First Charcoal Gasifier

Hi Guys. I’ve been reading the forums for years, drooling over everyone else’s projects. I think it’s time I finally jump in and do my first gasifier build. My problem is all the different types and options get overwhelming and I never make it out of the design stage. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m getting ahead of myself and instead of driving myself crazy with all that I just need to build SOMETHING. From there I can make all the modifications and upgrades once I get some experience running it.

I know I want to go charcoal I’ve got plenty of that. I was hoping to eventually get it to the point where its something that produces clean gas, with steam injection and doesn’t need to be shutdown to refill the hoper. I’m not expecting the first build to be anything earth shattering. Instead I was hoping those here could help point me in the direction of some plans so that this first gasifier could eventually become what I want. Or at least be of the correct design so that I can use what I learned from the first build on subsequent ones.

It sounds like down drafts are the way to go? Does anyone have an recommendations on plans I can use to get started?


Welcome to participating in the Forum!

My first question is what do you have in mind for this first gasifier? Generator or other small engine, or a vehicle?


Welcome to the site Dan. I suggest building some basic and simple for your first build and hook it up to any small engine. Don’t worry about expanding your first build. I’m linking to a thread with two video’s from a unit Brian White built. This is because it uses a simple to make nozzle that will last more that a few hours like many first user pipe nozzles do.


Hi Dan , and welcome into the world of banging bashing and getting your hands real nice and black !
Tom gave you some great links and i think that is the way to go for most people building a charcoal gasifier for the very first time they should start with a simple fire , the reason for that is it is a very predictable system EG: you will melt your nozzle , you will not be able to light your flare ( Air leak ) you will get a bang or a blow back , ( Air leak ) you will make weak gas and have trouble keeping the engine running ( Air leak ) .
You get the idea ? i think you will find even before you build it there will be a Air leak :grin:
but once you get that first engine run is when you start making things more workable to how you want them , like reading the posts on here about what to use for long life nozzles and sizes of containers/drums for the length of run time you need , but like i said once you have that engine running it can be a walk away system once you have the air/fuel mix set .
Once you have your feet wet with a simple fire then i would recommend building a downdraft unit .
edit also remember your charcoal is very important it must be fully cooked , dry and sized correctly between 1/4 up to 1/2 inch is a good working size
All the best Dave


Thank you all for the help. It’s amazing the awesome community you guys have built here.

@ForbiddenTuna Eventually I was hoping to run a generator. But since I’m sure I won’t be confident in the quality of the gas produced, I thought it might be best to use my log splitter that has an old 8 HP Predator that I don’t care about.

@d100f You make it sound so fun :smile: I wasn’t really planning to expanding on the original build. Not physically at least. I was just hoping to be able to take away as many lessons learned as possible. Knowing I eventually wanted to get to a good downdraft, I was imagining something simple like a Gilmore (Kalle) with a grate and outlet below it. Sounds like you guys think there’s too many variables that would make that too difficult? Or that it can’t really be done in a simple manor? It’s hard to go with the simple fire after seeing all the stuff you guys have done. (Thanks :frowning_face:) If you think that’s the definitely the route to take, I’ll get on it. Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it!


Welcome to the forum, Dan. I began and stayed with the SimpleFire. It fit my skill level better than the more complex designs. For most people, I expect starting simple is more likely to yield early successes which are an encouragement to move forward. You mentioned your desire for a continuous run. I think most gasifiers are batch designs, requiring brief shut downs for refueling. That is certainly the case with the SimpleFire, since it is an updraft. Good luck on your adventure. You will get a lot of help from these guys along the way.


There’s nothing wrong with the simple fire, or any updraft charcoal unit. I ran my Mazda b2000 on a flute nozzle updraft and I think it makes a really good benchmark on how well an engine should run on woodgas.