Automated chip fed Gasifier?

I am still trying to learn my way around this forum. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

I am trying to find info on building a stationary gasifier that I can heat the house ( by way of Hydronic pipes under the floor), and maybe even generate some power to offset the electric bill.

I would love to buy a fully automated system that all I would have to do is load the chips in a hopper and set the temp I wanted the output water to reach. Then sit back and enjoy a nice warm house. BUT it is just too far above my income level ( way too expensive).

I do have a large tow behind chipper for making a large amount of chips quickly. I also have most of the parts needed to start building but I am still reading and learning first.

I am thinking about how to use an auger to feed it with but I am still trying to work out the details so that it will be able to run without stopping for several weeks if not at least a month or more at a time.

I think I can chip whole trees into a large hopper that will then feed into the unit, but how to keep the gasifier sealed and still feed into the unit is the part I am still trying to figure out. Does it really have to be sealed or can I just force air in from the top to make it burn downward?

Any help or ideas would be much apprecated.


Here’s a couple thoughts for ya.

First, always good to search for previous discussions: Search results for 'automation' - Drive On Wood!

Most commercial gasifiers do use chips, but are geared towards smaller engine sizes. As you step up to larger power output, you’ll need larger fuel sizes. The Keith gasifier is designed to run chunks, not chips.

You can’t chip wood directly into a hopper, unless the wood is already dry. You need some provision to air dry the fuel.

Automating the system completely is going to be very expensive and prone to maintenance issues. The GEK gasifiers went down this route, they have a lot of computerization in critical areas and single points of failure. And it now costs $35,000 for their grid-tie Power Pallet. Even as a DIY project you’ll have to match some percentage of that cost.

Heating is easier than engine running. If you just want heat, you’ll do better to directly burn the wood in a gasification boiler. This would be much easier to load and forget, and chipped fuel is not required.

Selling power back to the grid is usually not worthwhile. Some folks have used it as an intermediate step to going off grid. However your actual payback money is not likely to cover your increased operating costs and labor. To make a large amount of power will require a bigger gasifier and larger fuel, plus more fuel processing, more maintenance… it’s not very economical.

All that said, making power on a personal scale, for your own use, is well worthwhile - not in dollars, but in self-reliance and as part of an independent lifestyle. That is the best reason to pursue woodgas power.

A smart man once told me, “Food is for the farmer who grows it”. Same thing goes for woodgas.


Here is a guy who does a great job with automation: Contact him.

I too am doing an automated feed system. I will be feeding a Ford 351w engine with a 26 kw gen head. The engine will run on NG too.

Process engineering and PLC is pretty involved, but fun to tinker with. The process ranges from highly trained beavers with titanium front teeth with a chips on theirs shoulders, to screw augers and drying processors. The Germans do a lot with wood chip automation. I have found a lot of good info by searching under Gaserzeuger and watching German YouTube.

“It wasn’t me!, I found the tree like this sir!..”


I would like to encourage you to follow your dream. Heating is not a subject that is per sued very much on this sight. Maybe try Yahoo Woodgas Group. It has been around for a longer time and has a lot of information on things that have been tried over the years in many aspects of woodgas. On that sight, and on the internet, I suggest that you look up the name Greg Manning. He has successfully built a gas furnace that runs on chips and has the chipper, a wood screener, and a storage system for his chips.
I do feel that your expectations for running weeks or months with out service, are more than can be expected with wood. Good luck. TomC