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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Alt. Power-> Wood Gasification?

    ive been talking to this startup co. and im very seriously considering a system that produces 13kw of power for my farm/ranch. the quote i got was around $1 a watt installed plus the generator (found a new 13kw subie w/ transfer switch for $3100)

    guy said he averages 2.5 to 3 lbs of wood per kw. if it costs me 15k to set up it should be paid for in a year selling power back and even less if i buy in half in dec other half in jan and double the renewable tax credits. and this is burning about half the wood my stove would take in a typical winter.

    my only concern is the safety. anyone know anything about these things? any chemist pyros out there who could key me in on the possible dangers of a combustible gas produced by a 1200*f fire fueling a combustion engine?

    any opinions on the technology?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    I've always been intrigued by wood gasification after I saw a vid from NZ on one of the outlying islands where they collected scraps of wood left over after the brits deforested the island to power there glass furnace for blowing glass.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by steepconcrete View Post

    any chemist pyros out there who could key me in on the possible dangers of a combustible gas produced by a 1200*f fire fueling a combustion engine?

    any opinions on the technology?


    (Q1) Are you asking will the thing blow up? No, you don't have to worry about causing a crater the size of your house or cratering the entire neighborhood. At least for a while. See next.

    (Q2) I am sure there are better models out there. That one pictured on Ning looks a little thin-metalled and does not look like a lifer; I give it 7 years tops, and would think a lot about replacement after that. You need to think Howitzer-looks-like for a lifetime version, tho costs more.

    Who knows? I disclaim any expertise. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Redwood City
    Don't know much myself but these guys probably have answers:

    Might be worth it to attend one of their workshops.
    "Great barbecue makes you want to slap your granny up the side of her head." - Southern Saying

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Wood gasification is neat stuff. I've built a few MIDGE stoves (Modified Inverted Downdraft Gasifier Experiment -- PDF plans here) which are nifty. I also work in the energy field, on projects including biomass-fired turbine/generators. (For example, I'm working on a project to install a 450 kW generator at a sawmill.)

    $1 per watt installed capacity is pretty good, assuming it performs to that level. What's your energy demand profile? Will you use all 13 kW locally? Does your state have a feed-in tariff that would let you sell excess power to the grid, or at least net against your power purchases? Do you plan to run 8760 hours/year?

    In addition to the tax incentives you mentioned, have you explored other state-level incentives for the deployment of alternative energy?

    What's your wood like? US DOE has published figures of 6,400 Btu/lb of wood (air dry, 20% moisture). Under a theoretical ideal conversion, 3413 Btu equals 1 kWh. If your vendor uses 2.5-3 lbs/kWh, that suggests a system efficiency of 17-21%. You'll see from DOE that these figures are in the expected range for biomass plants, though on the low side because your plant will be small.

    Since you have a farm/ranch, do you have livestock? Have you looked at manure to energy systems?

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