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Wood gas to run an electric generator?

 
pollinator
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Is this an efficient idea? Is it affordable? I've seen premade units offered for sale at absurd prices. I'm wondering if I could do better and power an entire homestead.
 
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I personally am attracted to using charcoal for the same purpose.
It means processing the wood into charcoal and losing some power in that process, but then  the process of running your IC engine off of the charcial is dead simple.
Since I have home heating needs and charcoal has many uses,  starting with charcoal makes sense to me.

For better information there is at least one member who actively does this, and they are also active at the Drive On Wood forums.
That forum is filled with DIY  woodgass builds.
They seem to know quite a bit and share that information freely.
 
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people run vehicles on it why not make a setup for a generator
 
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I like the charcoal idea as well.  The only issues I'm struggling with would be:

1.  finding/inventing a unit to turn wood into charcoal and the using that heat for my house or a greenhouse.
2.  how much wood would a gassifier use if a gassifier could use charcoal?
 
pollinator
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Chris Watson wrote:Is this an efficient idea? Is it affordable? I've seen premade units offered for sale at absurd prices. I'm wondering if I could do better and power an entire homestead.


Hi Chris, as mentioned above charcoal is a great way to get into the gasification game. I make charcoal while heating my house. you could assume that to replace 1 gallon of gasoline you would require roughly 11-13 lbs of charcoal. If you use a wood gasifier you could assume roughly 20 lbs of wood to replace 1 gallon of gasoline. Charcoal builds are much simpler but you must make the charcoal. If you have use for the heat it is the clear winner. If the amount of fuel you need is large a raw wood unit would be the way to go.  The best site online for anything woodgas related is www.driveonwood.com in the small engine section. Most of the content is free including many DIY plans. There is a premium side as well for the more advanced designs. I would suggest you start there. There are a lot of "look at me" videos on youtube with little in the way of follow up or engine longevity numbers.  I have over 40 hours on my charcoal gassifier tractor and about 40 on a generator conversion.
Cheers,  David
 
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Fema posted a simple gasifier decades ago that is freely available on the net, Google, Fema Gasifier and you will be inundated with how to's and reports from "them that done it".
One of the pitfalls of wood gas is the wood works best if "chunked" into fist size pieces rather than sawdust, chips, or rounds, (to facilitate max charge and unimpeded flow) a tedious and time consuming chore.
That said,... I would think a digester (if you have the space for it) would be far more efficient, and useful.
 
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Anybody have suggestions for a blower motor? The one Peterson recommends is only available in batches of 200. He says it must have at least 9" of water lift, but most blowers are rated in CFM. I am running a 500cc generator with a 1-liter hearth ratio configuration, so I assume I will need a secondary blower to make up for the lack of engine suction. In fact, I have found nothing that is rated in water lift. It's funny, going through the book it struck me that Ben has thought of everything. Yet finding this seemingly critical motor has been very difficult.

Thanks!
Andy
 
David Baillie
pollinator
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Andy Marshall wrote:Anybody have suggestions for a blower motor? The one Peterson recommends is only available in batches of 200. He says it must have at least 9" of water lift, but most blowers are rated in CFM. I am running a 500cc generator with a 1-liter hearth ratio configuration, so I assume I will need a secondary blower to make up for the lack of engine suction. In fact, I have found nothing that is rated in water lift. It's funny, going through the book it struck me that Ben has thought of everything. Yet finding this seemingly critical motor has been very difficult.

Thanks!
Andy

That's probably because Ben has sourced them and probably has them for sale. Most people I know start with either an air powered venturi or a series of marine bilge blowers hooked up in series Or a dimmer controlled vaccuum or a battery powered leaf blower...  Lots of work arounds. If you check out www.driveonwood.com you can quiz the brain trust there for free and read most posts. there is a paid section but if you are building an imbert style downdraft unit like Ben's style those threads are all on the free side...
Cheers,   David
 
Andy Marshall
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David Baillie wrote:

Andy Marshall wrote:Anybody have suggestions for a blower motor? The one Peterson recommends is only available in batches of 200. He says it must have at least 9" of water lift, but most blowers are rated in CFM. I am running a 500cc generator with a 1-liter hearth ratio configuration, so I assume I will need a secondary blower to make up for the lack of engine suction. In fact, I have found nothing that is rated in water lift. It's funny, going through the book it struck me that Ben has thought of everything. Yet finding this seemingly critical motor has been very difficult.

Thanks!
Andy

That's probably because Ben has sourced them and probably has them for sale. Most people I know start with either an air powered venturi or a series of marine bilge blowers hooked up in series Or a dimmer controlled vaccuum or a battery powered leaf blower...  Lots of work arounds. If you check out www.driveonwood.com you can quiz the brain trust there for free and read most posts. there is a paid section but if you are building an imbert style downdraft unit like Ben's style those threads are all on the free side...
Cheers,   David



Thanks David. I am building the unit in Ben's book. I don't think he still sells the blowers. I've been to driveonwood, but I'm still looking for specifics--either names/part numbers of the exact units people have had success with, or at least a number for CFM, RPM, lift, etc. Finding high-suction blowers in DC is tough. That said, since I'll be using my gasifier to power a genset, I don't see why I can just use an AC unit with 20 inches of lift.
 
pollinator
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I did this back in 2016.

-->  



But propane is so cheap now that for a $$ standpoint   it does not make sense for $ / time.


The main problem is the generator will wear out quickly and there are many replacement parts.      For me being in Florida getting a large bank of solar panels to where I don't have to make charcoal or work on an engine just made far better sense for the time /effort ratio.


However,  if we goto war with China and we get our oil supply cut off  I will pull this idea off the shelf and put it into motion.

I have focused on building larger lithium battery bank I am now up to 20 KWH of storage  right now ( 10 KWH ) online  slow getting more online as I figure everything out.

Look up   this website for awesome sauce info about wood gas ->

Driveonwood.com





 
David Baillie
pollinator
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Andy Marshall wrote:

David Baillie wrote:

Andy Marshall wrote:Anybody have suggestions for a blower motor? The one Peterson recommends is only available in batches of 200. He says it must have at least 9" of water lift, but most blowers are rated in CFM. I am running a 500cc generator with a 1-liter hearth ratio configuration, so I assume I will need a secondary blower to make up for the lack of engine suction. In fact, I have found nothing that is rated in water lift. It's funny, going through the book it struck me that Ben has thought of everything. Yet finding this seemingly critical motor has been very difficult.

Thanks!
Andy

That's probably because Ben has sourced them and probably has them for sale. Most people I know start with either an air powered venturi or a series of marine bilge blowers hooked up in series Or a dimmer controlled vaccuum or a battery powered leaf blower...  Lots of work arounds. If you check out www.driveonwood.com you can quiz the brain trust there for free and read most posts. there is a paid section but if you are building an imbert style downdraft unit like Ben's style those threads are all on the free side...
Cheers,   David



Thanks David. I am building the unit in Ben's book. I don't think he still sells the blowers. I've been to driveonwood, but I'm still looking for specifics--either names/part numbers of the exact units people have had success with, or at least a number for CFM, RPM, lift, etc. Finding high-suction blowers in DC is tough. That said, since I'll be using my gasifier to power a genset, I don't see why I can just use an AC unit with 20 inches of lift.


Usually the problem Andy is that you might not have ac until you start the generator...  That said this one is ac. I used this one on my tractor Gasifier it was big time overkill but mine is charcoal. Canadian link...
 
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In WWII in Europe there were embargo's on gasoline.  Germany's citizens found using wood gas to run vehicles worked.  The Japanese used wood gas to power certain machinery.  During the Great Depression farmers used a combination of corn oil and wood gas to power their equipment.

In Appalachia, folks today still use wood gas vs. gasoline, propane, or diesel to power generators vehicles, and/or even heat their homes.

Should you buy a premade/commercial wood gas generating system?  That is up to you if you choose to take the lazy mans way out.  

There are many government publications and YouTube vieos on how to make your own system and even how to store wood gas for later use.  Although ALL of these ideas do require some work and time to create, they are the most satisfying way to go in my humble opinion.

Frank F.

 
David Baillie
pollinator
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Frank Frederick wrote:In WWII in Europe there were embargo's on gasoline.  Germany's citizens found using wood gas to run vehicles worked.  The Japanese used wood gas to power certain machinery.  During the Great Depression farmers used a combination of corn oil and wood gas to power their equipment.

In Appalachia, folks today still use wood gas vs. gasoline, propane, or diesel to power generators vehicles, and/or even heat their homes.

Should you buy a premade/commercial wood gas generating system?  That is up to you if you choose to take the lazy mans way out.  

There are many government publications and YouTube vieos on how to make your own system and even how to store wood gas for later use.  Although ALL of these ideas do require some work and time to create, they are the most satisfying way to go in my humble opinion.

Frank F.

hi frank do you use woodgas?
I would suggest www.driveonwood.com for a good cross section of the wood gas world. The problem with you tube is you never know if the video maker has 1000 hours on his build or used it twice... The woodgas joke is it's easy to get an engine to run on woodgas... once. There are advantages to using a commercial design or following a user proven design.
Cheers,  David
 
gardener
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Chris,

Nice concept and one I have thought about in the past.  It might be easier to convert to wood gas if the generator could already run on propane/natural gas.  These kits exist and are not too difficult to install and not terribly expensive.

Another thought.  I have seen a large number of these gasifiers that run on woodchips or wood pellets.  This is all fine but that would mean that I would have to store wood chips/pellets.  This would be fine, but I can also store gas and either would eventually run out.  I am personally interested in a gasifier that could run on sticks and debris left over from a storm.  That way I could have power indefinitely from a storm bad enough to knock out power longer than the fuel I could store.

Food for thought,

Eric
 
pollinator
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Admittedly, I don't have much to contribute to this thread. But I did just watch this Youtube video that from a mad scientist I absolutely adore and came away understanding wood gas more than I ever did before just by seeing his trial and error. Sharing because it's hilarious and educational and the first time I've seen wood gas applied in a small engine context.

 
 
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