Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by DRMousseau » Nov 09, 2016 1:31 am

A lot of various issues here, and I again feel, that many are overly complicated matters that ignore a great deal of the much more important "relative" factors, if any. Heck,.. ya can't even use "apples and oranges" to relate woodgas/biogas and DYI electric. The relative relationship here is more like rocks and lightning!

My initial choice of a DYI powered bicycle, was in a low cost basic IC engine using relatively cheap gasoline. Aside from the low initial costs of base equipment,... about $.02 a mile to get me from here to there on a daily basis. All things being "close" to the same, the high initial costs of a DYI e-bike reduced that daily cost to about half or much less depending on a lot of other various factors. Given the same "lifetime" of all equipment used,.... the overall cost of getting from here to there on a daily basis was nearly the same. I personally chose electric purely on the basis of the lifetime efforts of maintenance and other time consuming efforts. As an ageing life long mechanic of various fields with a strong basis of engineering and physics,... my time and efforts have become increasingly valuable to me even if not fully utilized. A very personal choice based on my very personal requirements. Retirement is rather nice, and I much enjoy my available time. My decision may have been quite different had it been necessary for me to consider other requirements. Social and cultural changes, and even changes of environmental awareness over my lifetime were influencing in my decision, but not really contributing factors in my choice. And I greatly appreciate the technologies of today that even allowed an opportunity of choice!!!

Solar, wind and other "bio" technologies are such today that I can ALSO choose to give somewhat greater economical consideration now, to the source of energy I use. Although I still find a great deal of disappointment in the energy factors of producing such technologies for my use. I've found DIY fuel production and even recycled "bio" sources, jus isn't practical on a home scale. Even renewable resources suffer a huge inefficient use on the DYI home front that also makes them somewhat impracticable for me. And my personal efforts have basically ignored the environmental impacts in these ventures!!!

I currently live alone year around in a "rolling upstairs apartment" (a 34' motorhome) and will be "winterizing" with passive solar heating AND a greater utilization of "waste" heat to survive the harsh sub-freezing Great Lakes winter this year (I typically winter in FL!). Solar AND wind together, seem the most practical energy sources for my current "daily needs" and lifestyle,... although it's still not very realistic to sail a "land yacht"!!! MOST all of my current daily electric use is "bled" from the grid via an extension cord set. A small amount is from the genny occasionally, via fossil fuels until a solar/wind system is installed. I don't travel much in my home, so my annual fuel consumption is far less than the average home-owner/commuter. The big block 460 is jus a whopping flat 6mpg on the road!!!!

Believe it or not, over all economy is probably the biggest factor in my choices, jus as it is with most others. And for me, "an aging hippie" a DYI e-bike beat out a motorcycle, motor-bike, and auxiliary automobile, jus as my RV beat out a conventional home, mobile home, or renting.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Dauntless » Nov 09, 2016 2:28 am

YES! I WILL ask about the emissions. He's talking about doing it right now, no waiting for any apocalypse. Although they are still using the post apocalyptic methods right now. So much talk about the absolute greenest until something like woodgas comes up, sudden people will look the other way.

This type of thing is just a glamour project. People saying 'Ain't I kewl?' just for having it. And they'll never concern themselves with the real problems it creates.
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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by markz » Nov 16, 2016 12:24 am

Looks like some people that have this woodgas setup are also doing a hybrid, where they spray a bit of gasoline into the woodfuel/air mixture to gain extra power up hills and passing. The whole setup is quite large and I have been thinking about this the last few days.

I plan on buying a running old solid front axle with a big block kind of truck. I was set on 1992-1996 (9th Gen) Ford F150, 250 or 350, SRW, 4x4, ext cab, gasoline - because they match up nicely with the wheelbase of the newer Fords 11th ('04-'08), 12th ('09-'14) and 13th ('15+) generation trucks, but I realized these are not true solid fronts. In the end I would just swap out the body to put the newer Ford body on an old truck, which is easier for me to do then the other way around I would think. Which means ripping out everything from the new Ford and putting in the carburated stuff in the new truck.

Since those 9th gen Fords do not have a solid front, I still might do them, but am less inclined to do an axle swap. So a Dana 44 or Dana 60 front and rear truck from the 80's or early 90's may be the best. Dodge, Chev/GM and Ford it doesnt matter to me. But I do want to wheel it offroad. I havent looked much into what is the most desirable Dana's to get, but I want them stock on whatever I buy. Then place the whole woodgas setup on the trailer and make it look commercial like in some way, perhaps a spray foam insulation contractor or whatever job requires a trailer, contruction company, you get my drift. Gives the illusion of a work trailer when in reality its a woodgas maker. Then have a heavy duty flexible hose for the transition from trailer to truck.

I think all in it would cost me about $1500cdn for the old truck, another $1000 to $1500cdn for the new Ford truck with a bad engine. The new stuff is all computerized and its not worth the hassle or money, but what I do want is the comfort and looks of a new truck from the 11th and 12th gen, I doubt I'd be able to find much in the 13th gen just because they are so new.

I have been eyeballing and looking at what makes the trucks different, body wise. And its really nothing that sticks out. Headlights and tail lights are the main ones that catch your eye right away. On the Newest gen the tailgate has a body styling under the logo. And from 11 to 12 I believe there is a body styling line a few inches under the railing of the bed.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by liveforphysics » Nov 16, 2016 12:35 am

If a frame/body swapping build is your idea of an easy step in a project car, it makes perfect sense now why you're into wood gas. :-)

Perhaps the next evolution is to get a flat bed truck and trailer and hire a stoker to feed fuel as you drive.
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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by markz » Nov 16, 2016 2:00 am

I am into the idea of woodgas. But the amount of wood needed for a mile vs a 8MPG carbureted truck which is 3.4km/L @ $0.95cdn/L in a 25km day which in total costs $8cdn, but I'd guess its closer to $10cdn/day in gas, which is $300/month, where as wood is very cheap out where I wheel. Some even give it away for free.
The main factor I need to pin down is woodgas milage otherwise its all wasted efforts.

I would still do the body swap if I didn't go woodgas. I like the fact the older trucks are so easy to work on, the parts are dirt cheap and available anywhere. Going with a new truck, heck even a mirror can cost upwards of $1000, I'd hate to see the price for a sensor. Its not worth it for the money saved. I remember when my old Dodge van broke down and I had to buy a new used computer for it, I spent a whopping $20 for it.

I wont be doing a frame swap, just putting the newer truck body on an old truck, that is 10000x easier then trying to fit the old motor, trans, transfercase into the new truck, then dealing with the axles and the cost of a custom drive shaft. Its way easier to chop up and weld sheet metal. Thats why all along I have been trying to find trucks with a very close wheel bases. From the looks of my research though, I will be going deep into the 1970's to find a running rig with Dana axles, and not many, if any will be extended cab, most either regular cab or crew cab. Its quite popular for some wheelers to shorten the wheel base, but when they do that they do up the rest of the truck, meaning they want big money for their efforts. I have expanded my searches to neighboring provinces.

If I went electric, I'd do up a Ford Flex AWD if the weight was right. I sat in one of those a few years back and man o man was it spacious. For those folks in the 6 foot club, I am 6'5" and the Flex was like a Toyota Tundra, I had more then a fist width length of space between the top of my head and the roof, and the same from shoulder to door jam, with the seat all the way down and all the way back. If the Ford Flex was too heavy, I'd look into a Suzuki Samurai, or a 4 door Geo Tracker or something.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Punx0r » Nov 16, 2016 3:54 am

markz wrote:I am into the idea of woodgas. But the amount of wood needed for a mile vs a 8MPG carbureted truck which is 3.4km/L @ $0.95cdn/L in a 25km day which in total costs $8cdn, but I'd guess its closer to $10cdn/day in gas, which is $300/month
I think this is where the problem lays: 8MPG?! I assume that's an example of a poor design that's also broken and running very badly?

You could just buy a diesel vehicle that does several times that.

Also, what does propane cost in Canada? Gas conversions to petrol vehicles are easy, cost-effective and cleaner running.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Harold in CR » Nov 16, 2016 7:33 am

The main factor I need to pin down is woodgas milage otherwise its all wasted efforts


As stated in other woodgas threads, GOOGLE "Wayne Keith".
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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Drunkskunk » Nov 22, 2016 11:25 am

markz wrote: But the amount of wood needed for a mile vs a 8MPG carbureted truck
8MPG
8MPG
8MPG
:shock:



What kind of truck are you running?
My 66 Ford long bed with a 390 FE block and no overdrive gets 17mpg. My Dodge 4x4 can get 23mpg with a 400hp Hemi.
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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Punx0r » Nov 22, 2016 11:32 am

Reminds me of the tale of the old lady who's new car inexplicably got terrible fuel economy and the garage couldn't find the cause, until someone noticed she was using the pull-out choke handle as a convenient place to hang her handbag :)

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by markz » Nov 22, 2016 6:58 pm

Missed the 1 to go in front of the 8 to make 18MPG. But a 7 or 8 km/L is the average gas gussling truck or suv I have seen. Which translates to 18mpg or so. I dont really understand why Canada goes km per 100L. When I fill up I like to know the distance I go can on 10L or 20L.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Punx0r » Nov 23, 2016 3:34 am

It's L/100km i.e. number of litres to travel 100km.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by markz » Nov 26, 2016 3:19 pm

yeah thats a dumb way of putting it but thats typical federal government bullshit

been watching some more vids on biogas and the guy states 20 lbs of wood equates to a gallon of gasoline so 18 miles, or close to a pound per mile.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Punx0r » Nov 27, 2016 7:55 am

Quick google for energy density of wood vs. gasoline:

air-dried firewood = 7100 BTU per lb (typical)
gasoline = 19,350 BTU per lb

So, yes, you need about 3 times as much wood. Assuming you can extract that energy as efficiently as running gasoline through an ICE (which seems to be a very big assumption).

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Dauntless » Jan 05, 2017 1:15 pm

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by spinningmagnets » Feb 26, 2017 5:53 pm

A few years back, I read up on wood gas, and learned just enough to feel it was more trouble than it was worth for powering a car/truck. It has 1/4th the power of the original engine, (must use a V8 to get 2-cylinder performance. The reactor is bulky and cumbersome. Engines accelerate and slow down, the reactor produces gas at a fairly steady rate, etc...)

I am now a fan for using woodgas to power a piston electrical generator.

All the most popular designs used what I now know is a downdraft, gravity feed reactor that uses wood pellets of a specific size. I can make a machine to produce wood pellets from sawdust, but there were three different things that turned me off of woodgas.

In the advanced efficient wood gas reactors, the wood pellets flow down a steel tube onto a grate. There is a flame maintained at the grate, and due to air being pulled down, the flame is pulled down. Just above that flame is a thin layer of hot pellets that are not experiencing combustion yet, and they produce woodgas...if everything is "just right" After off gassing for a little bit, the ashes below get shook through the grate into a catchment area.

Then the off gassed pellets reach down to the combustion layer next to the grate, they get turned to ash in the process of making the heat.

I never knew why the combustion and the Pyrolysis (off gassing due to heat) had to be done in the same place. If you burn wood with air/oxygen...you get heat and ash. Any gasses that are accidentally produced make funny shapes and colors in the campfire, and are obviously burned up in the flame.

Charcoal is different...the primitive way to make charcoal is to make a small bonfire, and once all of the wood is fully engaged, you bury the pile to choke off oxygen, while holding in the heat. Why did ancients make charcoal? It burns with less smoke than wood, plus for smelting or forging, it burns hotter than wood.

A couple days later, they dig through the pile to separate the ash from the charcoal bits. For simple woodgas production, we need to separate the heat (wood fire, or concentrated solar), from a metal box of wood bits that cannot get any oxygen, and the interior temperature is controlled at a best level.

A dirty syn-gas comes out, and we have to separate the char dust, tar, syn-kerosene, and also the gasses. The gas is mostly H2, which is what we want to run a generator, but there is also carbon monoxide (CO, which I was surprised to read is flammable), and also some methane. You can burn them all together, or separate them further. The purer the H2, the more invisible the flame becomes. If the flame is blue, it also has methane, and orange means you are making some CO.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by spinningmagnets » Feb 26, 2017 5:54 pm

Now for the generator. Gasoline engines can easily be converted to propane or methane (natural gas to US readers), and don't hesitate to buy a used unit that has a gummed-up carburetor. (If you let a tank of gasoline sit in a tank or carb for a few years, in a place that is freezing in the winter, it will turn to a gel). As long as the throttle plate works, you can feed a gas into the carb throat.

On the gas-feed tube, put a ball valve inline with a valve that can be throttled. Crack open the gas valve, and try to start the gen motor, it should very easy with H2. Then adjust the feed valve to get the rpm's up.

Too rich and it will slow down, too lean and it will run faster, and also start eroding the spark plug tip. Once you find the fastest-RPM feed rate that doesn't erode the spark plug tip?...shut the ball valve, and leave the throttle valve at that setting.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Dauntless » Feb 26, 2017 6:21 pm

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by dustNbone » Feb 26, 2017 7:52 pm

Here you can buy pellets for fueling stoves/furnaces for about $50 (Cdn) a tonne, suitable for an automatic auger feeding type system. I think their energy content averages about 5 MWh per tonne. That actually works out cheaper than grid power here (6-8 cents per KWh) but of course you're not going to get 100% of that energy back.

We're also home to a very large lumber industry so there's lots of suitable raw material for pellet production.

There's also the cost of moving tons of stuff around from point of production to point of use.

But I bet you could make a pretty sweet woodgas generator using those as fuel.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by spinningmagnets » Feb 26, 2017 9:31 pm

Here's a video with the simplest wood gas generator made from very simple materials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzv6fIDsNwM

Here's a chacoal briquette roll press, Two steel drums spin together (with dimples on their faces), fed from the top, briquettes fall onto a conveyor belt, and loose fibers and bits are sifted away to go back to the top of the roll press. By me using a similar DIY machine, I could take free sawdust from a lumber mill and make wood-pellets of a consistent size and shape by adding only a little steam.
Charcoal1.png

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by markz » Feb 27, 2017 12:04 am

spinningmagnets wrote: I am now a fan for using woodgas to power a piston electrical generator.
Yes its looking like a promising solution to expensive utility bills that keep going up every year. Solar is too expensive upfront so I think in a metropolitan city there has got to be a few "frugal" homeowners using a woodgas generator.

Even one of those 30kw vehicle motors could be used on a cost effective basis. Used forklift motors would be an ideal setup. Cold Canadian winters and high utility bills = money wasted.

I will do some youtubing on what others are doing.

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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by Hillhater » Feb 27, 2017 4:25 pm

spinningmagnets wrote:........
Here's a chacoal briquette roll press, Two steel drums spin together (with dimples on their faces), fed from the top, briquettes fall onto a conveyor belt, and loose fibers and bits are sifted away to go back to the top of the roll press. By me using a similar DIY machine, I could take free sawdust from a lumber mill and make wood-pellets of a consistent size and shape by adding only a little steam......]
You might want to try estimating what power might be needed to drive that "DIY roller press".
FYI.. I have seen a small portable roller press used for squeezing the juice from sugar cane (2" dia rollers, 4"wide), on a juice stall,....and that was dragging down a 3kW generator on a single 1/12" cane stalk !...very slow also .
I guess you could just burn wood to make steam ....and have it steam driven :mrgreen:
They claim 550W, but it is a Chinese site !
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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by markz » Feb 27, 2017 6:35 pm

Steam engines have massive amounts of torque. Maybe hook one up to a 1/2T pickup truck, lol that would be funny.


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Re: Woodgas/Biogas vs DIY Electric

Post by wineboyrider » Dec 03, 2017 10:52 pm

Honestly, I am just trying to revive this post, but I saw a cheap $300 dollar pellet grill at Walmart today.... :D
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