Troy Martz Gasifier

Anyone know anything about this design:

It looks like they use water injection to increase the fuel value a bit and cool the output gas.

Posted the same reply in general

Hi Abe, Well Troy posted some stuff here a while ago so check out his posts. There are a few unique elements but it is a charcoal updraft gasifier with steam injection. You should check out Koen’s work (link below) and gary’s posts as well (link bellow). I have not done too much with steam since I prefer exhaust re-injection Koen swears by steam but rarely has to deal with -40degree temperatures in Thailand! :slight_smile: those ones will get you started. As a first one try Gary’s simple fire units. Easy build, good results.
best regards, David Baillie
PS my tractor is similar only no steam just air humidity and exhaust recirculation…

I had no idea he was a member here, but now looking through the posts, I see his name. :slight_smile:

I am not familiar with steam injection, what are the benefits/advantages/disadvantages? I wasn’t posting this as a unit to build, more to get some feedback and discussion on the design, as it looks unique/interesting.

I’ve seen Gary’s simple fire, that’s definitely a good starter unit.

What are you guys using to make charcoal? I don’t have a lot of biomass to start with, but to go to charcoal, I’d like to find the most efficient method for conversion. I remember seeing a Hornito unit on youtube, basic retort, but used exhaust for starting/firing next batch.

EDIT: for anyone who is as dense as I am, here’s a discussion of Troy’s unit here:

Glad OSE has picked up on gasification. They do a lot of really neat design work, and I love the concept… hard to put into practice, but they’re giving it a go.

Agreed, love the concept of ose especially an all hydraulic tractor with a main driver hydraulic engine cube at its heart. I’ve thought the same path only all electric gasifier charged. For a loner tinkerer like me OSE would be like herding cats though…

Abe asked what method of making charcoal might be most efficient? In terms of not having lots of biomass, I would say a large TLUD stove using small pieces of very dry wood 1" to 3" long with a diameter of 1/4" to 1/2". Cut the wood with a chop saw, split a little bit every day with a hatchet, and lay it out to dry on old pieces of roofing. Basically, making large wooden pellets… Once you are finished cooking/boiling/frying and after the flames die out, dump all the glowing char into a large pan of water, then pour that through 1/4" mesh screen with plenty of rinse water. Lay the charcoal out on screens to dry, then break it up into little pieces. (No pieces larger than 3/4", nothing smaller than 1/8") This method is labor intensive, but it makes really good charcoal, with no brands or “half-baked” pieces. Only problem is that you have to wait for it to dry, but it does eventually dry out. I also make charcoal in 55 gallon drums, using Gary Gilmore’s methods (I have made 145 barrels of it), but a drought and burn ban have me only using the TLUD stove method until we get some rain. (I have charcoal all over the place!) Ray

Thanks, Ray! Do you know an approximate conversion efficiency you can expect with the TLUD? maybe 30% or so? What are the advantages for cutting up the wood before charring, less dust and better uniformity? Would wood chips work?

I’ve seen a lot of biochar people go towards the cone kiln design, mainly because it’s low labor. They claim it can have a decent efficiency 30-40%.

The conversion efficiency with the TLUD stove is probably closer to 20% (wood to charcoal) depending on how much of the glowing char you use to finish the cooking job. The real efficiency is due to the fact that the flames and heat from the conversion process are not wasted as when charcoal is made in a 55 gallon drum, with flames shooting 3 feet into the air. Biochar efficiency numbers are higher because the char can be made at lower temperature and does not need to be as “well done” as engine grade charcoal. (If you were to light biochar, there would probably be some orange flames.) If you throw large pieces of wood in a 55 gallon drum, and snuff it out with a tight-fitting lid and lots of dirt over the primary air holes, there will be some chunks that need to be broken/or ground up to the 3/4" size and smaller. These chunks will often have brown wood somewhere. This is wood that was not converted to charcoal, and must be separated out. In the stove fuel, the wood goes in small, gets completely converted, and there is nothing to reject. A few wood chips can be mixed in with the prepared wood pieces, but they must be bone dry. In the TLUD stove, primary air is pulled through the whole fuel chamber, so dust and powder slow it down. I use a computer fan powered by a motorcycle battery when I need more air, and sometimes at the end if I start burning charcoal, which needs more air. (Imagine a large pan of rice that just needs a few more minutes of simmering…)
I should have mentioned in my last post that the char can also be snuffed out in a can with a tight-fitting lid, instead of using the pan of water. That way, you can use the char immediately, without waiting for it to dry out. TLUD stove performance is highly dependent on wood size and shape, and if the wood is not totally dry, can turn into a smoke machine. A three foot hunk of old garden hose can be used to blow into the top of the stove if things get out of control. Normally, there is no visible smoke. Just light it and go.

yeah, I can see where being able to use that heat can really help the efficiency. So many char designs waste the heat, which seems like a real shame, since that’s the majority of the biomass energy leaving the system.

Using charcoal as fuel for starter creates quite a few advantages…
easy to control
non or little heat lost from cooling the gas down
easy to play with added steam
and most of all… easy to understand and copied…

more about the steam added… it replaces the nitrogen from the air with a usefull gas… hydrogen.
using hydrogen… it does not produce carbon dioxide in your exhaust gasses and no need for tuning your ignition system.

having raw wood as fuel… only if done in a good gasifier… if you can smell the car with the gasifier ? Wasted hydro carbons…

it takes a very good wood gasifier and a extreme skilled operator to beat the performance of a charcoal gasifier…
lets say for the fun part of gasifying… i chalenge the woodgassers :wink:

Koen, I love your designs and systems! Your sidecar charcoal machine is really great. I spent most of last night reading through that thread over and over, trying to get a handle on the design.

I notice a lot of charcoal gasifiers have the outlet in the lid and very low-temp hoses and fittings, which makes things a lot easier to put together.

I think the biggest drawback to a charcoal gasifier seems to be the process of making charcoal. What’s your method?

The drawback is less then you can imagine…
its just an replacement of processes needed to make energy from wood.
the advantage, ( imo a huge advantage ) is that you avoid the moister an non desired by products in your most important process: turning carbon into gas…

the los of energy in the first step is largely compensated with the performance of the gasifier and the no need no losses of an cooling device+ condensates. thats all done in the first step: charcoaling.

i use a retort system, with some of the ideas from members here on dow incorporated.
first stage , evaporating the moister, external heat from waste wood or similar
second stage, use the tars and gasses as fuel for the charcoaling process

yields, based on dry wood, varies between 20 and 40 % depending the actual carbon content of the wood and the temperature
the more volatiles you get rid of, the better your charcoal will perform.

charcoal does not absorb that much water if living in a moistered environment
humidity is high here with daily exceeding the 95% marker, level in the charcoal never been over 3%
( fresh burned charcoal till usedin gasifier after storage for more then 6 months, increase max 3%)

easy way to make charcoal…: use a 55 gall tank with top open and bottom vented to burn the waste wood,
inside that tank you hang a smalle 30 gall tank with a small hole in the lid to evac the steam and later the gasses.
keep it cooking untill the steam changes color yellowisch and noticable less water.
turn the small tank upside down, the vent hole now blowing in the fire
gas and tar will combust in the initial fire and generate more heat.
if the fire is kept high and the small tank stops venting gas, then your charcoal is “well done”

sorry for the short version, typing on the road with a phablet.

if you turn the small tank to early , you will experience the happenings occuring in a wood gasifier with poor design…: humidity kills the temperature :wink:

2 important rules in gasifying
1: control your moister and 2: control your glowing charcoal…

now start playing around and learn how easy charcoal is to control

for those who claim that charcoal gas is less powerful then wood gas…:
i disagree and can beat you with facts and numbers :wink:

lets put it on the crank shaft shall we ?

yeah, getting the tars and volatiles out is definitely a huge advantage, but the significant added labor and infrastructure is a disadvantage. For a small vehicle or small engine, it’s not a big deal, but could you imagine having to produce charcoal for one of Wayne’s trucks as a daily driver? That would be a huge undertaking! However, producing some charcoal for your little motorcycle with the sidecar, even driving every day, that would be reasonable.

I’m in a very dry climate, so wood and charcoal are easier to dry. We also use solar dryers to dry biomass of all types.

I’m familiar with the 2 barrel retort design. If a 30 gal barrel is filled with wood, how many kg of charcoal can you expect from that? maybe 15 or so?

Abe you have touched on what for me is the fundamental philosophical issue of these technologies; Do you use them to continue with business as usual or do you use them to build a smaller scale simpler energy world? For me I answered the question with the three “s” of smaller, smarter, slower. I would never try to push anyone down that path but when I look down the road it is the energy path most of us will have to travel. So to answer your question do you build your unit to push a large truck down the road or a compact car pulling a trailer? or a moped or an atv? You must understand the marvel of engineering that Wayne has put together but then see that it comes with a cost. The biomass refining capabilities of his units are untouchable in the mobile world but they are heavy so are best suited to trucks. Do you need a truck? Do you need a 110km/hr super car or is basic transport enough? I have gone down the tractor, lawntractor and hopefully the atv route myself. I believe that the age of paved roads and the highspeed long distance world they create is slowly falling apart. I build with that world view in the back of my head so the refining element is no longer a drawback. You are not going far from home and are building small so keeping the refining end of things at home makes sense to keep the weight down on the machine. Using the heat at home is always easier as well for things like space heating, cooking, hot water, greenhouses, kilns… as opposed to a waste product that must be dealt with on the machine itself thus carried down the road with you.
Just some musings in the middle of the day instead of working.
Best regards, David Baillie

So Koen, are you saying that if we both start with say 20lbs of raw wood, your char gasifier will produce more shaft power than a wood gasifier… after converting it to char?.. we both have to start in the same place… and raw wet wood would make the most sense… you can’t compare 20 lbs of wood with 20 lbs of char.

David, I agree, smaller simpler energy world. I’ve already done most of that, as my family lives off the grid, we produce all of the energy for the house (solar+wind), all of our own water and the majority of our own food. But we still need a vehicle to take kids to school, haul materials and so forth. I’ve trimmed down the vehicles as much as we really can right now.

Our daily commuter is a Toyota truck, '83 with a 22R engine, with a carb. We drive this a total of maybe 15 miles (max) a day. Mostly taking kids back and forth from school and running local errands. It gets about 25-30 mpg on gasoline. It would be a great vehicle for a char system, though I think they are rated around 100 hp or so. Not sure what size of system (multiple nozzles?) I would need for that.

We also have a small car that gets close to 40 mpg for longer trips, and an old Ford IDI Diesel for hauling anything. We use the big Ford maybe 4-5 times a year, max, and I’ve got it running on waste oil. The little car is still gasoline, but it uses so little, and we use it maybe once a month for city trips or to visit family. So, it would be a hard thing to convert to anything else, really.

I live on a rough road, so trucks are really needed, though an ATV could maybe replace the toyota for some trips, but certainly not all trips. The traditional method of transportation around here is horse or burro, and a lot of people still use that, but for our needs, horses don’t work for most trips. All of my neighbors use burros/donkeys for plowing and hauling things into the mountains. I don’t plow much, and I’ve used burros for that.

The other side of this is climate. I’m at 29 degrees north, and I have all the heat I could ever use just from solar. I know that doesn’t work for everyone’s climate, but in ours, there’s no reason to use biomass to heat things, and for most of the year, even cooking is easier with the sun that anything else. Our winters consist of a few days below 40F, maybe a couple of freezes a year. So, making charcoal I have a lot of extra heat and nothing to do with it. It would be great to get that heat into something that could be stored, but I’m at a loss as to how I would use it effectively.

As for electricity for the house, in my climate, it makes little sense to use biomass as a primary means of electricity production. Solar is now below $0.50 a watt, so for $500 I can have a 1kW system, which is far more than we use. I might be able to put together a similar system with wood/char gas for $500, but then there’s all the work of actually running the thing. As a backup for the solar, it makes sense, but to me, it’s too much work as a primary means of electricity.

Not really arguing with David - I think he’s right about the coming situation. This IS the charcoal section too, so I will tread lightly. But, I don’t understand this statement. “You must understand the marvel of engineering that Wayne has put together but then see that it comes with a cost. The biomass refining capabilities of his units are untouchable in the mobile world but they are heavy so are best suited to trucks. Do you need a truck?”

Need a truck? Umm yes. Especially In a world without paved roads, a return to farming, and with lots of new physical work to be done - I’d be mighty jealous of Wayne’s unstoppable 4x4. Hauling hay, feed, moving large items, pulling logs around, rescuing stuck equipment, traveling off-road. Trucks have always been “basic transport” when all else fails. Charcoal or wood, regardless - you’ll want a truck.

As to heavy, woodgas truck units are ~300 lbs. Wayne just mounted a slightly smaller wood gasifier on a mid-sized tractor with no issues; similar size to David’s tractor, I think. Bill Schiller has hooked his unit to a lawnmower. Both Terrys on here ran woodgas lawnmowers for several years. ATVs, not sure but seems likely to work… weight isn’t an issue for these. At some point, the engine is so small, vehicle so light, that charcoal has a significant weight advantage… push mowers and mopeds come to mind.

My other question - in such a world as you describe, do you want to be constantly making charcoal (smoke attracts visitors) and storing a refined valuable fuel that’s easy to steal? I’d much rather chunk up a dead tree branch and drive off. Very low demand for stolen branches… well maybe other woodgassers! :slight_smile:

Again NOT starting an argument or taking sides - I see charcoal with some serious uses for very small portable engines, using slip char from larger wood gasifiers. This seems like a natural symbiotic relationship. And again I realize I’m on the charcoal page - I just wanted to correct this notion of heavy/complex wood gasifiers. They don’t have to be either one.

Hello Abe, I didn’t realize you were in Mexico. I am also in the 29th latitude, but a bit North of you, in South Texas. (29.9N) What size and type of wood do you have available? Thorny brush such as Mesquite and Huisache have a higher percentage of Lignin than softwoods like Pine, and will yield a higher percentage of charcoal. Here is a photo of char made while cooking.
You have some really good prices on PV there. I recently added 2 KW (DC) of Monocrystalline panels, and with freight charges, I paid 87 cents/watt. I am able to charge my electric car with solar power. Have you considered running a generator on charcoal for welding or adding a charge to your off-grid storage system?

you make an excellent point but the subject was the comparing of charcoal gas with wood gas.

There is somewhere the statement that wood gas has more btu’s then charcoal gas, thats something i challenge

Hey chris, that was in no way a jab at straight wood systems. If I lived in a warmer clime like Abe does I would go straight wood as well. Charcoal is my solution to my cold wood heated world. Anything else was my midday musings. My point about the truck was me questioning aloud. In the world that was this area was served by horse and cart for local work and trains for distance. The only hotly debated point for me is smoke… There is very little to none. I make my best charcoal in my stove in a retort so no energy lost or extra smoke created. I use the barrel system only because I am not diligent about making charcoal in the winter because I don’t have to be yet…
Abe congrats on all the steps you’ve taken you are much further down the path then me and mine.
Best regards, David Baillie