Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Woodgas Flare!

After months of work, the gasifier is actually making woodgas today...I have plugged all of the leaks - a tedious process involving soapy water, a shopvac blower, and silicone goop. But it paid off today! I duck-taped up a temporary blower on a stand:

 I filled the gasifier up with charcoal, ashes and wood. Sort of a pre-fab woodgas ecosystem.

Lit the charcoal, closed the lid and ran the blower:

Wait and wait. Check the temporary seals for leaks. Wait some more. The smoke got thicker and thicker, and I tried lighting it:


If you can't see the flame, don't feel bad. The flame is nearly invisible in the daylight. Mostly you see a lack of smoke, and some wavy hot air.  And hear a rumble of burning gas.  Eventually the flare wouldn't light, because the duct tape had melted and there was too much air leaking in. I patched it up and verified that the flare worked once more. I need a better temporary seal - duck tape supposedly melts at around 130 degrees.

I really wanted to see the invisible flame, so I waited until dusk, and fired it back up:

You can see the flame much better now. It is orange-yellow, with a blue tinge at the bottom. This indicates some tar in the gas, not a good thing. But I am running it without the restriction in place, which means the fire is not as concentrated as it should be. It will get a little better once I have things finished up.

I shut off the blower for a minute. The gas is still under internal pressure, making a slow flame:

The flare in the dark:

Here's a video I put together of the gasifier in action, with some footage in the dark. Toward the end, the flare is self sustaining:

Excited yet? I sure am. Just wait till I get an engine running on this!  It won't be long now...