Just getting started

hi wayne
looks like you a pretty good fire already
I’ll post some pics of my stove

here’s another pic my computer is mad at me

Matthew - Here is a diagram of a gasification boiler.

Thomas - Looks decent. Sounds like it does a great job of heating water.

I just finished my boiler and will do a leak down test tonight. See how much psi it can hold. I also have a monotube flash boiler I am going to implement in my design. It was off my pressure washer and I was able to turn10 gpm of water to steam if I turn the temp above 1/4 dial. The coil is 100’ long.

Hi Wayne
That’s what they call a wood gun i think pretty nice but i was afraid if it cracked you would have to cut it apart
Mine works good but looks like crap and is probably not very effiechent
Post some pics if you can


I also considered going the full time generator route, a few thoughts though. One thing I have heard a fair amount of talk on is controlling your frequency, woodgas is not consistent in it’s potency like gasoline or natural gas because no two pounds of wood are exactly the same. That said, here is how I am planning to overcome this.

I am from the standby emergency power background, and a prime power quality generator will cost you some $$$. If you can make due on 10kw,
a brushless alternator generator head is fairly affordable and will give you a fair amount of use before she dies. Rather than trying to be 100% off grid, I find that it would be more practical to build yourself a cogen/peaking system. In doing so you can utilize a grid tie high voltage inverter (Fronius makes some really nice ones) these are meant for solar systems with the panels wired in series, they reach upwards of 300-600 volts and make 10 kw via 10 awg wire which is cheap and easy to install. Most of these units will NOT work in “island” mode, they use the grid frequency for their reference and push out as much KW as they have power for. This works out in your favor in two ways;

  1. You don’t have to run/fuel a generator 24/7 - that’s a lot of fuel no matter how you obtain it. Also, unless running the gen at close to rated power you are losing a lot of the energy your fuel is producing.
  2. You no longer care what the frequency of your generated AC is.

Here’s the why on #2 - if you produce 240V from a 10KW brushless alternator and RECTIFY to DC via full wave bridge rectifier, you’ll have around 336 volts DC (when rectified, voltage is peak to peak, not RMS) use a couple large caps to stiffen it up. Now this high voltage dc feeds that fronius grid tie which then produces nice clean true sine wave power and exports it to the grid spinning your meter backwards (unless you have a smart meter, in which case you’ll need the utility companies blessing) the older meters will just spin backwards. Caveat - to be legal you must ALWAYS be registered with the utility, so they know all sources if a disconnect is needed. Personally I don’t worry about it because the instant the utility goes out, the unit immediately goes under-frequency and cuts off (in milliseconds) but there it is if you must be by the book.

Now, you may use all the kwh you want, just run the unit a sufficient amount of time to turn your meter back to a predetermined amount of kwh per month, like say 50 or so before they read your meter of course. This also frees you of a usage cap, obviously on generator only the peak amount of power you can use is the gens rating, makes welding difficult! And, you can scavenge the heat off of your generator engine and (via heat exchangers) use it to heat your water and furnace (slide an auto radiator in the top where air exits the furnace).

If you want the generator to also be standby emergency AC, make it a dual fuel unit similar to the way Dutch John did his Chevy woodgas truck then you can runny woodgas for peaking (when power quality is less of a concern) and natural gas or propane in emergency mode when you need nice clean AC, scavenging the heat in either mode if needed. I may also use an automotice AC compressor on the engine with an additional coil in the furnace so I have mechanically driven AC in summer without sacrificing KW from the generator.

Note: You WILL need an engine controller/governor device and some additional equipment, but the possibilities are endless. I have a woodward easygen engine controller, and GE Fanuc PLC’s I will be using to accomplish this along with a pair of ASCO Automatic Transfer Switches.

Unless you are planning to stay at the home for the foreseeable future and are prepared to shell out some serious $$$ it is a daunting task to produce all of ones own energy, probably the reason most folks don’t go that route - I’m a bit more stubborn though and will pursue the venture. There are many details not discussed here, but it’s a general idea of the route I plan to go long term. I am choosing the opposite direction though and building my woodgas vehicle first (my gas cost is higher than my home power/energy costs). Also, I think using a gasifier to power an engine / generator unit it would be more efficient and less headache than building a separate unit to heat a home, Wayne has the bugs mostly worked out of running car engines on woodgas. And, if you’re generating electricity, the engine will produce more than sufficient heat to service a modest home, especially a 4-cylinder, they run HOT! and 10KW isn’t much of a load for a 4 cylinder automotive engine. 40 amps at 240 should run most homes in an Emergency save for electric ovens, dryers and water heaters (just run one at a time when in emergency mode).

It’s a long rant I know, but hopefully it sparks some ideas!

Good post HenryA. Your technical details are very accurate as well as I have experienced.
Taken me four years to come to similar conclusions.
Unfortunately I lack the technical skills to pull off a grid-tie set up to the satisfaction of our Grid suppler. Buying out this as licensed/certified/“Approved” had been a blocking hurdle they have imposed on anyone trying. Yes very smart telemetric meters now.
Here’s my plan.
House IS on Grid, inpected, certified, approved and insured. Lot of work and effort now to reduce Grid consumption here.
ALL of my farm/outbuilding/shop use I am now weening off onto self generated. Screw 'em. Yep. Expensive, time consuming and does not make dollar sense. As you say the shop welding part has proven the hardest to figure through. Saved, sold off unused stuff untill I could purchase an adequet Miller engine driven welder-generator for that and then use it as the heart of the system. Won’t be the most fuel efficient set up - but we own the trees and have more falling down rotting than we could ever convert into wood fuel and pay one of the highest national property tax rates to keep ownership of this. My goals are to offset THIS annual pay-out in savings of Dino fuels and Hydro-'lectric NOT then payed out.
You are correct - best bang for the effort would be 80% reducing my own personal vehicle payed out fueling costs.

Keep up this “ranting” man. You are making very good sense.

Steve Unruh

And if and when the Grid goes down then I will already be set up and using my own system I can then tie the house into.

I don’t drive much and need heat electric more so my ultimate goal is to run my generator 1-2 hours a day to heat and supply my juice. Future efforts should lower it even more. I would like to run it off my vehicle but have multiple engines available to build a stand alone. Grid tie still hooked until I prove I don’t need it anymore.

Running a DC generator makes more sense too me. I will not need to keep a certain rpm. I played with a pmg that ran off a bicycle without consistent pedaling.

My average usage is 16kw a day when running welder and shop. I use much less when not in the shop. I figure on building another PMG and getting a few batteries for the house and certain things in the shop. Grid power will still be hooked up but hopefully I can drop my bill down to the $20 a month range. I have friends that have a large farm that have been off grid for over 20 years and will be taking pointers from them when time comes. I also have a Huge supply of wind and need to get a generator up. My priority should be wind but I don’t want anyone to know I am generating my own power.

I think in the future home power generation will be TAXED on a per kw basis. So if generator is in a building I will be off the radar.

Even when using the shop now I would only need to run a generator about 2-3 hours a day. With battery and wind backup I can lower this. Grandpa’s and my electric bill used too be about $5 a month until about year 2000 then it started hitting $7. Now I am running $130+ a month. It is difficult to come up with that amount every month. Taxes are out of control but they won’t be able to Tax my own personal labor; I hope!

Problem is grid tie is cheaper than any alternative yet, except wind. Wood is even more for me than grid. But I hate having to come up with $ on their terms and timeline.

yeah, i’ll be looking at batteries, small gasified engine and 12v generators… i’ll take heat off the total system to heat my house and water… i have lots on the drawing board… gotta get my truck up and running first.

Funny enough we are in the process of installing a grid connection. After 7 years of being off grid we have decided to replace the generator battery charging with Ontario Hydro’s underpriced juice. Not wanting to throw it all away I am hooking the inverter into a seperate panel similar to a manual switch over generator setup. The panel disconnects the neutral as well; necessary here by code. On good days when the sun is out or I feel like running my gasifier I can remain independent; on cold wet miserable days like today I can switch over to utility… I thought of the grid tie route but there is a requirement to do away with my batteries if I want the full rate not something I want to do. Even at a high minimum monthly charge it is cheaper then the wear and tear depreciation of the generator… Options are good things, marital harmony priceless…

Bump to top
There are enough new members joining this foram that this needs to be revewed.
The diference between trash fuels and engine fuels needs to be explored.

If you want to fuel an ICE then you must refine your fuels very well; or suffer the rebuilds.
If you just want to keep warm then this stuff can be used by anywone willing to work.

If you just burn your trash; then your neobores will Knock on your door and demand that you stop.
Build a gasifier and they many not notice, except for the start-up.

But, if you gasifie your leaves and grass clippings and the cardboardyou get from all
the packaging from your food and junk mail, then you Know full well that you can’t
put this trash through your prized and expencive gen system.

But for a monotube boiler, this is very, very useable heat.

You can batch burn it; A rush of power to charge batteries, heat your hot tub or just watch the flare.
It is very satisfying to just watch the flare and dream.

Now, trying to burn grass clippings will give you lots, and lots of sillica rocks to deal with.
This is exactly wat your plants need to grow. Put it back onto the field.
AS a mater of fact, this is a good way of finding out what your fields needs.
Whatever shows up in your clinckers is the very thing that you need to add to your soil.

Just 'cause you gum up your engine, don’t give up. Don’t quit because of a failure.
Just lean from the mess and make a small adjustment and try it again…

You can “buy and fly” and you can enjoy all the privegege that your fathers gave to you.
Or you can push the envelope, and try, and to improve on that which is Known.

I am an incurable optimast; If you say I did this,then I say, I can improve this.


 Just a few thoughts...Daucie

Hi Daucie Rose,
Just had to post this Never give up pic.

Mathew, Daucie, and whoever else is interested,
If you want to know more about densifying crop residues feel free to contact me. I have been burning pelletized corn stover for 5 winters now to heat our house. It is an experiment that I think will come to a close for me in the near future due to several reasons I won’t bore everyone with. It is a process however just like anything else, just like gasifying and fuel prep has a process to it, and is being discussed here in another thread. Is it a viable process is the question (pellets I mean)? Even though I know it will work I am more leaned towards not viable, unless it is an emergency situation, or in Daucie’s case it is all you have. Daucie, I am not sure how your densifying your tumbleweeds and grass etc but it sounds like it is working some for you. David Orrell here on the group and myself were talking to a gentleman in France I believe, that was also pelletizing crop residue, and I think he was gasifying it. I believe he was adding small amounts of lime to help with the clinkering. It does help as I have tried it. I found it also helps to fine grind the material and sift it prior to densifying however all inputs that cost. Anyway, my 2cents. I can get wood, and I need to get my Toyota done for Argos. To much to do, to little time.
David S