Woodgasifiers Builders Bible

Try watching his video on YouTube.
Then read the comments.
MattR and I have put up very detailed comments there.

It seems whenever I bring up the name of Ben Peterson here on the DOW the Haters come out pitchforks and torches to burn witches.
It is just a DYI INTENDED; all-weld-up woodgasifer. With a book on how to get it fabbed up. How to operate it. How to integrate it onto gasoline/propane electrical generators primarily.
This intense Hate has been a real puzzler to me.
Hate of BenP.? For maturing, evolving, and changing?
Or hate of Steve Unruh? Because I will not change my wooden headed ways?
Steve Unruh


I’ve never had a negative opinion of Ben, the fact he’s willing to sell his heavily detailed plans and guide on a mass website like Amazon, and willing to update the design for better performance instead of saying “it’s fine the way it is, deal with it!”. Wayne has made many improvements on his design and it’s documented in Premium, I count that as published work since it’s included with the book.

Ben could have just rested on his laurels and sold Gen 1 manufacturing rights to someone that would just scalp consumers.

I don’t blame Ben trying to open more avenues of income like his PayPal Q&A, which is really more or less a way to keep track of questions and also eliminate lowest common denominators pestering his email inbox.

Ben also will be the first to say it wasn’t just his project and had a lot of help, endorsing Steve Unruh for example.


Some see us as we just have something to sell and financial gain is all we care about I thinks. Instead of seeing us simply as fellow developers. Ive been here long enough, those here I think or at least hopefully see me that way. What some may not see, is all the hours, hard work and finances that went into what we develop and all for a niche market with wild swings. lol For every success there many many failures getting there. We fulfill a market that had no one to fill it before. What’s cool is we all offer something just a little different.


I like your style Steve you tell it like you see it. To me it is just the same old story of I love Dodges and I do not like Fords type of thinking. Everyone has their favorite. Wait one minute here both companies produce great automobiles and that is a fact.
Ben’s book makes a very nice gasifier if you follow the book’s plans and it works. And this is a fact. I am looking forward to seeing more in the vehicles DOW. Lots of these units are generating power for off grid and for emergency use.
The WK Gasifier was designed for vehicles primarely but it can be used for generation too. Both the Imbert and it’s improvements and WK Gasifier are proven to work well.
What about the DARKSIDE yup charcoal gasifiers all different types have a place too. They work well also.


I am writing this just so Steve’s narrative doesn’t seem like some kind of one sided old man’s rant.
Long before the DOW site. Long before the Yahoo Woodgas group. I belonged to a group called Biodiesel Infopop.cc. At that site, I met Maria Alovert (Girl Mark). She designed the Appleseed biodiesel processor. She taught a lot of people how to make fuel. She rented space in an old shipyard in the SF Bay area. Her land lord was this semi abusive self promoter named Jim Mason. She didn’t have many good things to say about him. Jim went on to form a company selling the GEK. If you didn’t have contact with Doug Williams, Tom Reed, Dutch John, Greg Manning or the inhabitants of the Yahoo Woodgas group, then you had little choice but to deal with Jim Mason and his GEK.
Jim had an agenda. He was always promoting his GEK, and channeling the narrative to fit his desired outcome. The atmosphere surrounding him appeared congenial, but it was all pretense and stage craft. His tech sucked. I could see the agenda and the big show all the way from over here.
Ben Peterson went down to visit All power Labs and reviewed the GEK. Jim ranted that Ben was on a spying mission, and was stealing his design. Ben did a review of the GEK, and laid out all it’s flaws. He did a good job. He pointed out a lot of the problems that I had been asking Jim about, but never had answered. Jim would never take the time to acknowledge criticism. He hated Ben’s public flogging of his product.
I have always given great credit to Ben Peterson for having the bravery to standup and call out Jim Mason, while everyone else was kissing Jim’s ring.
So Steve, it’s not you. I have always liked and respected Ben. I always had loved those beautiful stainless gas producers…it was like the Europeans had set up shop here in the US.
Steve, I don’t get a “hater” feeling here. The people on this site follow good etiquette. If Mr. Wayne or Mr. Chris are promoting something, its pretty subtle. I have never seen evidence of someone leaving with their hair on fire. Anyhow, this is a good place to be.


I hope that my mention of the ULTIMATE wood gasifier on the cover of Ben’s books wasn’t taken as a criticism of him. I don’t know enough about wood gas systems to criticize or even offer a opinion of anyone’s work. I just like seeing people exploring options and not getting locked into a box. Ben went into my hall of fame when he was TIG’ing using the force in one video. I do feel that some people I have seen on line and even in older posts here owe Gary Gilmore an acknowledgement when they build something that is obviously based on his early designs. I also think that Matt deserves a lot of credit for keeping us informed of his different design R and D. That is rare for a person running a business like his.


Yes BruceJ. you speak the truth there about real events that did happen.
And this created the first wave of Ben Peterson haters.
I was one of those early GEKkers. I’d commissioned buying a GEK II weld-up parts kit; BUT only if it could be supplied with all of the flat flanged and tube cuts in either 304 or 316 stainless. I fed in ideas to improve/fix the GEK I and II faults.
It took them over a year to fulfill that order. In the mean time I sought out and met two regional fellow with GEK’s in carbon steel welded up and assembled. Asked to visit and help them learn to operate them. A real up-from-from-just-reading-about-it, to on-hands self-training about gasifier char-beds, weak blowers, too wet of wood fuels, etc.

And then one Yahoo forum correspondent regional to me had to go out of country and wanted me to take his place at a Ben Peterson BBQ gasifier show at a county park.
Me. The known GEKker. Ben and his wife, and their families were very accommodating to us all, regardless.
And me, helping to on-spot sort out, always, live-presentation difficulties led to him asking me to come up and work with him. As his electrician, motors and engine man. I was O.K. But turns out I was better as a trouble shooting Operator. Later, on his own Social Network; I daily contributed and light moderated.

I did finally get my GEK II kit in SS. They were already onto improved GEKIII’s. My lasting GEK influence was forcing upped into the 21 Century with their mostly SS units then. Woodgas: as has well proven historically, and now again, will from the insides out kill carbon steels in hundreds, to a low thousands of hours with it’s upper system produced strong acids. And the lower system side produced a strong base Ph bias. No. SS was never for thermal erosions “better”. In place forming, ash slope do the very best affordably for that.
And then it was I (and a few others) pulling BenP. up from carbon steel into 21st century, SS too.
Two-three reasons there for me to collect my own following of Haters.
Me. The SHTF; true rural living, kinnda’ guy. Irritant to numbering/calculating geeks; Eco’s, and Futurists.

Later there were other attracted and asked to help out in BenP’s two different Victory GasWorks shops.
Eco-biased John-John. Was the modern electronics guy, machinist. And all around optimistic cheerful fellow. Counter balancing my short-hair, dry, graveyard humors.
A couple of three different guys who did welding and assembling. Roustabout work at presentations.
Later on a warehouse working fellow was supping the majority of the cut woods chunks from shipping pallets. Ben and I doing the raw woods fuels working up.
And a been quiet now; DOW member Chris Seymour. Historian. Promoter. Charcoal-tier. And BIG bio-mass systems advocate. He’d done his own small systems trialing works previously.
Later set up his own company for BIG systems. 50kW, 100kW and I think even 200kW all SS systems. For big stationary Cat? gaseous engines.

None of us ever stole or passed on VictoryGas works proprietary. That was income for BenP and his family. We others all had day-jobs.
We moved on; and it was understood if we build; it had to be out of our own designs.

Within months of Ben’s later published out book; intended for propane and air tanks carbon steel DIY building and using . . . a DOW member here found and posted up here a direct copy-cat book system being made up and sold on the internet out of India.

And now offgrid48 with his self-promoted V-3 named changes made to BenP’s book system. To be serial manufactured. Appropriating the book’s copywriting protections.
One other element BenP might disclose (or not) to this story that was the final straw that finally put him over the edge with this guy.
Steve unruh


Yes i have many of them haynes car repair books/ though not as detailed as vehicle specific shop manuals/ i have made many repairs using those electrical skimatics/ECT mechanicle repairs, USING HAYNES manuals. :star_struck:

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Mr Steve, I see no haters for Ben. Just like Mr Wayne he is an icon in this world. Encouraging DIY and help in operation. Very, very nice book he sells.


Mentioned above was a hot filter Ben added later, I bought his books, but never saw that afterwards. Any one have that?


Hi Al F.
You mean his example of a conversion shown to a hot filter shown on the 3rd edition books page 216?

You’d never see this change once done.
It is a vertically pleated center drop in-insert into the standard filter can. Using as a couple of the Sweed guys use: welding blanketing as the material.

Book page quote,
“Clean with a shop vac or just a light brushing to remove fine carbon dust. Produce the cleanest gas and service in just minutes”

“Some new users have problems using this tight of a filter, so I recommend getting some hours on the gasifier before switching to this. When you are actually putting solid hours on an engine, then make the switch. Some reconfiguration of the gas flow will be necessary, but pretty easy.” Ben Peterson.

Does this answer your question?


I’m building one of Ben Peterson gasifiers and for the hot filter do you run the gas through hot filter before the cooling tubes? And also why are people having trouble with it?


You run into problems with a hot filter when the gas is too moist, you want to preheat the system before the filter to get it good and hot.

When the gas isn’t hot enough the moisture makes the soot and carbon clod up and reduce flow.


So you would heat the system then drop in the filter?


Have a tapping point for your starter blower right before the filter, start up right there until you’re at a good operating temperature. Then close that tapping point off and run the blower where it normally would be on a Peterson.

You could have a Tee off point with a valve to close it off.


There are a lot of “Depends” when you would hot filter the Ben’s Book system JoshL.

A Hot filter must be kept gasses hot above condensation point or you will wet and then flow clog the filter media.
But the gas must be pre-cooled enough to not heat damage the blanketing material used.

Here is a for’instance. Say you were Ben’s book system built just as in the book woodgas fueling a 4 cylinder industrial Ford or GM water cooled electrical generator. These are 8-12kW electrical.
Summer temperatures that single pass zig-zag tube cooler might not cool the gas enough before the filter can when the generator system is under a high AC or water well pumping loading. You cook embrittle the filter fibers. Tears allowing unfiltered gas flow.
Same system in cool, cold winter might over cool the produced gas then sending wet gas into the filter can making soot mud clogging your filter blanket. Poor gas flow. Poor power.

A small only 500cc electrical gen-set would probably always run gas too cooled wetting never letting the hot filter to work.
A 240-300 cid six cylinder big Onan gen-set might always run too gas hot.

Others using hot filters do set up for all gas flaring bypassing until gas temps are high enough. Mistakes happen.
Others will close couple the Hot filter directly out of the gasifier lower. Then at high system loadings and a grate activation while under this loading can pass thru red hot hot char embers. These can and have lit-off the soot cakes on the hot filter surfaces.
Hot filters and mistakes can happen. You must be an aware better Operator for the better filtered gas.

On a Ben’s book system for hot filtering I’d add on a thermal sensor switch system from a vehicle with the electric auto type fans able to force cool the gas cooler tubes.
If I lived in a cold, cold climate I’d roller shade type have a pull-up cooler cover. Had these from the factory on all of my early Volvo cars. This could be temperature sensor automated too.
The basic book system is set up for a don’t care can get wet filtering. Ha! Ha! maintain your wife’s bagless Shark vacuum and study their three stage filtering for effectiveness ideas.

Temperature and moisture resistant sheep’s wool layers first. Thick open cell foam next. Final pleated paper filter.
Joni and Tone picture here on the DOW doing this on their all-in-one big can/barrel filter systems successfully. And they both do a basic cooler pass thru first, also.

Steve Unruh


Thanks for the input! I plan on running 300 4 cylinder engine on it i don’t have a power head yet for it but I’m hoping for 15 kw


So it seems this of grid48 guy and ben are really having it out this Kind of stuff really sucks I hope they come up with some sort of agreement. Anyways do you sell the automation kits on a website? I would really like something like that system on mine when i finish putting it together and run some tests first


Hi Josh,

For your automation, just get these cycle timers for your grate and hopper shaker. You dont want to know what I would charge for a full blown automation package. This system cost as much or more than some of our gasifier systems.

Use this controller to set up timed intervals to agitate your grate and hopper. If you are running a stationary system then this will be predictable and somewhat linear.

If you want the AFR system there is DIY thread hear on the forum. If I were to build this system alone you are looking at $1200 bucks just to give you an idea. Guys I hire to wire and build this stuff are expensive; it takes a couple days just to build and wire one of these boxes. These guys get $25 to $30 bucks an hour plus the $400 in parts and material’s cost and then our margin.


Ok thanks I appreciate it and keep up the good work!!