Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Imbert Gasifier footage from WWII: Transcription

Awhile back, I reposted this video from Bioenergyken, with footage of WWII Imbert gasifiers. They spoke in Swedish. You can roughly guess what they are saying, but not for sure. So.......

I found a transcription! From Fred Ivar in Norway, via the GEK Wiki :

[NOTE: I edited and cleaned this up a bit.]

I am Norwegian and I understand Swedish pretty well because of the similarities in the language.
I made a very rough translation. It is not very accurate because my English is not good enough. It seem like the clip is some kind of a informational goverment news report or advertisement from the TV.
Anyway, here it is:
(First something I did not get)
The torpedos with the warlike look is a paracytilen gas tube which is driving this... ( video cut)
A gengas generator is challenged by... ( a little blurry but I think he is talking about coal)
This is a little presentation of generators for (coal?) and wood. Both fuels have their pros and cons, but there is no doubt that wood has great potential to become more popular.
It is cleaner and cheaper, and everything from heavy trucks to motorcycles is now driven on gengas.
Never before has the logger's work been appreciated than it is now, or the Swedish woods as valuable. Who would believe only a few years ago it was possible to drive a car on some wood chunks.
Now it is a fact that a great quantity of our timber is transformed to engine fuel. You chop it into nice small pieces and then it is ready to be used. Here is a bus driver stirring his generator. It is nice and easy and he does not get dirty. This is some of the pros of gengas.
After some details and pictures from the construction department where the generators are developed on paper, we go to down the casting area. And here the theory start to become reality.
We have been given the oportunity to have a look behind the scenes to observe how an Imbert generator is made.In this machine the sheet metal is rolled (...and he cracks a joke about how it is "rolling" sort of...)
The Swede has always been known both as an inventor and mechanic and this type of industry put both his workmanship and mind to great tests. But having passed the test really well is proven by the traffic not halting, but rather the opposite.

And in the gengas industry no wheel stands still. No arms or hands are resting. The most modern equipment is brought to use and the best craftsmen are working under high pressure.
For the layman observing ... (and something I did not understand. Some kind of joke I think)
The welding is a very important detail when it comes to gengas generators. One could say one is working with... (and some other joke I did not understand. Sorry... :-/ )
Yes, and this is how the production proceeds. One after another. And soon also a layman can see something starting to look like a generator. Here is the inner part placed in its housing. Nice and easy.
The lid is put on and holes are drilled. And this is how a generator looks like inside.

The production is going on at an amazing speed. The demand is very high. Whole rows of generators stand ready for delivery. And in the end the paint is quickly putting color on it all. And at last one is ready to mount the generator to the car.
For many car owners it is a golden moment when the car can be taken out from the garage and start rolling again.
The bus takes us to and from our work. In the morning we get our newspaper and milk as usual. The milk bottling plant has more than 500 trucks with Imbert generators. We have had a look in the busy morning hour.
The bottles shine on the car and to the right you can see the bottle that is powering it all; the gengas generator.
All too long the beloved car has been resting because of gasoline shortage. The time waiting to get going has been long and hard. But the ones who at last has got a generator on the car (...and something I did not understand, -again) and it does not take long before the wagon is goning on a long trip.
Here comes the happy family ...(blah, blah).. ...and out in the beautiful white landscape. But a car does not drive longer than the fuel supply. And how is the status quo in the matter now? He has obviously stopped to have a look in the container.
The fact is easily observed by lifting the lid. And there is not much left. Oh, well he will have to use the reserve he has in the bag. Quickly it is put into the pan. Nice and easy it goes and no one get dirty. Just keep the pan boiling and drive on.
And swiftly it goes forward along the road as it swirls like a serpent trough the woods, edged by white snow walls.
What is going on now? Is the wood already burned out? No, he simply want to have a look at the map to see where the closest station is. (And then something about a 1 km down the road there is a "torp"?)
Everything is settled, and here is just one of the advantages of a wood generator. It is very easy to handle the fuel problem. One kilometer is made swifly and happily and the idyllic "torp" is lying just where it is supposed to. Elegantly he turnes into the farm, and introduces himself to the farmer - who for the first time in his life is functioning like a gas station. Sorry, wood-station I guess it is supposed to be called.
(Then I can't catch everyting but it is something like "Just roll up your sleeves and bring out the axe. Top Swedes are we everyone") Just split the wood into bricks. Bring the fine wood first into the bag and then in the pan. The car run swiftly down the road and the farmer is left standing to think quietly about new inventions and ideas...

Thanks to Fred Ivar in Norway!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Arduino class

I have been taking a basic electronics class lately. In particular, I have been introduced to a microcontroller known as Arduino. This is really a whole platform, complete with programming environment and easy-to-use interface. This is a dream setup for prototyping in electronics; get an Arduino board, construct a physical circuit, and write some code. Bing! It's uploaded and running. Pictured is a part of a project, the Gasifier computer. I am working out a program for controlling a biomass gasifier; it will read input from an O2 sensor and make adjustments to the fuel/air mixture valve, as well as controlling the spark advance and giving a digital readout of several temperature and pressure sensors. All that from a chip that costs $4 by itself. The Arduino development board pictured cost about $30, and the software is free.

I have bumped into Arduino once before, as the basis for the MPGuino I assembled for the Geo Metro.

Arduino is based on the C language, all the operators work the same way. Arduino gives you a few built in libraries, for functions like digitalWrite( ) or Serial.read.  I haven't done any programming before, so this has been a fun challenge. It's also an exercise in precise formatting; a missing bracket or semicolon in the wrong place and the code refuses to compile, or worse it may compile fine, but won't run as expected. I may post the code for the Gasifier computer once I get it right.

I mentioned an electronics class. Walt Baldwin has been gracious enough to teach an Arduino class at the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe on Tuesdays. He has been showing us the rudiments of programming, drawing on his background in engineering and software design. Several students and professors from KSU have been attending the class. As you may recall from my previous post, Wayne Keith has been up to KSU on several occasions. As it turns out, some of my fellow students were involved in that event, and are very interested in gasification technology. One sent me a boatload of photos of Wayne's truck. Huh! So it's a small world after all. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

28,000 lbs of wood...

I just took delivery of 14 tons of sawmill chunks from the local mill. We burn this wood for heat all winter. They sell the wood, current price is $125 for a load, 7 tons each. So that 28,000lbs of wood cost a mere $250 dollars. The wood is still fresh, I think around 40% moisture content - so that 14 tons is really 10 tons of 15% MC wood with 4 tons of water.

That 10 tons could replace 1000 gallons of gasoline, which works out to a cost of $0.25/gal.

It's wood-gas time!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fire Salsa

Here is another salsa recipe. "Fire" salsa is not particularly hot, it was based on a recipe called "Fire Roasted Tomato Chipolte Salsa", and the name stuck. I heavily modified it to suit our tastes. This is fast becoming one of our favorites, so I thought I would share it, "Pioneer Woman" style with lush oversize pictures. I should have taken way more, I know - first attempt.

First off, slice up a whole onion. Go for thinner slices that will cook faster.

Put "some" oil in a skillet on medium heat; the oil will go into the salsa so don't use too much. I put enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Add the onion:

Mouth-watering.  OK, while that is going get the other ingredients into the blender: diced tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt. I should add that if you have fresh cloves of garlic, they should go into the skillet with the onion. Otherwise, USE LESS in the blender - raw garlic packs a punch.

[no picture of the blender, sorry....]

Also add 4 chipoltes in adobo sauce. I got this authentic looking specimen from a Mexican grocery for $2.50:

Then I saw them at the Wal-Mart for $1.79......maybe not so authentic. Oh well, they taste good.

Add the chiles, some of the sauce, and put the leftovers into a jar in the fridge. Then clean out the can:

You can see I am using the onions cooking in the skillet. This gives the onions and the oil a good flavor. Be careful, the onions are hot. That little can heats up fast.

Once the onions are starting to look clear, they are done. Don't overcook them, it takes the bite out of the salsa. Add them to the blender, oil and all:

Now blend until smooth. Looks yummy to me:

Oh, you wanted it in a bowl? Try this:

Here's the whole recipe:

Fire salsa

1 onion, sliced
olive oil
32oz diced tomatoes
4 cloves roasted garlic (much less if raw)
½ cup cilantro
4 chipoltes in adobo
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 TBL salt

Saute onion in skillet until tender. Add ingredients to blender, puree. Makes about 1 qt.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Vacuum

Our old Eureka vacuum cleaner finally died. The brushes got looser, slower, buzzed loudly, and wouldn't pick up dirt. So we went vacuum cleaner shopping.

Over the years, many of our houses have had extensive carpeting. We have always had a vacuum cleaner, sometimes more than one. Our house in Bristol actually had a whole-house vacuum, with hose outlets in the wall - it never worked, and obviously hadn't worked for the folks before us judging by the dirt we got out of the carpet with a real vacuum cleaner.

Our current house is actually all hardwood flooring, but we still have large area rugs to vacuum . Up until now, our vacuums have used bags. Those days are gone, apparently. Every vacuum we looked at was bagless "cyclone", "helix", etc. We got a Bissell with very similar specs to our old one. Both are 12 amps, 15" wide path, HEPA air filter. Here they are side by side:



You can see that they are nearly identical in size. Some things I noticed:
  • Detaching hose is inline with the brushes; not a separate pathway.
  • The tools are simple and attach firmly.
  • Assembly involved *one* screw. A real 'snap'.
  • It is not whisper-quiet, but that is not a big deal.
  • I suspect canister capacity is lower than bagging vacuums.
  • Bagless vacs are a cinch to empty, so capacity doesn't matter.
  • Don't try to wash it, it isn't important. Makes a muddy mess.
The old collection system:


And the new:


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Building the Gasifier

You're probably going read a lot of posts about this wood gasifier that I am building. This is a major project for me, and I will keep posting updates right here.

Today I began the actual cutting. I have spent plenty of time researching gasification, and settled on a customized design:

This is the hearth. Air comes through the pipes and into the reaction area. This part will get the hottest. All the gases will pass through the upside down cone (inverted V), ensuring that the tars are cracked at high temperatures. The top side of the inverted V will rapidly fill with ash, creating a very insulative layer. Ash will also form a reduction cone from the narrow part up, determined by the ash's angle of repose against the walls and the throat. Anyway, enough theory for now.  Here is the outer tank ready to be cut - an old 16" water heater.

This was a gas fired heater, meaning a flue pipe runs top to bottom, welded in at each end. This makes cutting the tank in half tricky. The pipe has to be freed, eventually at each end.

To make the cone, I need a piece of heavy steel cut to this pattern:

Traced and cut out from the remaining piece:

The perspective makes it look funny, but this is a very curly piece of metal. Not the right curl for my cone, though. I flattened it out:

Now I cut the other tank, in much the same manner. This one is the inner tank with a large opening in the bottom for the base of the cone:

One goes inside the other. There is a 3/4 inch gap all around for some air pipes, and for the gas to exit.
That's all for today. Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Metro Archives

I have copied over all the old posts I made on my Metro project thread at the Geo Metro Forum. I didn't have this blog then. The posts run from March until December, as I slowly restored this little car to its proper high mileage potential. Everything from an engine rebuild to interior carpeting to my hand-built MPGuino instant gas mileage computer. Look through the 2010 archive on the right sidebar to see all the "new" posts. Or click the tag Metro.

To date I have about $1200 in parts invested in a $200 car. The last tankful returned 58.9 MPG. Not bad for a cheapskate-mobile, eh?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DoggyBook update

I have been making progress on converting the Handbook of Biomass Engine Systems. I have actually been doing it off-site and updating the site periodically, since I came across some really good free tools for doing the job locally. One is a program called Calibre. It can convert any ebook format into any other, and has an excellent book organizer/library system. I would rank it as the Itunes of ebooks. The other tool is a program called Sigil. This is a full up ebook editor. The program is basic but easy to use. Sigil uses the Epub format, which seems to be the most common type. It takes a little poking around to figure out what an ebook is actually made of. The bottom line surprised me a little. Most ebooks are actually based on HTML, the same as a webpage. The specific type is called XHTML, and an ebook is just a collection of these pages, usually one for each chapter, plus some labeling/metadata, a stylesheet, and whatever images you included. All zipped up in a containing folder. So the nitty-gritty of editing can be a lot like editing basic HTML (no fancy webpage stuff, it's mostly text); Sigil offers WYSIWYG as well as straight code editing. It is easy to work with. Unfortunately, trial-and-error can be slow, because the file must be converted to MOBI for the Kindle (done with Calibre), then the old file must be manually deleted and the new file inserted. Kindle is not really designed to have "updated" versions of books; the assumption is that once a book is loaded you don't need to change it.

Another issue I have run into is the e-conversion of tables. The Kindle's screen being very small, anything that doesn't "wrap" well has to either shrink, making it hard to read, or be reformatted somehow. For now I have just inserted them as images, meaning they shrink to fit the page. At least the information is there, and will be distributed with the book. As for reformatting all the tables, the brilliant idea lightbulb has yet to go off. I may think of something yet.

Since ebooks are based around HTML, it seems like there should be a good way do make a simple website into an ebook fairly quickly. I am thinking of the MetroWiki, of course. And if DoggyBook could have a dynamic link that allowed me to grab the current content for compiling and ebook, I would go back to online editing.

Rambling thoughts.....