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Modification Of Biomass Steam Turbine Generator


Modification was carried out on the already fabricated Biomass Steam Turbine in order to improve on the various limitations of the machine which include the poor duration of the power generated, the high startup time, and the immobility of the Steam turbine. The modification greatly improved this limitations whereby the machine’s weight was reduced, the startup time was reduced pressure was generated by the steam over a shorter period of time and the power generated by the machine was determined which was able to charge a mobile phone and power a LED lamp over a long period of time.



1.1. Background of study

The poor electricity production in Nigeria is a major contributor to the poor industrial development in the country which is renowned to have the lowest electrification per capita in Africa. In Nigeria, electricity generation, transmission and distribution account to less than one percent of its GDP but fifty four percent  of utilities (e.g. electricity and water supply) (Adeola. A. F. 2003). The electrification rate in Nigeria is estimated at forty one percent (41%)(Us department of energy (DOE/NE-0088), indicating that demand outweigh the supply. The federal government is deeply concerned about this problem and has made several concerted efforts to increase electricity production in Nigeria.

If renewable energy is added to the present day energy supply, more than sixty thousand megawatts (60,000mw) or sixty gigawatts(60GW) of power required to place Nigeria in the category of industrialised nation can be achieved without significant increase in environmental pollution (Olaoye, T., Ajilore, T., Akinluwade, K., Omole, F., And Adetunji, A. 2016). Biomass for heat and power holds a large potential as a source of renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions, but this potential is only being realized at a slow pace today (Wilson J. F 2010). A global effort to remove barriers is needed to accelerate this way of low carbon development. To ensure such a development does not come at the expense of a sustainable use of natural resources, reinforced environmental frameworks and legislative processes are needed.

Energy crisis in Nigeria has been a concern for both the Nigerian government and the people for the past four decades (ONEC Department Report, 2013). While other countries with similar problem have long overcome the predicament, Nigeria still comes in pitch darkness. Business have relocated from the country due to inability of the national power supply to meet their demand while homes have had to adapt to the epileptic power supply or in some cases total blackout (Mackay D.J 2008).

The few companies operating in Nigeria largely depend on the off-grid supply using diesel/gas/petrol powered electric generator thereby running at huge overhead costs and contributing to greenhouse gas pollution among other environmental problems (Olaoye, T., Ajilore, T., Akinluwade, K., Omole, F., And Adetunji, A. 2016).

In the world ranking of environmental pollution, Nigeria’s category is low compared to world leaders liken USA and Great Britain (Emevon, I., Kareem, B., And Adeyeri, M. 2010). This could be attributed to low level of industrialization in the country owing to the energy crisis being discussed. The question raised in our minds is how the energy crisis in Nigeria can be solved whilst taking into consideration environmental conservation initiatives.

It is a known fact that, energy consumption is on increase as the world population, inventions of electrical equipment and appliances grow. Another contributing factor is the industrial revolution and advent of sophisticated industrial  equipment and instrumentations. Most of the energy utilized by these equipment and instruments are non-renewable. Judging from research outputs, the present use of carbon based non-renewable energy is unsustainable (RC, 2004; Akintunde, M. A. 2002;& Adegoke C. O. and Akintunde, M. A. 2003). On the other hand the issues of atmospheric pollution, carbon loading and climate change put man at a high risk if the usage of non-renewable energy is not controlled. Biomass, the oldest form of renewable energy, has been used for thousands of years. However, the emergence of fossil fuels has caused the drastic decline in its usage. According to Arvind (2009), only about 13% of the primary energy supply is from biomass though there are regional differences. Developed countries derived around 3% of their energy from biomass, while in Africa the proportion ranges between 70% and 90%.

Steam boiler is a sealed vessel, purposely designed to generate high pressure steam. The primary function of the boiler, in a heating system is to transfer heat produced by combustion to a medium, mostly water. Steam is an almost invisible gas generated by heating water in a sealed chamber at a very high temperature and pressure. A boiler is a closed vessel in which water is heated until the water is converted into steam at required pressure.  This can then be used to provide space heating and/or service water heating to a building. In most commercial building heating applications, the heating source in the boiler is a natural gas fired burner. Oil fired burners and electric resistance heaters can be used as well. Steam is preferred over hot water in some applications, including absorption cooling, kitchens, laundries, sterilizers, and steam driven equipment. Water is a useful and cheap medium for transferring heat to a process. When water is boiled into steam its volume increases about 1,600 times, producing a force that is almost as explosive as gunpowder. This causes the boiler to be extremely dangerous equipment that must be treated with utmost care. The process of heating a liquid until it reaches its gaseous state is called evaporation.

1.2 Statement of problem

The steam turbine fabricated by some students of Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, was tested and the following limitations where observed;

  1. The electricity generated does not last longer than a minute.
  2. Heat generated was lost rapidly from the chimney and under the water chamber.
  3. The machine was weighty and mobility was difficult as a result of the clay used for lagging the water chamber.

Based on these limitations, this project was carried out to improve on the steam turbine.


1.3 Aim and objectives

The aim of this research is to modify the already existing steam turbine. The specific objectives are;

  1. To increase the longevity of the electricity generated by the steam turbine.
  2. To improve the mobility of the steam turbine.
  3. To determine the wattage generated by the steam turbine.

1.4 Scope and limitations

This project is limited to the improvement on the longevity of the electricity generated and the mobility of the steam turbine. No environmental and cost analysis will be carried out.

1.5 Justification

Biomass for heat and power holds a large potential as a source of renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions, but this potential is only being realized at a slow pace today. It is therefore necessary to carry out further research in the improvement, use and application of biomass for electricity generation.


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