Engine grade gas from FEMA?

@Jim_H, to help you get started quickly, I would recommend taking a look at the Simple Fire charcoal gasifier, by Gary Gilmore – who also is a member on this site. It is appropriate for many small engines, like generators, that will help you experiment and learn. A build document is here http://www.driveonwood.com/static/media/uploads/pdf/simple_fire.pdf. After finding success with that design, moving to more complex systems will be easier.

By starting with charcoal, you’ll sidestep some of the major hurdles merely by creating and processing the charcoal separately. There is good information regarding charcoal gasifiers throughout this site.


Ben Peterson book is good, but I expeted more of a general woodgas and technical book.
His book is just a construction/plans of his design, nothing wrong with it but not what I expected.

And what i want to achieve is to be able to make fuel for IC engines on a reasonable budget.

Thanks for the help it is appreciated!

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I second what has been said, but why can’t you get Wayne’s book, you were able to get Ben’s? I have both, if you follow either you will have a working gasifier. And we will help you no matter what you build. If you go to the library on this site, should have all the info you need.


I would buy it but it’s not sold to any EU countries.
“orders from these countries will be refunded”

I can maybe buy it secondhand if anyone have a extra copy?

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If Chris sees this maybe he can let me know how I can help get you a copy, and premium side of site.

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Unfortnately Jim is right, we can’t sell to the EU anymore, it’s due to some VAT tax laws passed in 2015.

The way around it, is to have someone state-side buy it for you as a gift. I’ll mail a book anywhere you like, as long as it was purchased outside the EU.


Ok thanks for the clarification.

If anyone have one or want to buy one for me then I will pay you for it and shipping by paypal, send me a PM of intressted.

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Hi JimH.,
To immediatly read about gasifaction technical details open up the Library button at top of page.
Read/study these in this suggested order:
Driving On Wood: The Lost Art of Driving Without Gasoline (good overview comparing the differences between “constricted hearth styles” when using raw wood; wood charcoal; fossil coal; peat sod)

Auburn University Efficiency Tests (show WayneK with his system load tested on different fuel mixes)

World Bank Tech Paper #296 (maths and systems types comparisons for community sized systems with much much costs of operations details)

FOA72 ( similar to WBTP#296 but with a different outlook approach more emphasizing fuels stock indigenous)

Read, study one. Real all. Read more DOW Library listings until you are grounded to your willingness to make up a real system to actually start learning the real-in-usefactors. Theses are what Ben’s and WayneK’s and VesaM’s books do superior to these free/and no-cost information sources.

From your Ben’s Book commnet I’ll assume you have the first verson copy with the welderman pictured on the cover?
The second version release with the charcoal gasifier converted Mustang car cover pictures has an added in gasification history section and chemical/enrgy maths.
No need to re-purchase if you have the Just-Build-It first addition.
Read the above DOW supported papers above and you will get plenty of background history and more relevancy maths than you can handle.
Steve Unruh


Has someone run a FEMA gasifier on charcoal?
What would the difference be between a running a updraft/simplefire gasifier vs a FEMA type on coal?


Hi Jim, I made a FEMA gasifier and could not get it to produce good gas. That was my first build. I then went to charcoal gasification and had success. That was over ten years ago. With the knowledge gained over that time, let me tell you why a FEMA gasifier will not work on charcoal. This unit is open topped. Oxygen comes in from the top and burns the charcoal. This creates CO2 which cannot burn. In order to convert CO2 to Carbon monoxide, you have to reduce the CO2 by passing it through charcoal (carbon) OK, so fill the FEMA with charcoal. light it at the top and start pulling a vacumn on the gasifier. The charcoal will burn really hot and unevenly. In some areas, rat holes will occur and when the heat from that burning charcoal hits the grate, you will start pulling CO2 into your gas stream. Lose power and shut down. You cannot simply fill the gasifier back with charcoal because now you have hot coals sitting on the grate. As the vacumn pulls oxygen down, this hot charcoal will consume it and created CO2. There will be no chance to reduce this CO2 because there is no carbon below the grate. You really seem fixed on a FEMA. They are known as tar makers and will gum up your engine. Tar is hard to filter out of a gas stream. If you are looking at running small engines, may I suggest a charcoal gasifier. You can build one of these in a day or two and have something that is known to work. Then the learning really starts!
Good luck, Gary in PA


That is where I started, it did me a lot of good.


This is not to say I stopped doing charcoal projects. I have several going right now.


Ok thank you for the explanation
Not really fixed on the FEMA I just like the lidless/opentop design, but it will not be of use if good gas can’t be made from it.

I will use updraft for coal and try to make make a simple fire then.


Hi Jim.
I consider my self a baby in comparition with these Masters that are writting in this site. So I will try to add half cent.
Masters: Please correct me if I am not precise.

  1. In order to filter tar from wood gas you need to cool it down to room temp witch convertes gas tar into liquid/solid tar ie. water filters, bubble into liquid filters, etc.
  2. In the topic: “Drawings of charcoal gasifiers for vehicles” you may find some interesting projects.
    Eddy Ramos.

It might be possible to filter tar. Any time I have heard anyone ask Wayne about filtering tar out of gas his answer was “It is about as easy to filter out tar as it is to straddle a ditch with a wheelbarrow”


I like that. From what I hear that about sizes it up.


Some of us are not native English speakers. This idiom means that it is impossible.


Found these grouped together on arkansashunting.net forum archive… :grin::innocent:


I think we have made it clear now that FEMA does not work.

But my next question is, are there any other design with a open top that does work?


That first one about how hard its raining,is one of my favorites! Always elicites a funny look from urban dwellers and polite folks.