Tom Collins' Gasifier

Besides my honey-do list, I did get a chance to pull my blowers off. The moisture and soot had caked them up. Soaked them for a while yesterday, but it didn’t remove the “cake”. It did however loosen something up enough so the blade will turn easily now. I’m letting it dry out over night and hope to get time to put some electricity to them.
Don, a little paranoia is a good thing. I look at the hand sketch of you ride and then the finished product and it is obvious you had a plan. I’m just a “get’r done” type guy. I wanted a ride and one thing didn’t work so I just jumped to the next option, which as you stated, is’t real good.
I’m sure I had my valves all in the proper positions. While trying to get it started, I had “hopper” vacuum. The problem the coals didn’t increase in intensity. The went out. The hopper sidewalls never got warm. I’ve got to look at it more. After the failure driving it down the road, I drove it into the garage and walked away-- 'till another dayTomC

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Hi Tom, My drive last weekend took a while to warm the gasifier up. Lots of obvious steam. I have a tcouple in the outlet of the cyclone thanks to David S. I wait for it to get to at least 68 degrees C (154F). When I’m driving it is usually around 160 C(320F) … YES, the char absorbs moisture and it takes a while to cook it out. 233C is 452F so duct tape starts to smoke and catch fire. I pull over and let things cool and usually add more wood if needed or at least poke it down. Where is your temp gauge or Tcouple ?? It’s been over a year since I was at your place … Mike

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Tom, This 2.2 liter is less forgiving than our old V8 (350) and V6 (4.3) so I have to be real careful. I have a stainless screen in the connector at the rear of the truck thanks to Chuck C in Tallahassee. I wipe the stuff off of it just to check to see if it is soot or tar … I had some tar a few weeks ago … Boy did that make me nervous !!! … Soot just washes off with water … Tar you have to wipe off and use goop etc … I have to get to work… Invoices today … It’s already 11:22 … Regards to all, MIke

Carl; I seem to recall you “built” a muffler/heat exchanger. With your Thermo couples, do you have any idea how it is working? I pulled my muffler and preheater last night because the muffler is blown out. I didn’t have any tangible info on whether it helped or not. I am thinking of deleting the muffler/preheater.
I have been trying to figure out what gear ratio I have in my differential. I have a 4+1 transmission and I never get into OD and only occasionally go to 4th gear. I had one wheel locked and it took 3 1/4 turns of the drive shaft to revolve the tire TWO times (TWO times because when you lock up one tire it doubles the speed of the other tire) So that would be a 3.25 rear end.(they don’t make that ratio so it has to be either a 3.08 or 3.23. Either way it is such a low number that I have to slip the clutch to get it moving. On the internet it said my truck with the V6 and that transmission probably had a 2.73 which is what I thought I had. Then again the net said on the parts label in the glove box it would tell me: either a GT-, or GU-. I couldn’t find either on my label; there was a GLl - . Could that have been the GU? Steve U?
Don Mannes, I am fascinated by your Tracker. I didn’t see many pictures of your build or information. Everything you did is like the WK but still a lot of innovation. Do you have more info we could see/hear?TomC.

will add about 200F to the ambient air temp. I’m using it now, but plan on adding a “T” at the gasifier to switch it out and use ambient air at the pull of a cable. I hope to see if the temp at the nozzles changes with and without, and get a feel for how much change. I suspect the change will be more noticeable in the winter.

I would suspect it would make start ups much faster as well as help in the winter.

Hi All
Two different authoritative references; 1974 The Pegusuas Unit and Vesa Mikkonen in his book state categorically with the limited heat energy available in the wood gasifier unit its self you will run 40% short of the heat energy needed to reach complete conversion CO2 <=> CO equilibrium. Fancy talk aside they both mean, yes you can make the CO2 but you will be 40% short of the heat energy to convert it ALL to CO motor fuel gas.

Pegasas suggests useing an outside supplementary heat input.
And Drive On Wood or Power On Wood you do have this extra heat energy available . . .
That’d be that IC engine shedding off ~2/3rds it’s energy as NOT to shaft converted but as “waste heats”. Only a waste if you do not use it!

Doesn’t matter where you would put this extra system heat enrgy in:
+++ engine heat energy to just-in-time fuelwood pre-drying/dehumidifying for a 10% INCREASE in mixed woodgas strength along with a 10% DECREASE in fuelwood consumption;
++ engine heat energy into the primary air as in the WK and others;

  • engine heat energy into the upper hearth core as in the gen IV GEKs;
    You WILL performance gain.

This is stationary systems information that you vehicle guys mostly except for WayneK insist on cold shouldering. “too hard”, “too far away”
One of about 5 reasons I see that he blows away all others in real world usable woodgas engine performances.

“The Pegusuas Unit” retitled as “Drive On wood” is an available download here on the DOW now.
Read. Gasify some wood. Re-read. Gain some more Operators time/experiences. Then re-read again with new eyes. It addresses “the Heat Budget” in wood gasification excellent. Learn. Use. Gain use performance and use flexibility.

“Take care of the Heats, and the chemicals will take care of themselves” s.u.

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Hi Carl, Do you know what winter is ??? We haven’t frosted yet here but maybe Tom has already ??? He is 200 miles north of me. Most everything is dying off and the leaves are getting in my way now … With my weak legs I have to be careful not to slip on all the walnuts laying around in their covers yet. They are just ball bearings to me right now even though they run the truck just fine and are good to eat … Wish I could make it to ARK-KANSAS but too busy right now … Hopefully sealed up all the holes in the new cyclone today … I think it is almost ready to power a vehicle … I have about 15 other things to do first like installing a new furnace this weekend … M

Hi Steve U, We passed in the harbor … M BTW, Most of my exhaust systems are shot so there is nothing to recover from them … salt salt salt … Even my good truck has a crack right in the middle of the cat converter … I don’t hear any noise on woodgas but it gets loud on gasoline … M

Yep MikeL ships passing in the fog each blowing our horns.

I’ve worked on lots of full sized Vans with both front and rear heaters and air-conditioners units.
School buses, transportation buses, boats, big heavy equpimnet the same, same as piping hot engine “coolant” and refrigerant high pressure liquids a LONG ways.
Why blow away all of that heat energy out the front end radiator, eh? Could be piping it back, and on trailer bin condioning the next woodfuel load. Ag tractors do have nice off the shelf high flow self sealing liquid line couplers.
And IF I was a vehicle man I would be AC system refrigerating/drying, then exhaust reheating that supplied to the engine woodgas. All this could be done up front.
These same references say that water vapor in the gas stream displaces out BOTH secondary air and woodgas out of the engine cylinders. LESS air/oxygen and fuel HC’s into the cylinder will always mean less power.
IISc/Mukunda highline stationary systems used a duel stage gas dehumidifying refrigerant “cleaning” and densifying downstream. To get cleaner; and a more enregy rich produced gas mix.

Steve Unruh

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Yes I “remember” winter in N central Indiana. It’s all relative, still green here, but we’re putting fire wood in the shed for what’s coming.

It is getting cold up here and I’m getting less time outside, so I end up sitting around thinking---- that is dangerous. Any way #1. What is meant when we say “nitrogen” is an “inert gas”. I’ve talked with “tire people” and they say putting nitrogen in the tire instead of air, it won’t expand when heated like air does. BS! I have never heard of any exception to the “gas laws”. I thought it was Nitrogen didn’t react with other chemical. But yet I know, we do have “nitrous oxide” gas. And that brings up something else; nitrous oxide is very explosive when added to alcohol for auto racing. Can we produce nitrous oxide in our wood gas systems and pipe it to the engine with other gases such a carbon monoxide? Or at some point we produce methane, could that be maid into nitromethane? I tried looking up in Wikipedia but didn’t learn much.
#2. I am tearing down an old barn. and it did not have hand hewed beams — they just used cedar posts. These did not have many nails in them and they were extremely dry from standing in a covered airy barn. So I cut them into firewood for the fire place. We used some last night and I got very little flame off from them when they burned. After the initial flame it seemed they just wanted to glow like burning charcoal. Is it possible that they lost all of the pyrolosis gases in the drying process.I had expected them to burn like toilet paper??? I did burn several logs. It wasn’t like wet wood that smokes from water/steam and burns slow. I have glass doors on the fireplace and almost had to leave them open to get any heat into the room. The heat-a-lator tubes seemed to far from the fire to get warm.TomC

Nitrogen filled tires will expand less - but only because it’s dry. Moisture free air would do the same, but bottled nitrogen sounds cool and they can charge a premium. Nitrogen/dry air is also good to reduce corrosion on steel rims.

Nitrous oxide is completely different from nitrogen, chemically a whole different beast, and nitromethane yet another. I don’t think either can be made with a gasifier.

Thank you Chris. I designed tires for 20 years and this became a fad after I left. The “dry” business does make a little since, But; once the tire temperature gets to 212 or so allowing for an increase in pressure the moisture will boil and expand significantly thus raising the pressure. With the rise in pressure the tire will flex less and the temperature which is caused by flexing will stabilize at a lower temperature. If the air is dry you wouldn’t have the bump in pressure so the temp would go up until until the temp takes the dry pressure up to stability.
As for the nitrogen. I have to look that up some more. I believe you are absolutely right about “we can not do it with gasification”. But nitrogen is a basic element and oxygen is a basic element, so NO2 should always equal NO2. If it was possible to make it in gasification or if it was one of the gasses created in gasification, some of the really smart people that have come before us would have mentioned it.
How is the chunkier coming-- you have been kind of quiet.TomC

Hi Tom,

You nailed it with the moisture boiling. If compressors all had air dryers there would be no point in nitrogen… but how do you sell dry air?

Nitrogen is usually N2, two atoms of nitrogen. Nitrous Oxide is a single N with two Os… Nitrous alone doesn’t burn at all, it’s just an oxidizer. Only useful to lower the AFR and permit more liquid fuel to be burned, thus making more power. Think of nitrous as liquid oxygen. That’s why we can’t make it… no oxygen. If somehow you did get some, it would just burn up in the gas stream.

Chunker is still on the drawing board, I’ve been in the shop cleaning and organizing, trying to get things usable again - welding starts soon. Will post an update.

Hi Tom,

Just a quick caution about determining ratio by counting turns of driveshaft and wheels. My Dodge plow truck was once involved in an accident that broke its rear axle. I had a parts Dodge Ramcharger that could serve as a donor for a replacement. I carefully counted turns of driveshafts and wheels and determined that the old, broken axle and the one in the parts car had the same ratio and did the swap. They did not have the same ratio, it turns out, which made for some real interesting behavior in 4WD. I eventually was able to correct by using different size tires on the front and back. So I conclude that counting turns of driveshaft and wheels is not precise enough to accurately determine axle gear ratio. Probably best go to a shop that does that kind of work and ask them what ratio you have in the truck.

Thanks for the caution Rick. I have a list of the possible gear ratios for my year truck and some of the ratios are very close; such as a 3.08 and 3.23. Just that little difference would really raise havoc in a 4WD. I was hoping the Steve U or some other knowledgeable mechanic would be able to point me to the numbers on the parts list in the glove box of the truck, as to how to decipher the ratio.
How is your WK Caddy coming?TomC

Any dealership parts guy should be able to tell you everything on that truck with the vin. number. That’s what I did with my Ford f-350. Or if your front axle still has a tag should tell you what rear matches it. good luck, Al

Hey Tom,

RPO’s on GM vehicles are made up of 3 characters… typically starting with F, G or H…

here is a link to a page that you may be able to look up yours on.

Tom C

Might be easier to pull the cover and check. That way you can make sure they have not been swapped before.

Did you ever get the thermocouples worked out?

Nice job on the truck. Good to see some different systems.