Gasifier Stove: IGNITION!

This past weekend the crew met again to assemble the disparate parts of our gasifier and do a trail run. Not only did no one blow up, but we succeeded in producing and burning hydrogen! If a bunch of chumps (ok we had 2 engineers)from WI can do this, there is hope for us in Energy Decline yet.

Look Ma: we turned wood chips into Hydrogen for $75 and 3 weekends!

Next steps will be adding something to actually use the hydrogen-either to power a tractor, or as a co-gen unit to produce heat/power for a structure. Aquaponics greenhouse anyone?



5 Responses

  1. That was very cool. I am amazed at your efforts. Do the plans include a way to store the end product for future use, or would it have to be burned directly from the contraption?

    This would obviously have to be used outdoors due to the carbon monoxide… You mention using it to heat a greenhouse. Wouldn’t a woodchip fired boiler do the same? Or is the idea that energy and heat could be produced by this method.

    Sorry if I seem a little slow. The day after Christmas and 1 1/2 cups of coffee just isn’t cutting it!

  2. Thanks Steve.

    Gasifiers are designed to produce hydrogen with a very clean burning process. The gas could in theory be stored, but as you would need to pressurize it, etc every operation I have seen has just burned it directly in an internal combustion engine.

    The Co-Gen works as such (remember I am the guy tasked with handing tools to the engineers in this project, not the guy writing the technical diagrams): the hydrogen gas coming out of the pyrolysis needs to be cooled to increase its density after gasification, and this “waste” heat can be very useful for heating structures. The hydrogen is then plumbed into an engine that runs a generator, or a burner running a turbine, whatever to generate electricity. Emissions are very claims to be very low, and gasification will work on any dry carbon source-I want to try cow patties if they let me. Of course I am serious. The system is closed, but final emissions must be plumbed out of structures as the CO would be deadly otherwise-same as a car.

    LOTS more info available at where we got the plans.

    If you are interested in more detail squirt me an email and I can put in touch with the Brains of this project.

  3. Nice demo – would you be interested in trying to burn municipal dewatered bio-solids (A.K.A. sludge)? I have an endless supply thanks to the good people of our community. Its actually considered an exceptional quality bio-solid as outlined by the EPA and DNR and can be used for home gardening, although I have never released any for that purpose. Let me know if you want to try burning some of my sludge.


  4. Hey Pete,

    Not sure if the bio solids from sludge will work as the material needs to be extraordinarily dry or else the water vapor compromises the hydrogen output. That said, I am not the engineer of the group, so I will pass it on to Greg and Mike.


  5. Thanks Rob –

    FYI – The bio-solids are dried to over 40% solids when they come out of the press, but some of the older material that has been stored for over a year is better than 90% solids. I could remove the remaining moisture in the the bio-solids by using my lab oven (1 cubic foot at a time). Let me know what Greg and Mike think.

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