Mikes venture into the dark side

I have been saving more slipped charcoal from my 95 F250 than I reuse for startups.
Then after seeing Gary Gilmore, Koen and others systems at Argos, I have decided to build a “portable” charcoal gasifier.
The primary use will be on a 17 HP Tecumseh powered lawn mower with occasional use on my currently modified 5KW generator.

I have built a water cooled nozzle

That will fit into a 3.5’ by 6” column (5 gallon) then into a 3” cyclone and 3’ cooling rack with 3 sections of 3/4” conduit, then a paper filter to the engine.

Comments are welcomed and since it has taken 3 days of scrounging and fabrication for the nozzle and a start on the column.
I will NOT be challenging JO’s production.


Looks good Mike!
I’m curious how it will secure to the charcoal hopper?


Hi Mike; Can we get a quick free hand sketch (skizz) of how this works; nozzle, water in/out, air in/ gas out etc. TomC


Still design/build but the plan is for a compression seal with 3/8” stove rope.
Restrained with a 3/8” set screw

I have lots of head scratching ideas but have not yet drawn it up.
This morning I cut out 6 pieces of 4” dia by 1/16” plate for end caps and 2 pieces of 7” dia for the column.


Hey Tom. Did you see Gary Gilmore’s water jacketed nozzle at Argos? He made it out of copper. I believe Mike is the same theory but with steel. There will be a container filled with water to feed the nozzle. The water at the nozzle will heat up and perculate up one pipe back to the container of water. That water will be replaced with cool water and therefore circulating.


Mike, does that mean the water tubes on the nozzle will be inside the gasifier?


Hi Mike, I know Bob mentioned you add some char to the wood in your gasifier from time to time. I do to too, to richen the fuel on longer trips.
Do you add char especially for startups? How do you do that?

My charcoal storages are growing too, but I haven’t found the time yet to start experimenting with charcoal gasification.
I think you’re mistaken. I’m not the one with fast production. I’m slow as a turtle. Besides Wayne, Kristijan is the speedy one.


At startup I turn on bypass blowers, hand dig down to near the nozzles, light the fire, then pour in about 1/2 gallon of 1/8” to 3/4” charcoal, use a 3/8” rebar to punch the char down into the fire. Then fill with chunks and head out in about 3 min.

The big advantage is the fast startup and no tar, the bypass exhaust is nearly clear since the startup fire is nearly all charcoal


Bill the only thing I saw of Gary’s was the crank handle to supply air for him. TomC


Mike, I love this new topic. I can’t stop thinking about, and designing new charcoal gasifiers. This fuels my fire and blackens my happy face. I can’t wait to see how she runs. I’m especially interested in the performance of the 3.5’ by 6" column running a 17 HP.

Your “cool” nozzle may not need water, based on the success of Kristijan’s thick-walled, flute style, vertical nozzles.


The other thing Gary’s cool nozzle does is provide steam/fog to the intake air for the hydrogen boost.
I was like a sponge picking up ideas at Argos


2” sleave welded into the 6” tube with a 7/16” set screw to hold the nozzle
1 1/4” water shroud with a retaining ring and packer for 1/4” stove rope seal
3/4” water cooled flute with 2 - 5/8” nozzles.

Hinged clamp on the 6” tube for future mounting and relatively quick release
Bottom seal is 7” flat plate with silicone rubber seal clamped and tested water tight. In operation there will be a 3” layer of hi temp insulation under the nozzle or maybe a 5 3/4” diameter by 3” hi temp concrete?

I must have 20 hours invested in that nozzle so if it turns to slag I may cry.


Hi Mike , it looks like you have a removable bottom under that nozzle for easy clean out ?
If so i would not worry about insulating under the nozzle as the ash and charcoal fines will insulate it good enough and make emptying it very easy , least thats what i found on my propane tank gasifier the nozzle was about 3 inches from the bottom and it never got that hot , being a updraft .



On my gasifier the nozzle was 4 in above the bottom of the gasifier and my ash cleanout was a rubber cap and I never had problems with it.


Thanks, I wasn’t sure if the fresh charcoal below the nozzle would burn and cook the silicone seal.
I may start out with 5/8” threaded rod drilled out to 3/8” reducers in the nozzles or would it be better to just plug one of the 5/8” nuts?

I have read in several places that nozzle inlet velocity should be high?


Hi Mike, Your comment about crying if the nozzle turned to slag hit close to home. I forgot to open the valve that let the water into the nozzle and cooked it. Wondered why the water wasn’t steaming and by the time I understood why, the nozzle melted. Now I make my nozzle without any valve to avoid making the same mistake. It will be interesting to see how the steel water cooled nozzle works. Steel does not conduct heat as well as copper does and therefor MAY slag up some, or maybe not. I know the copper nozzle has worked well with no slag sticking to the metal. Keep having fun.
Gary in PA


Thanks Gary
I installed 2 water lines hoping I get some thermal cycling going so it doesn’t “percolate”
If I remember you only had a single 1/2” water line?

No shutoff valve, water is cheap, nozzles are not.


Hi Gary , have you posted your photo’s or build instructions of your nozzle on here ?
Are you running it on the ranger or something else ? horizontally or vertical ?
Would love to see it in action .

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Ouch… l (unfortunaly) know how that feels. I melted enough of my hard work to learn the charcoal gasifier can only be sucsessfull if it is built to run only on charcoal and air. Everything l add to it later is just a bonus.

One more problem l see with water cooled nozzles is the fact water leaves lime scale behind as it boils. It can plug the nozzles or prevent water to touching the metal, thus overheating it. Distiled water is an option but usualy not free…


If the thermal cycling idea works there may not be any boiling water to leave scale in the nozzle. That is the idea with the top and bottom water lines.