thanks for the info,I didn’t realize coal was so much easier to maintain.definately gonna look more into it…I had a couple ideas I was gonna try for automation…might sound a little retarded but my generators vibrate quite a bit I was thinking of just welding a bar to connect all 3 generators to the shaker grate lmao might not work but would be insanely easy to at least try.i heard the ones on trucks don’t require shaking so who knows
Been there done that. This will over shake the grate and shake out all your char and then tar will come along and make a bad for you.
reaaally i thought I was being original lol if it was to much did u maybe try dampening the vibrations or connect a light coiled spring between the rod and the grate?
Maybe worth a try, you will at least learn. Just build so you can make revisions.
You should look at building a simple fire first. You can make one in a days time and it will work. If you have a need for heat and hot water then you have an application for that as you can incorporate your charcoal kiln process into that.
yea just trying to learn everything I can.you guys helped alot
So you big greenhouse.
OK that’s completely different for your needs then.
You need lots of lighting.
Lots of seasonal heating.
And lots of seasonal ventilation.
You then need to sell off your three little generators and get a big one like this fellow did.
For a Gasifier get a kit from the Idaho fellow, Offgrid 48 degrees.
Or get WayneK’s book and build up a true WK system.
Then you can chunk easy big then. Using the gasifiers heat and engine gen heat for your greenhouse and in-green house fuel wood drying.
So far as the engine tarring up problems the majority of time with a good gasifier system you can always trace that back to the actual human Operator.
A dumb-dumb shit who would creosote up their wood stove chimneys, being unthoughtful and lazy.
A modern Net-addicted trying to “all-biomass” instead of just using true tree woods.
A cheapskate bastard getting rid of treated woods; old buildings lead painted demolition debris; car tires; and barrels of heavy ,make-diesel from cooking oils, sludges. Ha! Then the using “free” plastics idiots.
A wood gasifier should be a woodgasifier. Operated by a good woodgasifier operator. All jokes of dead cats and road kill aside.
Yea thats the idea.just don’t have the money to blow for the big generator.just trying to see if it can be done with what I’ve got
You have my curiosity piqued. What kind of greenhouse is it that different from what I think a greenhouse is? Growing food in a controlled environment is my main interest as well. Self produced power is the only thing that makes that feasible in the long run.
Also, as far as I can see, the main reason folks run wood gas is because they are able to find sources of fuel if they venture beyond their normal area. Or, Like SteveU, they don’t have a suitable wood available to make charcoal. If you are looking for a fuel for a stationary power supply, a charcoal gasifier would require a lot less monitoring to keep it running clean. It’s not really that much more work to make charcoal than to chunk up suitably sized wood.
Its less work!
A 48 X 48 pallet takes me less than 5 minutes to process. That pallet will get me 1 1/2 hours of run time. The kiln process is not work! it does the work and it keeps me warm in that process No messing around with trying to dry the wood and then waiting. If the fuel is not dry and you need it then you are in the dark or risk making tar. So done with all that. I can have fuel ready to run in less than two hours from raw fuel feed in to usable cold charcoal out. No automation required but you do need to monitor the unit. a stationary raw fuel gasifier will require automated processes. At the very least a hopper shaker, grate shaker and electronic AFR and you will still need to monitor it.
When I tell people I have a climate controlled greenhouse almost everytime they assume im just growing pot lol. I dont grow normal stuff people in the states grow like broccoli and tomatoes I grow exotics like Kiwano,statfruit,and rambutan…stuff most people haven’t heard of that looks like it came outta the movie avatar lol. Yea matt you got me looking into charcoal now,I’m floating a buncha ideas
Hi Matt, can you do a video of you process a 48×48 pallet? It gets me a hour to do just one, and trying to get all the nails out and this is a great big pain.
Chris was using pallets in the 92 WK Gasifier truck. And when I took it apart there were a lot of nails in the ash in the firetube and in the clean out.
Do you just cut it up with a saw and process the wood to charcoal nails and all. Then use the magnet remove the metals from the charcoal?
I tried that but my charcoal crusher sizer would jam up if just one tiny nail would miss the magnet pick up. I had to be right there all the time when crushing the charcoal.
This would be interesting to all of us charcoal fans on how you process a pallet. You can show the video on your charcoal thread.
I dont use a crusher. When I store the charcoal I put in a 55 gal drum. I use a shovel to chop it up before I screen the dust out. I dont worry about the nails at all. I just clean out the clinkers every 4 to 6 runs. Easy to do in my units.
I use a circular saw to cut all the slats and then use my chop saw to cut everything down to 8 inch long pieces and chuck in my kiln.
This here is the shop heater with the bell removed. I plan to build 4 or 6 units like this as shown but using a 30 gallon drum as the fire tube and a 55 gal drum as the shroud. Each one should make around 15 - 20 gallons an hour. So 4 units would easily fill a 55 gal drum an hour. Thats 11 hours of run time in one hours time. Thats not counting the screening but that takes seconds to do.
You can see here how I chop up the fuel and screen it.
Hey Nick I will assume you are growing these exotics as a make money seller, eh.
In that case you do not want to have a wood-for-power endless project. The sawmiller guys make thier money sawing and selling lumber - NOT BY WOODGASIFING.
Why I gave you links to known, operating, useable, designs.
Here on the DOW most are edge of possibilities tread’ers.
And TomH there are a number of reasons many of us stick with raw wood systems explained by a hatful of beliefs beyond just numbers.
I, like Nick had stated are ill-at-ease with the energy losses going charcoal. Minimize these all you fool yourselves, but they are still there.
Others see charcoal as the Natis Elites fuel. Mary Antoinette’s cake-fuel. Made by get-hands-dirty sweat’ers. For the creative, cerebral types. To “skills” to valuable to get their hands dirty. Like the current buy-it, drive-it, plug-in and suck-it electric car drivers.
Still others see charcoal just in terms as becoming a commodity fuel. System then locking yourself into to just another market priced commodity fuel. Hell. Why even go off of propane or diesel then?
So I would like many here on the DOW for four cylinder and above go raw wood even if I had the personally owned hardwoods to be able to go-big with charcoal.
Ha! For my woodsplitter? My garden rototiller? Nope even I would charcoal. I CAN get some red alder and a bit of maple. Enough for hours a year use engines.
And I will refute the sale of needing advanced electronic automation for woodgasifing that APL/GEK and others continuously sell as the “must”. Utter B.S.
I can operate a manual choke carburetor engine.
Drive a stick; manual shift vehicle.
Make damn good coffee in an any heat source percolator pot.
It is just all in the touch. (wiliness to fail until you do learn to be BETTER than just the lazy served up to you)
Where are the machines that run without it?? : Physics is physics and you can not overcome grate packing, bridging and gas energy fluctuations without automation. I have never seen one video or any machine run for more than five minutes without need for intervention. Any video I have ever found never shows a machine running for more than 5 minutes. This is small scale stationary mind you. For me If I cant walk away from a machine I dont want it, I have work to do and dont want to be fiddling around a gasifier.
If you go look at Flash USA, CNC machiningisfun, Hobbylogger and quite a few others. These are all well known and respected builders and all of them have adopted automation into their builds.
So I take it you do all of your systems welding CNC five axis, eh?
Or hand. By man. By skill.
Two hour system are being used MattR.
Four hour system too.
The DOW has plenty who set up running. Walk away and work for hours listening for their system to run out of fuel.
You sold to the dreamers and schemers. This has jaded you, man.
If you remember way back we cut every part by hand lol. Building the resources I have today, seemed like it took a long time and I guess the two years it did take was a long time but considering the caliber of all this equipment that was fast.
But even today, the only thing we have CNC’d is the sheet metal. We still hand form all the parts, perform all the weld set ups and then actual welding, custom wiring, mechanical assembly. We are all still very skilled here. However if I had the justification to fully automate my shop from raw materials in / to loading pallets on a truck. I would in a heart beat!!. I also have the ability to create all that infrastructure. This does not eliminate jobs. It would create them, it would require skills of the machine builders to build and create this equipment. I would still need people to run this equipment. It would make my work environment safer, cleaner, more productive, far higher quality and my employees would still make the same with less effort. Would you prefer a non automated Ford Model T with five digit ignition and a hand crank starter with 25 hp or a modern car with electric start advanced EFI, 300 hp at 40% efficiency?
Regardless if its a bought unit or just me building for myself, I want the thing to run and do this every time I run the unit. Not three times out of four runs I want to run like on gasoline every run and that is not for my customers that is for me personally. My job is not to make money at this, if that were the case I sure as hell would not be here, Id still be traveling the world making 6 figures. I live in an RV now!! lol. My job is to improve and make this technology better. Was it broke? Nope, Was it viable?" Absolutely not and since Ive gone charcoal this really changed a lot for me. I see charcoal offering so much more and with a ton less expense and complexity. CHP is not easily done with raw fuel gasification. The unit must be running to get that heat and then you need complex systems to extract that heat. Charcoal you can simply wood fire to create both your heat and charcoal and do this very effectively. When you are heating around the clock that little bit of charcoal adds up over time. Get hot water your hot water heater goes away. you just took away that energy expense so now less tax on the system.
Making these systems automated was not to make them more expensive or complex and is not for the clients either. It is all for me and how I would want to the system to perform for myself and not anyone else. Making a system so complex just so you can run raw fuels? Why? Thats what I had to really ask myself last year. Really why?? Why would you when you can build system for a fraction of the cost with far less complexity?? Why spend hours processing small chunked or chipped fuels only to have to wait days for it to dry? Why would you when all you really need is to process in much larger pieces and let this fuel itself provide the energy to dry itself and reduce to a usable fuel and do so in way less time and work?? Why would you waste energy to run equipment when you can replace that process with a process that creates other usable and desired heat energy? Its all a matter of perspective. Those systems that run without automation how well do they really run? Are they running a solid load the entire time? if not that is unacceptable for me anyways.
The Seattle Gas Works this on a very large scale. Yes they used coal but it was gasification. They started with one gasifer in the 1909 to give people coal gases for there homes. Then the gas works grew more and bigger Gasifier built and this plant was used up to 1956, I was a little 4 years old and moved from Seattle to Moses Lake. I think my grandmother apartment building hot water boiler was using this gas.
No modern automation like electronic stuff we have today, but the old school style automation was used and lots of manpower working day and night 24/7 shifts. The coal came from the town of Cle Elam Washington.
It all depends if you want to be able to walk away from it or baby sit it to keep it going. One man operation you will need it to be designed so you can walk away and listen or know how long it can be left unattended. Or you can hook a lot of automation and monitors to it to let you know. Both approaches are available depending on how much in monies you want to spend. I like operating things hands on and little automation is okay.
Wood or charcoal will work it is a matter of what you like and what you can built. Or buy from someone else. If you are not into fabrication and build it your self but want a Gasifier there are people here on DOW that will build you one. This is what I did. The 92 Dodge Dakota (from the book) that Wayne built and that Chris had modified was for sale. It needed to have the firetube and other things rebuild. I bought it for preservation of the truck. Can the gasifer run the truck engine and a Genset at the same time? Yes and I can walk away from it. Does it have some automation? Yes it has a auto mixer on it for fuel / air ratio to run the Dodge engine.
Just make sure if it shuts down no harm will come out of it.
Look, listen, feel, smell, use your God given senses if you use automation or not use any at all. You still need to know what you need to do correctly to be safe when are doing any kind of gasification.
Here’s two proofs of more than just 5 minute with raw wood versus the youtube stunt’ers:
Patrick Johnson showing off his last woodmills woodgassed electrical power plant. Diesel engine this time. Previously he generated with an 6 cylinder inline Chevy engine. He said he needed more generating kW power for his electric motors saws and equipment’s.
He mill powered suppled in two daily four hour batches.
Enginner775 after woodgas learning on his old Ford pickup; then a smaller stationary generator (Ha! And even his Harley) comiting to set up to be able to woodgas his whole farmstead primary residence house included.
He’d learned fuel time management. Only hopper loaded for his 1/2 hour trial period.
His previous experiences said he could hopper capacity full power for 5 hour blocks of time.
Watch these video and others on their channel and see they both do use a lot of instrumentation.
Even do some electro-mechanical flip-switch, or settable timer, automation.
But not I’s and O’s nerds; wanting to become “Made-in-China” electronic pixilated.
They are rural living. Always too much to do, real, living Rural.
Never enough time in the day. No patience for digital games distractions. No want to become one-off digital dependent.
So see Nick. Go big and it just becomes easy.
Want to stay small then still sell off your three RPM slaves, and invest in engine driven inverter generators. The route I’ve now taken.
They will always be producing something regardless of the woodgas system supply
Um Steve No. We are talking about small single cylinder engine systems; not multi cylinder large engines. I will agree to a certain extent on larger systems not needing automation. But a small engine stationary is a whole different story. He wants to run multiple 10 kW generators and we have already established a single gasifier is not going to cut it.
But agree he either needs to get a larger gen or get an inverter with small battery bank and combine all them into one. Use PowerMax AC / DC converters and the he can at least shut that thing off and give the ears a break for a while. I live this, I love hearing that genny run on wood gas but only for so long, silence is nice too.
You dont need to be a programmer to automate this either. A simple 10 dollar timer board and a motor you control with it is all that is needed. If you wanted to add an AFR then my code is freely available and is solid with now many years of developing it. On the flip side why even do that when none of that is even needed with charcoal.
I would look at charcoal and start with the simplefire as Matt suggested.
With charcoal, you can make all the wood more or less consistent, and since you are homesteading, you most likely have a use for the biochar. Charcoal was used before perlite as the soil spacer in potted plants. You can more easily use all the parts of the tree. I have done roots balls, to limbs, brush, punky wood, etc. I actually use the retort to fry infected biomass, that has fungus or virus in it to destroy it. The initial cost start up cost is fairly low. The original simplefire had like a cost of like <$50. Which will not work for your application, but you get a good idea of what you need. There is a whole small engine forum, and most if not all use charcoal.
Matt brought up another point about using the heat, which is a huge cost along with lighting for greenhouses.
Given how many people come to this forum, and have how many that have had initial success with charcoal using small engines. I think that is a good place to get started.
I would still recommend getting WK’s book, not because you are going to build the WK gasifier and you may if you can find a consistent source of wood refuse like sawmill slabs are awesomely consistent, but because of all the other information. Even if you do build one, I think you will also stick with charcoal for it’s other uses. It is essentially biochar. You will find uses for it. It is much more useful then the brush pile.