If you have to maintain a lawn anyway, why not harvest it for energy? The personal lawn harvester coverts lawn turf to pellet fuel that can be used for home heating or power generation.
The mower is powered by the grass pellets it harvests, so you never have to fuel it. A guidance system based on VSLAM and GPS allows for autonomous operation in cluttered and unpredictable environments.
Herbaceous materials such as lawn grass have very similar energy content when compared to woody biomass on a dry material basis, and grass has a shorter carbon cycle and better growth performance.
The mower fuel system is based on proven technologies: biomass densification, drying, and gasification, combined with off-the-shelf engine technology. Special materials and processes are required to handle the high-ash, high-chloride fuel.
A lawn optimized for energy yield will produce 3->4 tons of dry material per acre each growing season in many US latitudes. The fertilizer required to replace the harvested nutrients costs about 1/10 of the monetized yield of grass pellets. The 30 million acres of lawn in the US have the potential to be a significant source of domestic energy.
Conventional mowing solutions for residential consumers have a number of safety and environmental problems. Unprotected kinetic blade systems can do damage to people and property, and gasoline-powered power tool engines have poor emissions standards. The lawn harvester has a protected shearing blade system that is safe to use around pets and children, and the fuel system is comparatively clean-burning.
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ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Type of entry:teamTeam members:Jason Force
Jason's hobbies and activities:Chemical engineering is turning out to be a blast!
Jason is inspired by:I like to find business models that encourage innovation in sustainable solutions.
Software used for this entry:Alibre/Geomagic, Autodesk Multiphysics