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He Turns Engine Exhaust Into Fuel
As the cost continues to climb, more people seek ways to reduce energy consumption. But Kansas farmer, Walter Farrar, of Hugoton, is going much further than most.
Farrar is using exhaust heat from a 150 hp irrigation engine to generate steam, which i n turn powers a steam turbine. He's still perfecting the heat exchanger. But, for tests, he's been operating a 10 hp crop drying fan with the steam turbine and "waste" energy.
Farrar's son, Richard, is also getting ready to produce fuel alcohol and plans to recover heat from the radiator of the same irrigation pump engine to heat his still. The pump is about 30 ft. from the building housing the still and lines will be wellinsulated to reduce heat loss between engine and still.
Says Richard: "We know there's plenty of energy there, and we plan to recover as much as we can. But we're still putting things together now and don't have it all working yet."
Richard notes that they have not yet approached full heat recovery, and the heat exchanger is being rebuilt to improve its efficiency. In the present unit, water and engine exhaust gases flow through the exchanger in opposite directions so that the hottest water is found at the point where exhaust enters the exchanger (at about 1200 F). At this point, the water flashes into steam and is directed to the steam turbine.
There is, of course, very little crop drying done while irrigation,pumps are running, and the Farrars have been using the dryer fan simply to prove their concept of heat recovery. However, there is ample power available, says Richard, to operate a small feed grinder, electric generator or other similar equipment.
Currently, the Farrars have no equipment to sell, and have not as yet made any arrangements for anyone else to manufacture and market their device.
But Walter Farrar is also interested in other forms of alternative energy and has studied extensively both solar and wind energy. He now suggests that wind energy, instead of being stored in electrical batteries, might be stored as compressed air in a large tank. Compressed air could then be released as needed to operate a wide variety of power tools, or even turbine engines.

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #2