a heat shield.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one arm includes two arms.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the two arms operably couple the tubular member to the surface along two opposite edges of the surface.

7. The system of claim 1, further including at least one internal member extending longitudinally within the tubular member.

8. An exhaust system for a system for generating electric power, the exhaust system comprising: a muffler configured to suppress engine noise associated with operation of a system for generating electric power; a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between the muffler and an exhaust gas exit; a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction to a second direction generally orthogonal to the first direction; and at least one arm operably coupling the tubular member and the surface to one another.

9. The exhaust system of claim 8, wherein the first direction is defined by a longitudinal direction associated with the tubular member.

10. The exhaust system of claim 8, wherein the surface is at least partially formed from a mesh material.

11. The exhaust system of claim 8, wherein the surface defines a generally curved surface.

12. The exhaust system of claim 8, wherein the at least one arm is configured to provide a heat shield.

13. The exhaust system of claim 8, wherein the at least one arm includes two arms.

14. The exhaust system of claim 13, wherein the two arms operably couple the tubular member to the surface along two opposite edges of the surface.

15. The exhaust system of claim 8, further including at least one internal member extending longitudinally within the tubular member.

16. A system for generating electric power, comprising: an engine configured to output mechanical power; an electric machine configured to convert mechanical power into electric power, the electric machine being operably coupled to the engine; a housing configured to at least partially contain the engine and the electric machine, the housing including a roof defining an opening; a muffler configured to suppress engine noise associated with operation of the system for generating electric power; a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between the muffler and an exhaust gas exit; and a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction through the opening defined in the roof of the housing.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the surface is at least partially formed from a mesh material.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein the surface defines a generally curved surface.

19. The system of claim 16, further including at least one arm operably coupling the tubular member and the surface to one another.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein the at least one arm is configured to provide a heat shield configured to protect the housing.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/129,417, filed Jun. 25, 2008, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to an exhaust gas deflector, and more particularly, to an exhaust gas deflector for a system for generating electric power.

BACKGROUND

It may be desirable to generate electric power, for example, in situations in which electric power is not available from an electric power utility source, for example, in remote locations and/or locations experiencing a power outage. This may be accomplished, for example, using electric power generation systems that are configured to generate electric power via operation of one or more internal combustion engines to drive an electric machine configured to convert mechanical power supplied by the one or more engines into electric power.

It may be desirable for such power generation systems to be contained within a housing configured to be transported to a location in need of electric power. One possible drawback with such systems is that it may be desirable expel exhaust gas created during operation of the engine from the housing in a manner which reduces noise and/or prevents damage to the housing via heat of the exhaust gas. For example, in a power generation system including an engine contained in a trailer-style housing, it may be desirable for the engine of such a power generation system to be provided with a muffler to suppress engine noise, for example, to meet local noise regulations and/or reduce the intrusiveness of the use of such a system, for example, in urban or suburban environments. Further, components associated with an exhaust system may become undesirably hot. Thus, there may be a desire to provide systems and methods for reducing the noise associated with operation of a power generation system and/or preventing damage to components of the system due to heat associated with exhaust gas created during operation of the system.

A generator structure is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,630,756 issued to Kern et al. (“the '756 patent”). The '756 patent discloses engine-driven, electrical generators incorporating a purportedly improved air flow arrangement for facilitating the cooling of one or more engine-driven, electrical generator sets housed within a single enclosure. The '756 patent discloses an exhaust outlet of the an engine interconnected to an input of a muffler through an exhaust pipe. The muffler is positioned within an attic chamber in a roof structure of the enclosure, such that the air urged by a fan from a generator structure passes over the muffler to cool the muffler. The output of the muffler is operatively connected to the input of an exhaust discharge tube, and the exhaust discharge tube includes an outlet end, which extends through an opening in the roof structure. The '756 patent does not disclose, however, a system for deflecting the flow of exhaust gas.

The systems and methods described in an exemplary manner in the present disclosure may be directed to mitigating or overcoming one or more of the drawbacks set forth above.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the present disclosure includes a system for deflecting a flow of exhaust gas. The system may include a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between a muffler and an exhaust gas exit. The system may further include a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction to a second direction generally orthogonal to the first direction. The system may also include at least one arm operably coupling the tubular member and the surface to one another.

According to a further aspect, an exhaust system for a system for generating electric power may include a muffler configured to suppress engine noise associated with operation of a system for generating electric power. The exhaust system may further include a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between the muffler and an exhaust gas exit, and a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction to a second direction generally orthogonal to the first direction. The exhaust system may also include at least one arm operably coupling the tubular member and the surface to one another.

According to another aspect, a system for generating electric power may include an engine configured to output mechanical power and an electric machine configured to convert mechanical power into electric power, the electric machine being operably coupled to the engine. The system may further include a housing configured to at least partially contain the engine and the electric machine, and the housing may include a roof defining an opening. The system may also include a muffler configured to suppress engine noise associated with operation of the system for generating electric power, and a tubular member configured to provide flow communication between the muffler and an exhaust gas exit. The system may further include a surface configured to at least partially divert a flow of exhaust gas from a first direction through the opening defined in the roof of the housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic, partial cutaway plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a system for generating electric power.

FIG. 2 is a schematic, partial cutaway elevation view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic, partial cutaway elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of an exhaust system.

FIG. 4 is a schematic, perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a system for deflecting a flow of exhaust gas.

FIG. 5 is a schematic, end view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a schematic, side view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 show an exemplary embodiment of a system 10 for generating electric power. System 10 may include an engine 12 configured to supply mechanical power and an electric machine 14 operably coupled to engine 12 and configured to convert mechanical power into electric power. Engine 12 may be any internal combustion engine, including a spark-ignition engine, a compression ignition engine, a homogeneous-charge compression-ignition engine, and/or a gas turbine engine. Engine 12 may be configured to run on any fuel, such as, for example, gasoline, diesel fuel including bio-diesel fuel, natural gas, ethanol, methanol, hydrogen, and/or any combinations thereof. Other types of engines and fuels are contemplated. Electric machine 14 may be any type of electric generator known to those skilled in the art. For example, electric machine 14 may include a three-phase AC synchronous generator.

System 10 may further include power load connections 16 (e.g., including one or more bus bars) configured to facilitate supply of electric power generated by system 10 to any device or system that receives input of a source of electric power, such as, for example, a power grid. According to some embodiments, a number of systems 10 may be coupled to one another and/or used together to supply additional electric power.

As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, exemplary system 10 may include one or more control panels 18 configured to control operation of engine 12, electric machine 14, and/or any systems associated with system 10. For example, control panel(s) 18 may include electronic control systems configured to control operation of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14, such that system 10 supplies electric power in a desired and/or controlled manner. According to some embodiments, control panel 18 may include an interface for providing an operator with information or data relating to operation of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14, and further, may include controls configured to facilitate an operator's ability to control operation of engine 12, electric machine 14, and/or any other systems associated with system 10. For example, control panel 18 may facilitate an operator's control of the electric power output of system 10, for example, by controlling the voltage and frequency of the power output.

According to the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, system 10 may include a housing 20 configured to provide protection to various components of system 10. For example, housing 20 may include walls, for example, opposing side walls 22, a front wall 24, and one or more rear doors 26, a floor 28, and a roof 30, defining an exterior and, possibly also, an interior of housing 20. According to some embodiments, system 10 may include one or more devices 32 configured to facilitate transport of system 10 between sites that may desire a supply of electric power. For example, the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1 includes a number of wheels for facilitating towing of system 10 via a vehicle, such as a truck or tractor (e.g., housing 20 may be in the form at least similar to a trailer configured to be towed in a manner similar to trailers of a tractor trailer rig). Other types of devices 32 (e.g., tracks, wheels configured to travel along railroad tracks, pontoons, and/or skids) known to those skilled in the art are contemplated. Some embodiments of housing 20 may define one or more passages between an exterior of housing 20 and an interior of housing 20.

According to some embodiments, system 10 may include a reservoir 34 (e.g., a fuel tank) within the interior of housing 20 for providing a supply of fuel to engine 12. Reservoir 34 may be coupled to engine 12 via one or more fuels lines (not shown). According to some embodiments, reservoir 34 may be located external to housing 20 and/or fuel may be supplied via an external source, such as, for example, a pipe line for supplying a fuel, such as, for example, gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol, methanol, and/or any combinations thereof.

According to some embodiments, system 10 may include a cooling system 36 configured to regulate the temperature of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14. For example, cooling system 36 may include one or more heat exchangers 38, such as, for example, one or more air-to-air-after-coolers (ATAAC) operably coupled to engine 12 and/or one or more radiators 40, such as, for example, a jacket water radiator, operably coupled to engine 12. According to some embodiments, engine 12 may include one or more turbochargers (not shown), and heat exchanger(s) 38 may be operably coupled to the one or more turbochargers to cool air entering the turbocharger(s). System 10 may include one or more fans 41, for example, located between engine 12 and heat exchanger 38. Fan(s) 41 may be operably coupled to engine 12 via a drive belt (not shown) and/or may be driven via an electric motor (not shown), and may supply a flow of air to and/or through heat exchanger 38 in order to provide cooling air to heat exchanger 38.

Exemplary radiator(s) 40 may be configured to receive and cool a flow of engine coolant (e.g., a liquid coolant), which may be circulated into and/or through engine 12 via coolant lines (not shown), thereby cooling engine 12. One or more fans 42 may be associated with radiator 40 and may be configured to provide a flow of cooling air to radiator 40. Fan(s) 42 may be driven, for example, via an electric motor (not shown), which may be coupled to fan 42 via, for example, a belt drive (not shown).

According to some embodiments, engine 12 may include an exhaust system 44 configured to remove heat and/or combustion products from housing 20, and/or to suppress or absorb noise from engine 12. For example, exhaust system 44 may include one or more risers 46 extending upward from engine 12 toward roof 30. Roof 30 may define an opening 48 (see FIGS. 2 and 3) configured to receive a muffler 50 in flow communication with risers 46.

According to some embodiments, exhaust system 44 may further include one or more extensions 52 downstream of muffler 50 configured to provide a flow path for exhaust gas from engine 12 to an exhaust gas exit 53 and exterior of housing 20 via muffler 50. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, extension(s) 52 may extend above heat exchanger 38 from muffler 50 to one or more opening(s) 54 in roof 30, such that exhaust gas exits via opening(s) 54.

Extensions 52 may include an inlet 56 for coupling to muffler 50, and a tubular member 58 (e.g., formed from carbon steel (e.g., having a thickness ranging from about 10 gauge to about 12 gauge, e.g., about 3 mm) configured to extend above heat exchanger 38 and exit into space 60 (see FIGS. 1 and 2). Some embodiments of tubular member 58 (see, e.g., FIG. 5) may include one or more longitudinally extending internal members 62, which may serve to provide stiffness to the walls of tubular member 58 and/or increase the efficiency of the flow of exhaust gas through tubular members 58.

According to some embodiments, extensions 52 may include a deflector 64 (see, e.g., FIGS. 4 and 6) configured to divert the flow of exhaust gas through generally 90 degrees (e.g., from generally horizontal flow to generally upward flow, such that the two flows are generally orthogonal) toward opening(s) 54 in roof 30, for example, at a predetermined distance from the muffler outlet (e.g., without exceeding desired exhaust gas flow restriction levels). For example, extensions 52 may extend from about 1 inch to about 10 inches beyond heat exchanger 38, for example, from about 2 inches to about 5 inches beyond heat exchanger 38, for example, about 3 inches beyond heat exchanger 38. This may serve to reduce the likelihood of heat-related damage to heat exchanger 38 and/or to prevent exhaust gas heat from adversely effecting the cooling efficiency of heat exchanger 38.

According to some embodiments, deflector 64 may be operably coupled to tubular member 58 and may define a surface 66, for example, a curved surface, configured to divert the exhaust gas flow through about 90 degrees. For example, deflector 64 may be operably coupled to tubular member 58 via one or more arms 68 operably coupled to opposite lateral edges of surface 66. According to some embodiments, deflector 64 may be formed of, for example, carbon steel mesh material, although the use of other materials, such as aluminum and/or other metals and/or carbon fiber is contemplated. The use of a mesh material may serve to deflect the flow of exhaust gas and also permit sound energy associated with the exhaust gas to propagate through the mesh, for example, rather than deflecting outward from deflector 64 to the surrounding environment.

Some embodiments of deflector 64 may include, for example, a heat shield 70 configured to protect side walls 22 of housing 20 from exhaust gas heat. According to some embodiments, heat shield 70 may serve as one of arms 68, for example, an arm 68 adjacent side wall 22 upon installation in system 10. According to some embodiments, no heat shield 68 may be provided on the side of deflector 64 opposite side wall 22 upon installation in system 10. The lack of a heat shield on the opposite side may permit sound and heat to propagate (e.g., dissipate) toward the lateral center of housing 20.

According to some embodiments, heat shield 70 may be formed from carbon steel (e.g., carbon steel having a thickness ranging from about 8 gage to about 20 gage, for example, from about 10 gage to about 12 gage (e.g., about 3 mm)). According to some embodiments, extensions 52 may serve to extract at least some of the noise, heat, and exhaust gas from space 60, for example, thereby improving the effectiveness of heat exchanger 38, and/or heat shield 70 may serve to prevent discoloration and/or degradation of side walls 22 of housing 20.

Industrial Applicability

Exemplary system 10 may be used to generate electric power, for example, in situations in which electric power is not available from an electric power utility source, for example, in remote locations and/or locations experiencing a power outage. One or more engines 12 of exemplary system 10 may be configured to output mechanical power, and one or more electric machines 14 may be configured to convert mechanical power into electric power. One or more control panels 18 may be configured facilitate control of at least one of engine 12 and electric machine 14. Housing 20 may be configured to contain at least one of engine 12 and electric machine 14.

Exemplary exhaust system 44 may be configured to remove heat and/or combustion products from housing 20, and/or to suppress or absorb noise from engine 12. Risers 46 of exhaust system 44 may extend upward from engine 12 toward roof 30 and into muffler 50. Extensions 52 downstream of muffler 50 may be configured to provide a flow path for exhaust gas from engine 12 to exhaust gas exit 53 and exterior of housing 20 via opening(s) 54 in roof 30, such that exhaust gas exits via opening(s) 54.

According to some embodiments, deflector 64 may be configured to divert the flow of exhaust gas through generally 90 degrees toward opening(s) 54 in roof 30, for example, at a predetermined distance from the muffler outlet (e.g., without exceeding desired exhaust gas flow restriction levels). Deflector 64 may be operably coupled to tubular member 58 and may define a surface 66, for example, a curved surface, configured to divert the exhaust gas flow through about 90 degrees. According to some embodiments, deflector 64 may be formed of, for example, mesh material. The use of a mesh material may serve to deflect the flow of exhaust gas and also permit sound energy associated with the exhaust gas to propagate through the mesh, for example, rather than deflecting outward from the deflector to the surrounding environment.

According to some embodiments of deflector 64, heat shield 70 may be configured to protect side walls 22 of housing 20 from exhaust gas heat. Heat shield 70 may serve as one of arms 68, for example, an arm 68 adjacent side wall 22 upon installation in system 10. According to some embodiments, no heat shield 68 may be provided on the side of deflector 64 opposite side wall 22 upon installation in system 10. The lack of a heat shield on the opposite side may permit sound and heat to propagate (e.g., dissipate) toward the lateral center of housing 20.

According to some embodiments, extensions 52 may serve to extract at least some of the noise, heat, and exhaust gas from space 60, for example, thereby improving the effectiveness of heat exchanger 38. Heat shield 70 may serve to prevent discoloration and/or degradation of side walls 22 of housing 20.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the exemplary disclosed systems and methods for generating electric power. Other embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the exemplary disclosed systems and methods. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only.