Prepare Mag: August 2018 - page 17

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where you are looking for the quickest, cheapest route to
create gas and something educational but not something
that is robust, durable or capable of being used as a
dependable appliance.
Take some time in this
consideration, as you will not be able to make changes or
modify this choice later. An example of why this decision is
important is the type of wood gas that will be produced by
your gasifier. High grade or fuel grade wood gas requires
extremely high temperatures and multi-stage filtering to
ensure there are no tars or other contaminants in the gas
that would hurt or destroy an engine. Heating grade gas is
made at much lower temperatures and contains tars and
contaminants that are less important when burning the gas
in a heating application. High grade syngas can be used in
either an engine or heating application, while heating
grade gas can only be used for heating and not used in an
engine. Reviewing the many YouTube videos will show
many examples of ‘science project’ wood gas generators,
many of which will show them running an engine. What
these videos don’t show is that the heating grade wood gas
generators by these cheap builds likely destroyed the
engine after a short period of time. If you want a reliable,
production level unit that provides consistent, high quality
wood gas, then you need to steer clear of these science
project builds. In the long run it will save you time,
frustration and money.
Second Decision: What type of gasifier and what
design?
There are several different types of Wood Gas generator
designs: updraft, downdraft, or Fluidized bed. This article
focuses on the downdraft design. A critical reference and
suggested starting point for anyone interested in wood
gasification or a wood gas generator build is a 1989 FEMA
document called “Construction of a simplified Wood Gas
Generator” by H. Lafontaine.
A new reprint of this
document is available online in book form or you can
download a free PDF version from the following link:
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This is considered to be one of the most widely referenced
documents on a simple but functional wood gas generator
design that many of the today’s commercial and available
plans are based. It is also a great general reference for
wood gasification in general. You can choose to build
directly from the plans provided in this document, create
your own design, or choose one of many free or cost based
plans available on the market.
Many of the pictures, diagrams and build references
provided in this article are referenced from a proven
design by industry leader, Ben Peterson who is the author
of the “Wood Gasifier Builder’s Bible”, a very detailed,
step-by-step book detailing the build process. You can find
Ben’s book and other build references online at the
following link:
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Some design considerations you should consider when
choosing a build design:
Materials:
Does the design use high quality materials of
sufficient strength to achieve and withstand extremely high
temperatures (2,000° F)?
Cooling/ Condensate Collection:
Does the system design
include an integrated system for quickly cooling the gas
and collecting condensate?
Multi-Stage Filtering:
Does the design include a multi-stage
filtering system to ensure tars and other contaminants are
effectively removed from the gas?
Blower System:
Does the system accommodate both a
‘suction’ and ‘push’ blower configuration and include a
blower of sufficient capacity to effectively move air and gas
through the system?
Grate Automation:
Does the system include grate
automation that will provide automatic movement to the
grate to ensure ash does not build up or clog the gas flow?
Upgradeability:
Does the system design allow for upgrades
to accommodate different applications, such as increasing
or decreasing the amount of gas generated, adding of a
‘hopper’ for additional fuel capacity and runtimes?
Portability:
Is the design to be an integrated unit that can
be utilized on a mobile platform and moved easily as
needed?
Tools Needed
Regardless of what type of design you choose, there are
some standard tools that will be required for your build:
180 Amp+ Welder (MIG, TIG or Stick)
Plasma Cutter (Optional)
Metal Band saw
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