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Unformatted text preview: BS Engineering To: Samuel W. Bodman, Secretary of Energy U.S. Department of Energy From: Craig W. Somerton, Senior Partner Bnard and Somerton Engineering Date: April 18, 2005 Energy from Leaves Subject: Every fall millions of Americans go through the ritual of raking and disposing of leaves. Some of the leaves end up in composite heaps, some are burned in the open, but in urban and suburban areas most end up in land fills. This is an unacceptable way of throwing away energy. It is estimated that leaves have a higher heating value of 18 MJ/kg. This means that one hundred pounds of leaves has the energy content of 7 gallons of gasoline. A way of utilizing this energy is through gasification, a process where the leaves are converted to a natural gas. The gasification technology is well developed and is already being utilized in India. Biomass can be gasified with oxygen to make synthesis gas (typically 40% CO, 40% H2, 3% CH4 and 17% CO2). With its large hydrogen content this synthesis gas could be a major source of hydrogen for the United States conversion to a hydrogen economy with the replacement of the internal combustion engine with fuel cells. It is proposed that the Department of Energy makes grants available to urban/suburban areas to pilot leaf gasification systems. In Orange County, NC 10,000 tons of leaves are annually collected by the solid waste management department. With this sort of collection rate one could propose that millions of barrels of oil might be replaced with synthesis gas from our annual tradition of raking the leaves. With the use of such technology the United States can begin to decrease its reliance on foreign oil and move into the future with the advancement of fuel cells. ...
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This note was uploaded on 07/25/2008 for the course ME 417 taught by Professor Somerton during the Spring '07 term at Michigan State University.
- Spring '07