Doug Williams, Fluidyne, New Zealand, August 13, 2007
Hi Gasification Colleagues,
This posting is about operating the charcoal gasifier, and how to start the process. It will be important to remember, that even charcoal gasifiers are fuel specific, and as a rule of thumb, the smaller the gasifier, the smaller the fuel (within reason). The charcoal should be sieved, and I suggest that nothing under 20mm be used until you establish the optimum size for the type of wood the charcoal is made from.
Your gasifier should have a single air nozzle with a screw cap for shut-down on the outside end, a gas outlet, and a lid with a heat proof seal, which is a gasifier in the most basic format. If you decide to make one with a grate, then you will also have to include a gas clean-out port in the bottom.
While charcoal gasifiers are as simple as desperation determines, the choices as to how they are designed is very much a factor of applied knowledge, using the materials that might be available. In the main, we will only be using components made of steel, and using basic welding equipment for assembly.
The members of this mailing list actively discuss the production of charcoal from large pieces of wood. This problem is important for those countries of Asia and Africa, where there is a lot of
wood, a lot of working hands and few environment regulations. I think, it is better to offer a solution now than to wait for an ideal solution some time in the future.
I offer a variant of such a furnace.
This design is not protected by the patent so anybody can use it, where regulations permit.
Bench tests with a four-cylinder stationary engine were made with gasoline
and producer gas from charcoal as the fuels. A comparison of their performance
revf'aled that maximum power from producer gas from charcoal is about 55 per-
cent of gasoline power, and that about 11.4 pounds of charcoal is equivalent to
1 gallon of gasoline. When operating an engine on producer gas the spark should
be advanced beyond the setting for maximum power with gasoline.