A bigger gas line is definitely in the plans.
The other day I went 34 miles and dropped the level to the first ring. It’s hard to tell exactly because at the top is the filter, which takes a little volume, and the fill hole is off to one side which makes it hard to fill 100%. I thought it was pretty economical.
I’ve used three methods to make charcoal: a) my wood stove, b) Haitian barrel method and c) burning brush piles.
My wood stove is an Alladin Quadrafire, and is very efficient at making charcoal. Just burn it real hot till no yellow flame, then shovel out the glowing embers into an ash bucket with a tight lid. Everything heats, no waste. In the winter, the stove is running full throttle to heat the house anyways. I know that CO could be a problem with letting the ash bucket cool indoors, but it’s never registered anything on the CO detector.
In the Haitian barrel method, I just knock the end(s) out of a barrel, so the barrel is just a cylinder. Prop it up on bricks, then pile it full of wood scraps and light from the top. Once it burns down to where it’s all blue flames, no more yellow, then kick the bricks out from the bottom, pile sand around, and put on a lid for 24 hours. If the wood is dry, there’s little to no smoke. Yield is about 30% by volume, depending on whether soft or hard wood.
In the brush pile method, burn brush till there’s a big pile of embers and no more yellow flames (that’s the tar). Then shovel the glowing embers into a barrel, and put a lid on it till cool.
Then for grading, I made a dual-screen trommel with 5-gallon buckets and a little concrete roller (a plastic peanut jar full of 'crete) to go with it. The inner screen has about 1x1 squares, and the concrete roller bounces around in here and beats up the coals till they fall through. Then the outer screen is 1/4" mesh, and the way it works is that everything’s small enough to go through the 1x1, and the dust and fines go out the 1/4 mesh. Out the very end comes the graded charcoal. I should probably get a finer mesh for each stage, the 1/4" loses a lot and the 1x1 lets too-big chunks through sometimes. But it works, seems consistent and is serviceable. The “cabinet” which is made from an old water softener, allows me to hook up the shop-vac for negative draft (dust control) and do the processing in the garage without the dust going everywhere. The trommel is a work of art in itself, has a wheel and handles so it can be pushed around like a wheelbarrow. See pics.