More on Gasifiers, What say you?

Father’s day is coming! Here’s word of another get together in Berserkly..but first!

For those interested in Gasifiers, I hope you’ll add any suppliers, web addresses or contact numbers for other suppliers who have supplied output data you were impressed with.  Just reply to this post.

I’d love to share a link or information regarding the supplier of a proven gasifier WHERE proof of a given electrical load for a given period of time can be measured  with respected instruments and methods.

If I were attempting to sell a gasifier, to our DIYer group, I know how important it would be to tell them how much load they could place on same, and whether they’d need to keep one or two hands on the equipment in order to keep it running.

I remember the first small steam power plant I saw demonstrated at a county fair. It was built somewhere around 1890, and was sold to a lot of small dairy farms to run a milking machine, and perform other duties in the parlor. If memory serves me right, it was  around one horsepower in output or less.

The demonstrator knew this plant well, and when I asked about the plant’s ability to run unattended, the operator closed a valve, grabbed a wrench and removed a little device and placed it in my hand. It was a simple part, and it might as well had the word KISS engraved on it. It was likely machined of bar stock, and on one end was a piston of sorts that shuttled back and forth. The other end worked as a pressure pump to bring in feed-water as needed. Every Steam enthusiast will smile, as they likely know the name of this most common part.. (I don’t remember) and I’ll claim it’s common to forget the details after 50 years.

The point you ask? Dairy Farmers were likely a hard sell, most needed some proof that their purchase would provide a return on investment, and most every Dairy Farmer of the day was a ‘hands on guy.’ He understood you couldn’t be doing all the chores necessary in the parlor with one or more hands on the steam engine, and he was looking for proof of what the power plant would do for him before he spent his first dime.

As a producer of gasifiers, I think there’s two markets to target.  You could target the Greenies who are often more interested in looking Green than anything else. You’ll need no proof of output, and in some cases, all you’ll need do is paint it green and put a slogan like help save the planet on it. One of the down sides of marketing to this crowd is a large percentage of them are unemployed, and many live in a corner of their parent’s basement.

If you Target DIYers, you have your work cut out. Many of them have the money because they are frugal, and know the value of having a dollar saved. They  often change their own oil NOT because they save a lot of money doing so, but because they don’t want some Moron at ‘Monkey lube’ stripping the threads on the oil plug, leaving  it loose, leaving the filter loose, or a dozen other things that have left people stranded along side the road.

It’s harder to BS a DIYer, and normally you need provide more evidence that your product will provide him a service before he buys.

As per the get together below…  Will anyone measure the load and report on how long the gasifier can run unattended? A dairy Farmer back in 1890 would want know.

Who will attend this event? Kelpie Wilson?, Berserkly Art Students? I’d love to see a few Farm Boys show up, and maybe even an EE who has a power analyzer and makes the effort to use it. Following is an advertisement I received, and I’m sure others in our DIYer group did as well..


Father’s Day Gasification and Biochar Workshop: June 17-19, 2011

Opening Intro & Lecture: Friday, June 17, 7:30 – 9:30PM
Weekend Build, Run and Test: Saturday and Sunday, June 17-19, 11am – 7pm


Location: ALL Power Labs, 1010 Murray Street, Berkeley CA 94710
Cost: Free if you are a GEK or BEK owner, either through self build or purchase.  Otherwise, $100 for weekend
RSVP to the forum here. Buy your spot here.




Our summer workshop is fast approaching-  June 17th – 19th.  Many of you have already RSVP’ed and are flying in from the 4 corners, but there is still room for more.  So come join us for a quality Father’s Day weekend of wrenching, rotating machinery, and guided tour down the rabbit hole of biomass thermal conversion.


The workshop begins with a Friday evening talk on the science of gasification and pyrolysis, and the new engineering solutions embodied in the GEK gasifier and BEK biochar maker.  Saturday and Sunday are full days of building, running and testing the physical particulars. Come prepared to get your hands dirty building and running machinery.  We learn through both talking and working.


We’ll have 4 projects going in parallel for this round of the workshop.  You can participate in all of them, and wander between them as desired.


1.  50 Hour Endurance run of the 10kw Power Pallet:
Long proving runs of the Power Pallet continue on this end.  This round we’ll do a total of 50 hours over several days.  We have it on good authority that it will not rain this time, and we’ll be sure to have plenty of reasonable fuel on hand before we start.  We look forward to more refined data on fuel consumption, gas composition, and feedback on general usability from you kicking the tires over the weekend.  Runs will start on Saturday and continue into the early part of the following week.  If you can’t be here, we’ll have a webcam on the proceedings as usual.


This test will use one of the current generation stainless steel Power Pallets pictured here:


2. Demonstration runs of the 20kw Power Pallet:
Those of you interested in the larger 20kw Power Pallet will can finally see one in action over the weekend.   There will also be 8 of the 20kw Power Pallets under assembly in the APL factory, so you can see how we make them.  Things will look something like this, only bigger:  The engineers and builders of these units will be on hand to answer questions and explain the details.


3.  GEK Gasifier Building:
Want to build you own gasifier?  Here’s your chance to do it, using our tools and with plenty of instruction from the local crew.

This round of the workshop we’re having a special GEK Level III building clinic.  We have tables and welders for 4 people who want to weld together a kit over the weekend.  Given clear inhouse instruction, you should be able to get through the building process by the end of Sunday.  Finished gasifiers can Russian doll back into the hopper and filter for checking as oversize baggage on the plane.  Yes this does work.  We do this regularly.

Anyone who wants to do this will need to reserve a spot by purchasing a Level III weld together GEK kit.  There is no additional cost for instruction, using our tools, and burning our welding wire.  The workshop is also free if you get a kit.   We’re trying to make this easy and accessible.

Again, there are ONLY 4 slots for gasifier building.  Welders are limited.  Please reserve ahead of time if you want to build a kit.

4.  BEK Biochar maker running:

We continue to have the BEK on hold while we focus on ramping up the Power Pallet production.  This has made quite a few people unhappy, as there is so few small scale biochar making machines available at the moment.  We’re trying to get back to making these as soon as possible, but in the meantime we wanted to give the interested a chance to run our in house machine.

We’ll have the BEK on fire both Saturday and Sunday of the workshop.  You are welcome to bring your feedstock of interest and run it through.  Or, you can experiment with our variety of feedstocks on location.  If you have some you want to bring, please do write us beforehand so we can coordinate the details.

General Info and Signup


The APL workshop series offers education, research reports and hands-on experience to bring more people to successful operation of small scale gasification and pyrolysis units.  The event is open to everyone, not just GEK or BEK users/owners.  Worshops are free if you own a GEK or BEK by either purchase or DIY build. Otherwise the weekend is $100, which helps to cover food, drink and other consumables.


If you want to join us, please RSVP to the forum thread here:


If you need to pay the workshop fee, you can do so via credit card here:


Information on local accommodation, maps and airports is here:




We look forward to seeing you here soon.

Jim Mason
Current Projects:
– Gasifier Experimenters Kit (the GEK):
– Escape from Berkeley alt fuels vehicle race:
– ALL Power Labs on Twitter:
– Shipyard Announce list:



OK.. if you read this far, let me add.. I’m hoping I can report that some impressive data came out of this meet.. GB..





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5 Responses to More on Gasifiers, What say you?

  1. Mike says:

    the numbers are about what we got when I was out there in Berkeley. We had technical stuff stopping us from putting the hammer down ( you would have had to been there) and help would have been appreciated. The APL Workshops are generally free but a paid one has to happen to keep the lights on from time to time. ( I’ve lost money on all of mine ) Farm boys DO show up to the lab.. Most notably “Wayne Keith” during the “Escape from Berkeley” event.
    Wayne has used about 20 gallons of gasoline in the last 8-10 yrs I’d guess. The economy is about 20 Lbs of solid fuel to replace 1 gallon of gasoline. This is in an unmodified ( standard compression ratio ) engine. The octane rating of the fuel is 180, so you see there is room for a tighter squeeze or forced induction. I’ve got two GEKs at my place and a Listeroid set up for many types of fuel including those needing spark ignition. “” When I get rid of all of my overhead I’ll be back at alternate fuels 100% of my free time…. I’ve got a few surprises for you too but they won’t be posted publicly. By the way, an art student supplied Ken and I with the copper to make Lister head gaskets on the 2 AXIS CNC plasma table in Berkeley.. The best part is, we didn’t have to toss any art stuff off the table or shove Kelpie out of the way 🙂 Kelpie would haev loved the byproducts ( charcoal ) from the running of the generator. Kelpie isn’t so bad George, why are you always picking on her ?? Chuckle.

  2. George B. says:

    Here’s the place to link to the facts, we give gasifiers a break, we don’t care how much wood you put in, just show us how long you can get power out unattended and at what power level? The power out may all be right there on the WEBsite, but it needs to be placed at the top so we can find it. As for my Kelpie remark, I’m sure she’s a nice person, but I was hoping this party would attract a few people who are interested in the practical aspects of a gasifier. Let’s compare it to the Wind farms here in Washington State that are presently idle during our peak wind season. The facts barely make the news, and of course most who supported the farms only cared to note the color of the project!

    My question to all….If Kelpie visited this large wind farm in Throp Washington on a windy day, would she report on the fact that they are all idle?? It’s a very unpopular thing to do when you hang around greenies, for many of them, it’s not important that it really works, it’s the fact that it’s green energy.

  3. I’m pretty new to gasification, but I have the same question that you have: How much power can you really get out of the thing?
    I just started running my JXQ-10’s gas into an engine. I got 3.9KW of electricity for about 12 minutes on my first run before the quality of the gas started to decline. I know about 10 things that I did wrong and I will soon try again. This is documented at:
    and there’s a 10 minute video of that event at:

    I have alreay posted this info on some other ngs, and I am getting some good feedback already.

    Pete Stanaitis

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