Can a gasifier be too big?

My long term goal is to build a whole house gasifier generator. Unfortunetly it will take time and money to buy larger components of system (motor, gen head, and electrical parts).
In short term i would like to be able to power a small emergency generator to play with.

My understanding is your gasifier needs to be built to the size of the motor it is running so it has enough power. My question is, can i build a larger gasifier to start? Build one specified for a larger v8 even though i plan on using it on smaller units? Plumb extra gas into a storage tank or just let it dissipate?

Hello George
Short answer is, Yes.
Let me phrase this in horsepower.
A large V-8 gasifier must be able to minimum supply say 10 horsepower for that idling v-8 system.
Your only needing 5 horsepower small electrical generator will not heat load that gasifer system at half of it’s minimum design. Not getting up to good internal working temperatures it will then be tars maker.

To do your burn off extra gas, just to actually make it , you would have to add another 5 horsepower suction blower system/burner gas supplier.

Actually not a bad plan to just make a V-8 vehicle system first. Then you will learn just how fuel hoggish making 100,000 BTU’s an hour will be. (20kW electrical). A vehicle you can just parks and not have to wood fuel feed. Wife and kids in the house will just keep demanding multiple kW’s of power. Some one must slave the wood fuel to do this.

Small systems although thrifty on wood fuel are touchy, touchy to actually operate. Tiny fuel bits. Everything must be kept doing in balance. And all occurring just barely in time.
Steve unruh

Good morning George .

There are a lot of risk involved when storing woodgas.

If you will go to the upper right on this page to the search icon and search ( wood gas storage ) several threads will pop up. This has been discussed many times . Personally I am too big of a coward to store it :frowning_face:


I read shortly into gas storage keith and can understand the concern. On another note steve, sounds like you more or less need more pull from a larger motor to have that larger gasifier run properly. Understood. Now as far as fueling a 20kw generator which is more or less what i would like to do. I currently heat the house on heat and am feeding my wood furnace every 2-3 hours to keep it producing heat up here in western mass. Are we talking the same kind of demand for refueling? Bare in mind my goal is to be at home working my land in an effort to live off of a small organic farm.

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Yes George.
You currently heating with wood is your baseline known. This is good.
Now IF you were to also electrical energy supply a household/small farm at the typical modern Grid rate . . . you will double that wood use needs.
Do a reasonable amount of roads driving like WK and others here are now doing . . . one third again more wood to slave.
For 3X what you currently use annually.

These use numbers are all now here on the DOW and in other places.

Ha! Ha! Some do two of the three energy needs with wood.
I know of none doing all three.

Me? I heat with wood too. Have use-wood capability set-up now for long term No-Grid electricity back up.
Call me a one and a half.
But Hey! A half full glass is better than empty glasses, cold, powerless, needing.

Just today I hit 1/2 used up in the woodshed. Three 16’ X 6’ high rows used up. Three rows to go before next summers August dried wood refilling.
Fine, OK, for just wood heating needs.
Now if I was to use this remaining wood split between heating and electrical power . . . I’d run short.
Short of the really good sun dried wood.

Decisions. Decisions. See.
Only ever so annual work sweating in a single body. Only ever so much patience interest in others around you too.
Choose wisely.
Steve Unruh


Whats convenient is my father in law has a saw mill 100 yards next to my house and has a literal 30 foot pile of slabs that is 100 feet wide and growing everyday. I myself do treework currently, have a 14 inch chipper for chips and of course saw dust from mill if i wanted it. So i think i could manage fuel well with my labor in processing it. I would gladly trade my electric bill for my labor.

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What i lack how ever is the knowledge, and primary parts of build. I do have begginer welding skills, 125 v mig welder and a 220 stick welder i can use next door. Father in law is an engineer so he can probably walk me through stuff i dont understand. He wanted to do this build a while back but had been to busy running his lumber mill/firewood business.

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Sound good George. Ideal set up alright.
Here watch this and read. Click open the blue link line after Bruce’s “D” icon.

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Here is another DOW member. Patrick Johnson

open up his YouTube channel clicking on to his highlighted name below when viewing in youtube. And see more of his completed gasifier system.
There is a years long topic on his step by step build up here on the DOW. But on the Premium side view only. He made up a WK hearth system. Gas fueled an inline Chevy six cylinder to make his electricity for his electric saws mill. Then woodgas fueling a Cummins engine.

Opps. Just noticed you are Premium. Apologies.
At the bottom of his first intro post is a blue “Summerize This Topic”. That will strip it down to just 100+/- posts of the meat and potatoes.

Hey George .

I think my and your fuel situation is about the same . Your thoughts are not how to acquire wood but how to dispose of all the scrap wood that can’t be sold and as you have said it can pile up in a hurry .

I don’t use enough electricity on my farm to justify a generator because my electric bill is only about 2 bucks a day . However my farm trucks can suck down some gasoline amounting to many $ a day if not for them being gasified . I have driven my farm truck doing all kind of farm work just about every day for the last 10 years . If you would like some ideas you can search ( wayne’s V-10 Ram )

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Soon enough Keith, my chip truck is a 99 7.3 diesel f350. But its takes a load with a full box of chips and a 6500 lb chipper. I do have a 01 4.0 liter cherokee i thought about gasifying. How ever ive been driving it around with what i believe is a bad head gasket i need to remedy.

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Thats another cool wood chunker, also seen Keiths. They are a must have i would think. Suppose i could also bury my 95 cc saw into the slab piles.

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Helped saw some future fuel today


Hey George

I feel your pain :smile:

I also have a slab pile building fast .

Today we did three logs twelve foot long 8x 3/4 inch clabboards and made a bundle of slabs in about three hours