Learn about Gasification

  • June 15, 2013 · 1:00 PM
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Perhaps you've seen one of those prepper TV shows where a guy was running his truck on wood, or using wood gas to power a generator. Did that seem amazingly useful to you? It did for me. That's why I spent the last year learning about biomass gasification.

In a "grid down" situation, where electricity and gasoline are virtually non-existent, the mere notion that one could gather up some woody brush, wood chips, or wood pellets, throw it into the gasifier hopper, and make an engine GO, is an extremely liberating idea.

Gasification is not a new technology. In Europe, during WWII, over 1 million vehicles were outfitted to run on wood gas because of the shortage on gasoline. Of course, those old gasifiers produced tarry, sticky gas that wasn't the best for engines... But those cars did go from point A to point B.

Don't fret. New gasifier technology virtually eliminates all tar, and produces gas that is very similar in quality to propane or natural gas.

I'll be explaining how gasification works, how to build your own gasifier, and all the safety measures needed to produce your own gas for vehicles / generators.

Topics Covered:

  • Gasification basics (how and why it works)
  • 4 stages of gasification (drying, pyrolysis, combustion, reduction)
  • Gasifier design (downdraft, updraft, imbert)
  • Fuel types (wood chips, chunks, etc.)
  • Approximate burn times & energy potential (kW)

By the end of May, I will have completed my gasifier, and will fire up a generator. We'll load test it with some energy-sucking power tools.

Update: There is a possibility that a donor truck (early 80's Chevy) may be available for a follow-up workshop, where we would demonstrate gasified transportation... Thanks Chris!

I hope to see you there.

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  • Debbie S.

    Troy, did you get my email? I want to put a small description/resume for Erik (Surveillence expert). Also, need to know a time slot for him to speak..I'm thinkng no more than 1 1/2 hours but he would know best. And you know when you want to start the gasification workshop which follows directly after the surveilance one. As soon as you have times set up, I'll add it to the Surveilence event so that people can start making plans to attend. Right now the gasification worshop for Aguanga is not listed anywhere because this one is listed in "past" meet ups so people won't know about it.

    June 24, 2013

  • Debbie S.

    Aguanga Gasification Workshop - July 13, 2013 - following the Surveillance workshop - Location: Ron and Debbie Skinners Ranch, 42480 Wilson Valley Road, Aguanga, CA 92536 http://www.meetup.com/MurrietaPreppers/events/101004072/

    June 22, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Hi all... We had a small turn-out on Saturday. It was a bit surprising to me, but I think we may have lost some people with their GPS map software (some version take you to a dead-end), and the fact that some people may have missed that a date was finally set.

    My apologies for letting that Meet-up sit for so long! (Sorry Chris).

    So here is the deal... The next time we do the gasification class at Debbie's, we will be firing up a generator and running some power tools -- A much bigger "wow" factor than just a gasifier running -- which is what we did on Saturday.

    It was still pretty cool though :)

    Does early/mid July work for those of you that didn't/couldn't make this last meet-up? Debbie, does early/mid July work for you?

    1 · June 17, 2013

    • Selph R.

      Hi Debbie... We are on for the 13th. Erik just confirmed. If possible, I'd like to do mine a little later in the afternoon to avoid heat and so the flame can be seen... is that cool? So I guess the other 1-2 classes could be before the gasification class. Let me know if this works.

      1 · June 21, 2013

    • Debbie S.

      Please set up the times for both consecutively and what works best for you, Erik and everyone attending. The fodder won't be a class...just a quick "looks-see" of the set up and can be worked in before, inbetween or after for those interested. Troy do you think your gasification meetup should be re-posted as a new meet up since this posting has been going on for about 1 year and contains stuff that has nothing to do with the July 13th meet up? Just wondering if this is one reason some people have missed it?

      June 22, 2013

  • Carey K.

    Great meet up, definitely enjoyed the presentation and also the tour of Troys place!

    June 20, 2013

  • Debbie S.

    Troy, let us know what date you want to hold the Aguanga workshop at our ranch. Also, wondering if there would be interest to also hold the Surveilance workshop on the same date. You had a friend that was an expert. Let us know. Ron is trying to reach you and lost your #.

    June 17, 2013

    • Carey K.

      Debbie, I would be very interested in attending the Surveillance workshop in conjunction with the gasification workshop. Would not mind seeing it again.

      1 · June 17, 2013

    • Debbie S.

      Great!

      June 17, 2013

  • Chris (Black D.

    Wow! I didn't even realize a date was finally chosen for this!

    June 17, 2013

    • Debbie S.

      The Temecula workshop was on Saturday, but the Aguanga one doesn't have a date yet.

      June 17, 2013

  • Stella S.

    This was Father's Day weekend...so travel takes away many folks for obvious reasons. A FUTURE CLASS WHEN IT'S COOLER...AND IN THE AFTERNOON...like in September...WOULD PROBABLY HAVE BETTER ATTENDANCE. Sorry I missed this one; sounds like an awesome production. WILL YOU HAVE A SIGN POSTED ON THE ROAD to let folks "find" the place...since it's on a dirt road and google/map is unclear as to the actual entrance??? i WOULD LOVE TO ATTEND THE NEXT ONE...couldn't make it for this one due to travel plans...AND HAVING A "DUAL AGENDA" of a Security and Surveillance lecture would be awesome!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2013

    • Selph R.

      Stella... Father's Day weekend ... good point.

      Yep. Dual agenda would be pretty darn awesome... :)

      June 17, 2013

  • Mark G.

    Bad timing for me.

    June 14, 2013

  • Margie K.

    So sorry, this conflicts with something else I am doing. Darn. Next time!

    June 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Decided to get away! Se you another time.

    June 12, 2013

  • Selph Reliantz changed the location for this Meetup

    June 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is the one I have been waiting for!

    June 10, 2013

  • Sandi H.

    I'm going to wait for the meeting that will be in Aguanga, closer to me.

    June 7, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Lela, this class will be at my property in Temecula... I'll be doing another class (same one) in Aguanga for those of you living further East. I'll set the date very soon, but you can expect late April, or early May. Thanks!

    April 11, 2013

    • Sandi H.

      I signed up for this class, but Aguanga would be closer for me. Please keep me in the loop.

      1 · June 2, 2013

  • victor

    This is cool!!!

    May 26, 2013

  • Johnnie V.

    I seen it done on tv show the "Colony" and i want to see it done in real life. I also wanting to meet other prepers with same interest.

    May 22, 2013

  • Gary

    I'll be out of town.

    May 18, 2013

  • Selph Reliantz changed the time from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

    May 17, 2013

  • Selph Reliantz changed the date and time to Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    May 17, 2013

  • Selph R.

    We just sent our 4" pipe gasifier to Scott Hunt (Engineer775 of YouTube fame) for a review. He ran back-to-back loads without problems, and was excited about the possibilities of pressure canning and small battery-charging generator applications.

    This is what we sent: http://tinypic.com/r/2nw02e/5

    1 · May 17, 2013

  • Mieke

    I'd be interested to power tools and generator

    April 28, 2013

  • Lela L.

    Very interesting group. I've always wanted to see how difficult it is to turn auto engine into bio-diesel able...anybody working on that? Would luv to attend ANZA gasification demo -Can I carpool with anyone? Live in Fallbrook

    April 11, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Spent a couple hours yesterday, firing up the little gasifier. This will be the unit for which I teach the classes. It's still a prototype, and there will be tweaks made, but all-in-all, I was happy with the results.

    http://www.offgridpro.com/2013/04/07/getting-my-fat-fingers-on-a-gasifier/

    April 7, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Anastasia is in my hands... Going to fire her up on Saturday for some test runs.

    April 4, 2013

  • LemonDrop

    I have a 1968 Dodge A108 van that I am restoring. it might be fun to see what it could do with a gasifire

    March 31, 2013

  • LemonDrop

    I finally found a link, it is 9HP. Depending on the cost I am still interested in Anastasia with a much smaller unit. I have a thought of running a small 4cy engine in an enclosed trailer with multiple 12volt auto generators and batteries. This could produce a very powerful 12 volt system which could be expanded simply by adding more generators/batteries. it would have the advantage of not having to run nonstop as it sole purpose would be to charge the batteries.

    March 30, 2013

    • LemonDrop

      That's a wild looking thing. Any idea what wind speed it will need? Have you seen the you tube videos were they make a water gen out of a washing machine?

      March 31, 2013

    • LemonDrop

      I have a creek and a pond at my Texas property and was wondering about setting up a hydraulic generator.

      March 31, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Mark, the first run was on wood chips... not pellets. Here is the only issue that Stephen encountered... I'll quote:

    "The only problem that I encountered one time was a fuel hangup at the hopper coupling. This was not a tar bridge. As soon as I tapped the hopper, the fuel dropped 6 inches. A tar bridge would have stayed in place. If this unit were connected to an engine it is unlikely that that hang up would have occurred because of the vibrations."

    I would say that the more uniform your fuel size is, the less likely a "bridge" will occur. wood chip bridging occurs when you have sticks and twigs, and odd shapes sitting inside a very narrow tube. Your typical Home Depot wood chipper is ideal for this small unit. How ever, it's not ideal for the bigger units because bridging isn't an issue... Air flow is, and small chips tend to restrict airflow.

    Anastasia produced a beautiful blue flame on the first run. There are design innovations that may re-write the rules re: gas quality

    March 29, 2013

    • Mark G.

      Hi Selph R. Your description makes perfect sense and confirms my research. I'm happy someone with the skills stepped up to make a truly compact unit that can deliver a clean gas. I'm real curious to know it's design, but I suspect I know what was done (basically) as I've followed some work on very small gasifiers. In my case, I'm interested in a small gasifier for heating applications and also for battery charging to back up a solar array. I will be driving an alternator with a 4 hp Honda engine at reduced speed to charge a modest battery at a low rate. I really believe this unit will see high demand, and I congratulate you on forming a business around it.

      March 30, 2013

    • Selph R.

      Mark, I am a gasifier enthusiast, and have a decent understanding... And i am confident that I can teach other newbies about the basics. But I am the marketing arm of this endeavor. The real genius is Stephen. I am in awe of the ideas flowing from that mind of his... Pretty damn cool to be partners with a guy like that.

      Anastasia might be a stretch for that 4hp unit... However, there is a slightly bigger unit called Victoria (see link to pic below). This might be the perfect unit for you.

      March 30, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Depending on the model, somewhere between 5-6 hp... Too much for Anastasia, and the trailer-mounted unit would be a bit overkill.

    However, there is a unit in between, we call Victoria, that would be ideally suited for that Onan and/or that Honda.

    Here is a pic:
    http://www.offgridpro.com/assets/2013/03/Victoria.jpg

    March 29, 2013

  • LemonDrop

    How many horsepower is an Onan 4KW

    March 29, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Mark, if you can fasten the gasifier to your generator, hence taking advantage of the vibrations, you should not have to attend to it. We'll do a full hopper run at the class.

    Also, this little unit should power up to a 3hp engine.

    March 29, 2013

  • Mark G.

    I'm very interested in Anastasia. The smaller the wood gasifier, the more difficult it becomes to make a clean gas. If the unit can power a very small engine efficiently at 2 hp, and do so unattended for several hours, then that would be ideal. I hope I can attend. If not, then make sure to post a link to any web sites where the unit is described. In particular, I'm interested to see how it performs with small wood chips.

    March 29, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Anastasia has been shipped! I should have it on Wed. or Thurs. of next week.

    Quick update:

    - We successfully ran her on wood pellets, which is unheard of in the wood gas community. Gasification produces steam, and when you shut down, that steam turns pellets into mush. However, we pulled it off :)

    - We brought 2 gallons to a rolling boil in a short period of time. One hopper full of pellets or wood chips could cook an entire spaghetti dinner for four.

    - We ran the negative pressure on an aquarium pump! Only 50W needed. So a 50W solar panel, or a battery would give you more cooking power than an electric range (2-3 times more efficient)

    - Almost zero ash was produced... Again, unheard of in gasification.

    - We realized that this little unit is a cross-over product... Campers, hikers, 3rd-world daily living, etc.

    Classes will begin in mid-late April. You can stay current by visiting our blog. http://www.offgridpro.com (in progress)

    We're excited.

    1 · March 29, 2013

  • LemonDrop

    I have a very small 2KW Honda gen that I use as my bug out gen. I also have a 4KW Onan in a small enclosed trailer like the ones used at construction sites to house air compressors, gens, etc. I would like a small portable one for the Honda but i would also like to build a Gasifier into the Onan trailer. I think that it would be very neat. The big question is what you are going to charge for them. I am going to work on my retreat in Texas in June. I am not sure if you would have one ready that I could use there but it would be an exhalent test for it.

    March 24, 2013

  • Selph R.

    LemonDrop,

    That is excellent news! We have a handful of people requesting units. It's a fantastic back-up unit to the more traditional fuels... Plus, it's peace of mind if things go a a little crazy.

    As soon as I get the unit, I'll set the date for the class (finally). Introduce yourself to me at the class, and we can have a side discussion.

    A couple of notes:

    You'll need to know ahead of time what kind of vehicle/generator you want to be able to run (think in terms of horse power or kW power).

    The trailer-mounted unit (Victoria) can power up to 10kW generator, or a small 4-cylinder car. We have a monster coming out in the Fall (Elizabeth) that will power a tractor, a V-8, or a large generator 30 kW... This one will be a beast, and targeted for small farms, or preppers with big needs. Anastasia, our tiny unit, is great for very small generators or cooking... Kind of a bug-out unit really...

    2 · March 23, 2013

  • LemonDrop

    We are extremely interested in Gasification. We would like to go to a class and if you are going to produce gasifers for sale we would be buyers.

    March 22, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Hi all,

    Quick update: In the past 3 months, we formed a business, we're working on attaining product liability insurance, and all the other stuff that goes with getting off the ground...

    The trailer-mounted gasifier is still being improved and fine-tuned. We need it perfect before it gets shipped out to CA ($1,300 for shipping). As you can imagine, with that shipping price, I'd rather have Stephen fine-tune it in Maine.

    The good news is that we've developed a much smaller unit, suitable for running 2-3 hp engines. This is equivalent to a lawnmower or a small generator (1kW). It could also be used to fry you up some eggs and bacon :)

    The cost of this unit will run about $500 vs $5,000. We call it Anastasia. This will be shipped tomorrow, and I'll use this smaller unit to teach the gasification classes... Same principles, just smaller.

    Here she is:
    http://tinypic.com/r/2zprwd0/6

    Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buzTI_mv0V8

    -Selph

    March 22, 2013

    • Amirah

      Very cool! Congratulations on your new business.

      March 22, 2013

  • Candace

    Hi All! I am a new member, taking a month's break from my survival farm, to get re-energized here in Murrieta, Calif. Would like to attend meetups with you all while here. Can sometimes borrow a car or if someone wants to pick me up, that's good too. I am a vegetarian, but know that when the time comes - I will probably have to eat fish again. Hey 14 Earthquakes on Calif border this morning! Write me privately if you might be a candidate for my survival retreat in the Midwest!.....I am carrying on, despite the sudden death of my prepper hubby 3 yrs ago.

    1 · February 13, 2013

    • Susan M.

      Hi Candice, welcome. Earthquakes are not a big deal, just roll with them. Speaking of fish, I will be scheduling a meet-up to share aquaponics in the near future. Hope you can make it.

      1 · February 13, 2013

  • Candace

    My dates in Feb are rather open.

    February 13, 2013

  • Selph R.

    Hi all... We had a small setback in December on our cyclone filtration system. We had to make modifications. Looks like the unit will ship in late January, and the class will be in late February.

    Here is a video update: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-5H_noFzu8&feature=g-crec-u&noredirect=1

    January 4, 2013

    • Susan M.

      Sorry you are having problems. Looking forward to class.

      January 4, 2013

    • Selph R.

      Thanks Susan... Since we are planning on selling this unit, we're more in the fine-tuning and bullet-proofing stage. Since my rig is the prototype, there have been R&D delays.

      January 4, 2013

  • Margie K.

    Definitely keep me posted as to when!

    December 7, 2012

  • Roger B.

    Roger, Myself and my son will hopefully be attening with two guess providing the upcoming date work out. This is high on our priority list.

    November 18, 2012

  • Deb K.

    Hopefully will be on weekend or late evenings. My husband drives to fort Irwin and back daily :/ thanks!

    November 13, 2012

  • Selph R.

    Ben, the date and location are yet to be determined. The gasifier is already being tested in Maine by the engineer. Results look great, but we're making tweaks to get maximum performance before I have it shipped. Once shipped (2-3 weeks or so), I'll run my own tests here, and set a date.

    This has been a long process, with many delays, but in the end, I want to make sure this unit is "Best-in-Class." Additionally, since this unit is a prototype for a commercial unit, more testing and tweaking is required.

    In the beginning, I was merely going to fabricate my own unit locally, but I had an opportunity to team up with Stephen Abbadessa (the best in the business). This of course changed things, and added many months... Well worth it to me.

    Best guess: Early December workshop... Apologies for the delay on this.

    Thanks!

    November 1, 2012

  • Selph R.

    Sneak peek 3: http://i50.tinypic.com/oh3ajd.jpg

    We're testing the unit before we sand blast and powder coat.

    October 15, 2012

  • Selph R.

    Testing began today... We're testing the heat signatures on all stages, the gas quality, and the blower... Generator is expected to be fired up on Friday... Stay tuned.

    October 9, 2012

  • Selph R.

    September 27, 2012

  • A former member

    A former member changed the location for this Meetup

    August 30, 2012

  • LemonDrop

    If you need a location we have a 3 acre commercial property in Montclair that you can use for a demonstration. We are very interested in building a gasifier and we have a 4kw Onan generator that we are building into a trailer. Please let us know.

    August 24, 2012

    • LemonDrop

      When is the next schedule workshop?
      Did you get your gasifier running?

      August 24, 2012

    • Peggy W.

      We have 22 acres you can use

      August 25, 2012

  • Selph R.

    Hi All... I left a long update in the discussions section, because there is a character limit for comments here... Please take a look when you have a chance. Lots of exciting stuff happening.

    August 20, 2012

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