Gasifier Data!

Spent a goodly part of today out at the farm playing Energy Hero where we ran our second generation gasifier for about 3 hours.  We have the design of the system to a point now that we felt ready to start tracking some temperatures and taking data on the fuel consumed per hour and such.

 The goal of our second generation gasifier is primarily to produce reliably high grade Syn-Gas, and then to facilitate the removal of heat for storage as hot water for later use as space heating, in aquaculture, or even for BioDiesel or Ethanol production.  Today we tracked surface temps at a variety of points on the unit for over an hour while measuring fuel consumption.  The details are in the linked file below, but here is the skinny: we maintained gas temps under 80 F despite stressing the cooling tower with 100F water.  Also we now know that the gasifier uses about 10.5#’s of pellets per hour with our current fan.  Not bad!  This all took place during the January meeting of my Community Supported Energy Club – we even ate hot dogs and chili cooked on syn gas burners!  My first carbon negative lunch!

Link to my pretty chart of temp readings with a descriptive blurb:

Gasifier v 2.0 Surface Temperature Chart

Unfortunately I do not have any pics of this gasifier on this computer-as soon as I get them transfered I will post them.  We also took good video last week, but it is being edited. 

Super Cool!


5 Responses

  1. This is so cool! Your earlier videos on your gasifer page and now this have got me inspired, we’ve got a community farm group in my valley, I’m totally bringing this gasifier idea up in our next meeting!

    Any chance you could draw out a sketch of the process as you’ve got all the water going in and out? As an engineer, I tend to need a process diagram to really get a feel for what’s going on, it also eliminates any misinterpretations of text descriptions of a process. I’d also love to do heat balance calcs to see what kind of heat you are generating from this system….but I assume you are already doing that, given all the data you were collecting.

    Any ways, keep up the good work on this!

  2. Thanks Craig. My hope is to get some annotated pics up soon or a streaming video with voice over or something to explain it better than my text.

    Tracking BTU’s is definitely on our list, but at this point is not high on that list. We had the water going through over 90′ of garden hose in a 45 degree greenhouse, flowing into an uninsulated, open topped 55 gallon drum, etc so we were leaking heat all over the place. Even still we took 70 gallons of water from 40 to 100 degrees in about 2 hours. In a dedicated design intended to heat water I think we can beat that by a huge margin- one goal is to get water to 140 degrees for use as radiant heating, etc.

    Gasifiers are awesome ways to convert waste carbon into useful power – we are working on sourcing a generator soon to be run on it. But we need it cheap so it may take awhile.


  3. Thanks for the photo. Can you elaborate on how the copper wire section works. Thanks

    • The copper is actually 3 coils of 3/4″ tubing that are nested each inside the other. We pump cold water into the top and through a manifold which spreads the water through the coils. The water is designed counter flow – meaning the coolest water comes into the top of the cooling tower and the syn gas flows across from bottom to top. The syngas enters at 300 degrees and exits at about 72 at the top; water enters at ambient (or cooler if using well water) and exits at 110 or so. In between, the gas crosses the precipitation point of the tar and most, but not all, of it condenses onto the coils and then drips down to the bottom of the cooling tower. The cooling tower bottom is sealed with a simple water trap – a 5 gallon bucket 75% full of water and placed as a vapor trap on the bottom. The tar condenses into this. The bucket of water also acts as a pressure release – in the event of a backfire, the force of the secondary explosion escapes out the bottom of the tower and merely sprays the room with tarry water rather than turning the gasifier into a 100# grenade. Useful safety tip there.

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