Biogas and Syngas

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Note this page also discusses wood gas. Wood gas, biogas, and syngas all are produced by converting organic matter into gases. Wood gas and syngas are produced by heating organic matter in a reactor known as a gasifier: the resulting gases include carbon and hydrogen. Biogas is produced from the decompostion of organic matter. Biogas primarily consists of methane.

Typically, these gases are used to fuel generators which produce electricity. Standard mass-produced gas generators can be modified to run on wood gas, biogas, and/or syngas. However, powering a generator is not the only way to use these gases. There is a pig farmer in Nebraska who runs his truck on a mixture of biogas and diesel: the biogas is made from pig manure (see E-mails #929 and #930).

Choosing Which Gas to Produce

The difference between syngas and wood gas is that wood gas is yielded from gasifying organic matter directly, whereas syngas is yielded from gasifying charcoal which was produced by burning organic matter. In general, syngas is recommended over wood gas because it is a cleaner-burning fuel. However, wood gas is a fine option for those who do not have a retort furnace nor other means in which to convert organic matter into charcoal.

Regarding sources from which to produce these gases, wood is the standard source for both wood gas and syngas production (and all charcoal production-- not just charcoal destined for gasification).

For more detailed definitions of and distinctions between each gas, see E-mail #859 below.


Gasifier units generally are capable of processing both raw organic matter and charcoal (i.e. producing both wood gas and syngas). However, when the intention is to produce wood gas from raw organic matter, the gasifier must be outfitted with the necessary means for capturing the moisture and waste/terpenes which will inevitably result. To capture all the moisture, the condenser must be much larger than what is necessary for producing syngas only. This is especially true in climates which have relatively high levels of humdity and precipitation, such as the northeast United States. In such climates, drying the wood prior to gasifying it will not eliminate the problem of water accumulating in the gasifier unit. This is evidenced by a video on the YouTube channel Gridlessness, where the family attempts to run a “dual fuel” (gas/propane) generator on a mixture of wood gas and syngas. A consistent problem they have is the accumulation of water in the gasifier. The size of the condenser on their gasifier may be appropriate for syngas production, but not wood gas. Additionally, the gasifier is likely pulling in moisture from the outside air. For a more in-depth explanation of these issues, as well as solutions to them, see E-mails #1007-1010 below.

E-mails from Brian

From #351

November 13 2021 5:47PM

There are fuel sources possible that create their own pressure. Liquified natural gas, propane, liquefied hydrogen, or some pressurized version of this type of fuel source can provide the pressure necessary when there's a lack of vacuum. However, and especially in a motor vehicle usage, those types of fuels are extremely dangerous. Even in a stable environment they're dangerous, but in a motor vehicle they become guided missiles. Anyways, this wave disc engine could be useful, but the fuel source, as far as what I was able to research in this short amount of time, is the primary factor. On demand fuels are what I'm leaning towards for the best application for this engine. Syngas and biogas, respectively. Syngas also requires a vacuum, at least in piston and Wankel engine systems. Biogas can create compression, but the volume is not as pressurized as something like LNG or similar. I've mentioned biogas and syngas briefly while we've discussed things, but only briefly. You're on more of an advanced subject basis, and they're both essentially the most remedial forms of carbon neutral forms of fuel. Syngas is the byproduct of pyrolysis when burning, or reaching ignition point in cellulose structures. The volatiles that are released in wood (or other plant matter) smoke are funneled into a carburetor to run an engine with an air mixture. This is the basis for biomass generators on a large scale, and wood gasifiers on a smaller scale. Very easy to construct and utilize. In the case of creating steady reliable heat for a nitinol engine reservoir, or distillery, when excess ethanol is not available, and biogas is not accessible, this is the best option. I remember saying in a prior email "if all else fails, just burn wood." Syngas is what I was referring to. You could just burn wood in a campfire type system, but that's not efficient. Utilizing syngas is the most efficient way of "burning wood," and can be used for generating energy in other ways. Usually, though, the vacuum within the cyclinder draws this gas in, along with the air mixture. It's somewhat essential to the process because most wood gasification draws air through the burning material downward, and without the vacuum, the fuel would escape from the intake of the burn chamber. There could be a way to designing a system that would funnel this form of fuel into a wave disc engine, though. How? I haven't put much thought into it, but it could be done. As for the claim of 3.5 fold efficiency above conventional ICE systems, syngas would be the best bet to prove that claim as correct.

Biogas is the fuel created from decaying matter releasing methane. It's more efficient than syngas because the process can implement animals into the process very effectively. With syngas, every plant on Earth can be used, even weeds, as is also the case with biogas. One could just burn everything, or allow the material to rot. However, the happy medium would be to use the plant material to feed animals, collect the manure, centrifuge the solids from the liquids, accumulate biogas from the manure decomposing, and then burn the solids in a syngas generator. This would make the entire process from plant to gas a closed loop, plus you would be growing animals as a bonus. Later, the scrap not consumed as human food could also be used as a biogas implement. After the decomposition is completed and the biogas is removed, the remaining material is perfect fertilizer to grow more plants and animals; a closed loop. As I said, biogas production does create pressure. Is that enough pressure to make up for the lack of vacuum in a wave disc engine? I don't know, but engineering around that conundrum would be fairly simple. The claim of 3.5 fold efficiency above conventional ICE systems? Still not able to confirm. Of course the bulk of utilization of both biogas and syngas in my equations doesn't have much use in the internal combustion system. Both are relatively dirty compared to anhydrous ethanol or hydrogen. Useful in a tight squeeze, but I would say that the focus should be elsewhere. The utilization of both of these forms of fuel is perfect for creating better forms of fuel, particularly ethanol. Usually today's systems using biogas and syngas strictly go to making electricity, or feeding natural gas grids directly. Both are extremely wasteful. Anyways, those are, from what I can tell, are the most applicable fuels for a wave disc engine.

All of that said... these are all moot points to the original claim made by your professor or friends; using a wave disc engine to actuate a cavitation water heater would be better than an electric motor. I've somewhat filled in the blanks behind that claim in the most thorough way I could, but I've said for quite some time now that in a system of my design, a cavitation water heater would be powered by a nitinol engine. Did you counteract that claim by telling them about a nitinol engine? Indeed, there's many ways to create the mechanical rotational force necessary for powering a cavitation water heater, and I've done an immense amount of research into all of them, but nitinol is by far and away the most efficient method of providing that force. Not only is the required heat to transfer energy extremely low compared to that of any type of combustion engine, which dramatically reduces fuel consumption, but when scaled up, the torque ratio is also dramatically increased. RPMs become less of a direct focus. A nitinol engine at scale could run at 1 RPM, but produce enough torque to gear ratio up to thousands of RPMs at the transfer case. That allows for a scenario where the nitinol engine itself could last decades with very minimal maintenance and upkeep. Efficiency is not just about the fuel processing, but also about the longevity of the engine/engines themselves. The length of time they're able to perform is often not implemented into efficiency equations, but this is me you're talking to, and I always factor in everything, cradle to cradle. So... my guess is that wave disc engines are an interesting approach to the same problem that's already been solved by other means. Neat.jpg... but remedial in conception. We're way past that, but shame on me for not filling in the other applicable information to you sooner, I guess. Useful? Maybe. Necessary? No. Interesting reading, though. Thank you for showing me that. I like reading about new ideas, and truth be told, I hadn't heard of that engine before you told me about it.

One of the more interesting aspects of the cavitation water heater is that the materials don't seem to matter. I haven't confirmed this claim myself, but apparently oxidization is inhibited from creating the cavitation within the chamber. Very unusual, but that's the claim. I can't remember where I first read that, but I did read it somewhere. Additionally, the water used in a cavitation water heater does not need to be clean. Apparently the cavitation bubbles annihilate foriegn material from the water itself, and all that's left is pure H2O steam. Again, very unusual, but that's the claim, and I've yet to hear anything to the contrary. One thing that indirectly confirms both of those claims is that the cavitation water heaters being made in the hydro sonic pump videos I've linked in the past seem to be machined from mild steel, not even stainless. So, the "inventor" built them out of extremely corrosive materials, which would suggest his claim is accurate, at least from our external perspective. Building one out of stainless should be a step up from those models, but keep in mind that the cavitation water heaters he was building were fairly large, and I'm not sure if scaling down is applicable. His rotors look to be about 18-24" in diameter. A chunk of stainless that size would be thousands of dollars, and I'm not so sure the school would be willing to just give you that. If they are, wow! But be careful trying to scale down the cavitation water heater engine, though. You might create heat, and maybe even steam, but you're after a lot of heat and steam, especially for powering one or several Di Pietro engines in sequence. Strongly consider scale before you get weeks into a complicated system that doesn't produce the effect you desire. It might be a better use of your time to build something like a wood gasifier, then use it for yourself at your home. That would not only be a very inexpensive build, but useful to you and your family immediately, especially considering all the plant material your region produces. Then you could even build an apparatus to power cavitation water heaters you build later, and if they don't work to your standards, you're not at a total loss.

This was the first video that came up when I searched "wood gasifier." We're both watching it for the first time, heh. It's a simple concept to understand, but even easier when seen. They're also very cheap to build because you could do the whole thing out of junkyard materials other than the generator. This is pure syngas, though. If you wanted to improve from that, biogas is next. Something to consider, though. I just don't want you to get disappointed in a complicated situation with the possibility of failure. A gasifier is neither complicated nor expensive, but will provide significant mechanical rotational force that can be applied to just about everything, and it's a carbon neutral process. You could transform that energy into air pressure, electricity, whatever... including the drive for a cavitation water heater if you so choose. Just trying to look out for your best interest given the current financial situation.

I'll talk to you later.


From #357

November 19 2021 2:53PM

Okay, in regards to syngas and biogas, I'll try to put this in proper perspective. Like I said, I essentially just skipped right over this stuff with you. It's useful information, yes, but the dedication to these forms of fuel adds a dereliction to advancement beyond their usage. Not that I expected you to fall into that trap, but many do. The most efficient form of storage with liquid fuels is ethanol. It's not just a fuel for powering vehicles, but it's also a great cleaning agent, cooking fuel, spirit, and many other uses. It stores well, and is 100% carbon neutral. Obtaining access to ethanol is energy intensive, though, and that energy has to be carbon neutral as well. Otherwise you're stuck in the downside of the entropy loop of finite energy. That's the basic dilemma. My system was going to use a combination of syngas (sometimes known as wood gas), biogas, and micro hydro to fulfill that equation. Those forms of energy are wasted as is, and there's no reason to not use them. I've seen it tried many times, specifically in Tillamook, but they fell into the same dilemma most do; halting advancement. Instead of giving you a play by play on everything, I'll tell you what my specific plan was, and it starts with charcoal. 

Charcoal is another great way of cooking food, but the wood used needs to be specific. Things like weeds, wood shavings, and other rarely used scraps are great fuel for making charcoal even if that's their only use. You're right, though. Using them in conjunction with making charcoal to strip syngas is very efficient. Moreover, while the scrap makes charcoal, the charcoal can make ethanol. Building a still that can accommodate all three fuel sources is not that difficult. The trick is in using cooking oil. The biggest problem in making ethanol is scorching the mash. It makes for difficult cleaning, and if spirits are being made, the taste is foul. The idea is to surround the still in a tank of oil, which is called an "oil bath." Then one can heat the oil tank with fire, in this case the heat created from the charcoal chamber vessel being heated from scrap. Essentially it becomes a 3 part heat exchanger, completely carbon neutral at every stage, with the byproducts of charcoal and ethanol left over, as well as the residual heat stored in the oil. After so many cycles, that oil itself can then be processed into biodiesel and soap. All one needs to convert oil to biodiesel is methanol and sodium hydroxide, and the methanol would come from skimming the heads/foreshot of distilling. Additionally, the spent carbon dioxide from the entire process could be funneled directly to a greenhouse for rapid plant growth. It's a complex system, but easily done if engineered correctly.

First the still. Definitely a reflux still to maximize proof. The oil bath tank would be set up with chimneys going through the oil, and connecting in a manifold that would funnel the syngas back into the scrap for more efficient burning. Half of the chimneys would be connected at the base to the charcoal chamber, while the other half would be connected to the scrap pile exhaust. The constant reintroduction of syngas from both the charcoal chamber and scrap pile would result in almost pure carbon dioxide. That was my plan. I had the still, the know how, but ran out of time. That's the most efficient usage of syngas. There are many different ways to use it, but storing the inherent energy in a stable medium like ethanol is the most efficient. When transferring the energy into other mediums, that's where syngas gets tricky. Often times to make the system efficient and worthwhile, the amount of equipment goes up significantly. The least amount of equipment (hence the most economical) is in converting syngas to air pressure. Tanks, engines and piping, yes... but that's still less equipment than a wood gasifier, internal combustion engine and generator. Unfortunately, those items are easily obtained in an oil economy, so the majority of people who utilize syngas take the easiest route possible, as opposed to the most efficient method. That's really where the dilemma resides. Easiest to obtain almost never means the most efficient, but people are lazy, so if the system appears to work there's no real incentive to advance. This is syngas' biggest problem. Over the recent years large scale biomass reactors producing large quantities of syngas strictly for electricity production have popped up everywhere. That's the most inefficient way of producing syngas, but the economics suggest it's viable, the propaganda has people thinking it's "green," and nobody is the wiser to the inefficiency. These plants burn forests full of trees to produce syngas, waste the majority of the heat during the process, and create reliance on the energy they produce, which creates entitlement. Entitlement for burning down forests of trees, that is... and all so people can have electric refrigerators and watch porn on 65" flat screens dozens of miles away from where the electricity is made. It's disgusting to me, but that's the current large scale, government subsidized, centralized, profit oriented syngas industry in today's market. Syngas should be small scale, local, and fueled by scrap... not forests filled with wildlife. I'm very cautious about talking on this subject because of what's already happened. People hear "carbon neutral, green, and easily converted to run crude oil machinery?!?" And suddenly entire habitats are being demolished, not kidding.

Biogas is easier to see this type of overindulgence with. Using biogas for energy on a large scale is a net negative EROEI. This is what the co-op found out the hard way in Tillamook. There was a large push for "green energy" and the government subsidies were flowing, so the goal was to build a large centralized biomass methane digester, and they did build it. Unfortunately, even with the overabundance of affirmative action degree wielding geniuses designing the system, nobody seemed to factor in the diesel expenditures to deliver the shit to the digester. In the Tillamook co-op there's over 100 farms. Some are very small, and Tillamook is a large spread out county. Picking up shit from every farm every day is not economical, and even after devising a schedule to make the deliveries more efficient, the numbers of energy input to biogas output never reached a net positive, so the plant was shut down. It's a narrow margin to equate a net positive for biogas on any scale, but large scale is almost impossible without constant subsidies, AND a wasteful effort.

I've seen recent videos from England where the waste factor is downright absurd. Their government also created massive spending subsidies to encourage biogas plant development. Some farmers bought into this strategy and have built very large digesters. One farm in particular is grid tied with natural gas/biogas, and electricity. It's a massive state of the art facility. I don't know how many homes they produce energy for, but it's a lot. The absurdity comes in where they've exchanged shit, for plant matter. Instead of producing food animals and using the waste to produce biogas, they've began to contract other farmers to produce plant material, in most cases food crops, that go directly into biogas/methane production. Why? Because economics dictate that's the most efficient way to make money, and the government subsidizes the insanity by picking up the diesel/delivery bill. Idiotic, wasteful, and unsustainable, but that's the society we live in. That's how there can be a global food shortage happening at the same time as a net global obesity epidemic. The government spends tax money to fund food production that doesn't even get eaten. It's literally grown to rot... and it's profitable. Amazingly stupid, wouldn't you say? That's the biggest issue in trying to implement a centralized crude oil driven approach to something that should be small scale. It just won't work that way, but that's where we are. So again, I've been very cautious in speaking about biogas. Not because it's bad investment, but what happens when degenerate systems of energy management are correlated to the carbon neutral strategies.

On my small 1 acre property in Tillamook at the time, my goal was to provide biogas for heating, and that was it. Gather the shit every day, human shit included, digest it in a tank, then burn the methane for heating the animal housing. After digestion was completed, use the remnants as fertilizer for growing more animal food. The biogas would be used right at the source, and the fertilizer would be spread inches away from the digester. No big rigs traveling an hour to deliver 100,000 lbs of shit, no complex grid system complete with substation pumps, no workforce driving to and from the plant, no county workers maintaining the pipe grid, no subsidies. Just simple methane to carbon dioxide transfer with heat, fertilizer and the possibility (especially in the summer) of excess fuel for making ethanol as the primary usage. The animals sure would have appreciated it at the very least. No more cold winters, and their asses would be supplying the fuel... and my ass for that matter, heh. The point is that everything that rots can be used for biogas, yes. But the EROEI equation must always be considered, and biogas, as well as syngas can very quickly go net negative in that regard. Small scale is the only way of making both forms of carbon neutral fuel efficient enough to consider viable beyond just letting the material rot in nature as it always has. The excess points of production in making syngas and biogas are never consistent enough to be reliable because they're based on animals and environmental factors which both go through constant fluctuations. That's why storage of these energies in a stable energy carrier like ethanol, and air pressure is essential to the equation of equilibrium.

Now, onto the mechanics of biogas. One of the most important processes in biogas production is the manure separator. This is a compactor similar to the extruder in a plastic recycling system. The shit is compressed through a conical screw and the liquids are separated from the solids. The solids are gathered externally from the liquid, and the liquid is what flows into the digester. On a very small scale separating is not necessary, but I'm talking singular farm scale with several cows, goats, chickens, etc. The solids are essentially ready for fertilizer at that point, but if it were me, that would become compost material for a worm farm for further enrichment. Anyways, the usual process is to just bag it and sell it at that point. The stench is basically gone, and the material is perfect fertilizer. The liquid is really what produces the biogas, and after the bacteria digest it, it too becomes perfect fertilizer. That's really all there is to it. Agitation of the tank is important to maintain a healthy environment for the bacteria, and there is a faster reaction when temperatures are held at the temperature of whatever animal produces the shit, but it's not essential. Just prolongs the conversion. Otherwise, that's the nitty gritty of the nitrogen cycle and biogas production: food in, shit out, separation, isolation, energy consumption, redistribution, and the loop is complete.

Here's some videos to give reference on what I've been describing. The stupid, and informative, heh...

I tried to find an oil bath based still to show you what I was explaining, but they're rare. I've yet to even hear of anyone using a charcoal vessel to heat an oil bath vessel for distillation of ethanol, so maybe that level of efficiency is nowhere outside of my designs yet? Who knows. I saw you mention using the solids from manure to ferment into cellulosic ethanol. It's possible, but the majority of usable sugar would have already been stripped by the ruminant stomachs, and creating a stable environment for the yeast would be somewhat of a challenge. Possible, yes, but the added steps might make the process inefficient. It's a good idea, though. I like the way you are trying to add efficiency. Even if it wouldn't be plausible, that's always a great way to look at processes of any kind. "How can we make this more efficient?" is never a bad question. The solids could be compressed into briquettes and burned for fuel in the charcoal chamber. There's people in Africa and India that burn elephant shit for cooking. Kinda gross, but it is flammable. However that destroys the bulk of the nutrients, so the nutrient loop is broken for regenerating soils. That said, you can over fertilize, so there's times where burning the solids might be the best course of action. It all really depends on the individual farm. The point is that, as with everything, decentralization and scaling down is the most effective and efficient approach to sustainability. Centralization only applies to the crude oil economy, and even that's not efficient. It just appears that way because money is used as the qualifying metric, and laziness is seen as beneficial. If you can get out of providing labor, and make money in the process, that's seen as successful in hell.

From #359

#810 Overall

November 23 2021 12:11AM

Yes, my intentions span across the entirety of planetary albedo energy convergence. That's to say that nothing is left out of the transference between gases and solids exchanging mass with one another through photosynthesis. We spoke about this very concept before. I remember it. The real magic is how the system of existence functions in the third dimension, and particularly on Earth. Everything is in a state of transference from gas to solid, solid to gas, and so on. That's the basic concept, and figuring out how to maximize potential within that process is not as complicated as people make it out to be. Always... at least in hell... there's the hidden agenda of trying to implement usury and profiteering into simple algorithms. What this does is it creates a sphere of influence where the primary concern becomes a contest for figuring out HOW something functions, as opposed to WHY it functions. The real truth pertains to the entire system functioning as a whole: equilibrium. Until that happens, as you pointed out in your first paragraph, people will try to exploit the system instead of trying to benefit it. That's why money integrated into sustenance is so detrimental. Necessity is a bargaining chip, and when that happens, suffering itself becomes a commodity. There is a place for economics, but it needs to exist outside of the realm of sustenance. Food, water, and warmth must be secured. Otherwise someone WILL lose. Speaking in terms of our recent conversations, biogas and syngas are intricately and intimately connected to food, water and warmth. Every stage of those elements' existence. So without a doubt, everything about them is, and will always be integrated into a sustainable equilibrium for humanity.

As for the particular cases I was linking through those videos, it really depends on how individual communities decide to integrate their systems. I personally would not use the majority of methods those videos illustrated, but that's because I wouldn't implement electricity so intricately, nor would I rely on internal combustion systems outside of ethanol and biodiesel usage. Air pressure for everything possible first and foremost, with air tanks as the storage medium. Ethanol production for as many uses as possible following that, with integrated biodiesel for mechanized farming procedures. Biogas and syngas for on demand heating. All of which could and should be used to constantly produce air pressure when abundant. Electricity production is relied upon too much, and almost every example I can find to explain one of these processes leads to the reliance on electricity as the energy of choice. Not because it's efficient, effective, and reliable, but because it's seen as the easiest way to remain lazy. It's frustrating, and I always seem to be in the position of reiterating my intentions as a sort of "this is good, but not the way "they're" doing it" kind of thing.

Yes, the factory farm system is repulsive, but that's the only video I could find that showed the potential. It's unfathomable thinking about how much manure is made, anaerobic environments maintained, and the fuel itself is wasted all day every day, isn't it? The scale at which this resource is lost to unadulterated laziness is dumbfounding. Not only that, but when factoring in the transportation of goods from big-ag systems of management it's truly disgusting. If the people grew their animals where they ate them, just imagine how much energy wouldn't need to be factored into an economic equation. I get this impression browsing 4chan often. It's like people think something like biogas or syngas is going to replace crude oil so the big-ag system of management can continue creating and maintaining unbridled laziness and usury. The struggle is real. The frustration is real. Biogas and syngas are great commodities, but they will never be in the position to replace crude oil. I find myself wanting to tell people they're idiots not just for what they're doing, but also for the way they're thinking. I suppose that's why I always seem so argumentative. There's a completely different way of implementing these technologies I'm inferring when I speak. However, in some pathetic vain attempt at retaining pride, the usual circumstance usually steers people into thinking they're agreeing with me without the full context of the totality of what equilibrium really entails. That's why you've been such a relief. You keep digging. You're not the type to think "hell yeah! A wood gasifier? Sheeeit, now I can keep my Amazon job, get drunk every weekend, and put all of my efforts into selfishness." But as our time together grows, I'm thinking you're able to discern more and more why I've been driven to wanting death so badly. It's overwhelming having so many answers while the people you're trying to give them to half-ass everything. Such a narrow margin for success, and what's worse is the entire list needs to be adhered to. Very difficult to put into perspective for the average societal inhabitant, no matter what their (((education))) level... which is also just another layer of pride and arrogance I have to attempt circumventing.

From #364

November 28 2021 7:21PM

One thing I will say is that the design of the triple deck barn you described is great. All they would need to do is collect the manure, put it in a digester, and they'd have literal tons of biogas to use. Stripping the methane from the shit in a controlled manner speeds up the conversion to fertilizer a lot. Plus it breaks down the volatiles like harmful bacteria (coccidia, worms, etc) completely, making the fertilizer much safer for growing food, for animals and humans. It kills weed seeds as well, so over time the crops would get bigger, healthier and be purer by retaining micronutrients usually lost in the process of environmentally controlled fertilizer conversion. Water leeches out micronutrients and they're lost to drainage or runoff. In a digester everything stays put, except for the methane itself, and when that is spent, the fertilizer is second to none. Anyways, it sounds like a perfect setup for making that type of system easier. They were very intelligent for thinking that part of the engineering through: food on top, animals on the second floor, and the shit accumulated in the basement; perfect, except for the lack of digester.

From #440

February 7 2022 5:17AM

This is him making gun powder from various different types of carbon inputs. His ball mill is small but similar to the type used by my mechanics. He also makes safety a priority by setting up the actuator remotely and enclosing the ball mill with a box in case of an explosion.

Here's the previous video of him using pyrolysis to convert the willow wood into charcoal to be processed in the ball mill. Not really relevant to this discussion, but I thought you might want to see it. He uses a paint can and vents the syngas directly back into the fire. That's one way to do it...

And here's him making the ball mill.

And just for fun, because I'm guessing you're wondering about it after I mentioned it, here he is making some rudimentary thermite. Keep in mind that his iron oxide and powdered aluminium is not proper processed or rationed for the optimal thermite reaction, but it's the basic premise.

Ball mills with slats are rarely used anymore, so I couldn't find a video for an example. The general idea now is to equate the RPM optimal speed for centrifugal force to raise the media/balls high enough along the barrel wall so that slats are unnecessary. I've seen slats in a ball mill in person, but not on any videos. While searching for one, I did see this example, which is technically a ball mill, but should actually be called a "tube mill" because it doesn't rotate. Instead it uses vibration to jostle the balls. It's interesting so I thought I'd add it for you, but this is more of an ore processor. I don't think it'd be relevant to recycling clay or plaster.

I read through the links, and I've seen those threads posted before but I haven't really participated. Those images don't account for engineering in a hydraulic ram pump (cavitation), nor do they incorporate venturi effect parameters. The inlet is basically just an open trough, and if that's the basic strategy, I agree with the efficiency. Granted, utilizing ram pumps or the venturi effect makes the system pulsed as opposed to steady state, but if the energy being created is based on air pressure, pulsing the system doesn't matter. Electricity production does suffer losses while hydraulic ram pump reservoirs refill, or when the vacuum properties of the venturi effect cavitate air into the discharge, but I've explained my position on electricity production enough to know what I'm saying. Yes, manipulating waterways is extremely regulated in America, but that's usually only based on intrusive mechanisms. Water rights for springs and non wildlife habitat waterways is easy to obtain. Extreme head, low flow areas, for the most part, aren't as highly regulated. Building reservoir structures in those area is rarely frowned upon. Plus, hydraulic ram pump systems are extremely passive to large flow, low head waterways. Yes, an elevated reservoir is necessary, but there's also zero loss to the flow if the energy is created and the water discharges back into the waterways at, or above stream to where it's collected. In a properly engineered system like that, regulation wouldn't matter because the parameters for the regulation existing in the first place would not be broken. Yes, a backwoods, "let's just hollow out some trees and build us a trough, Cletus" type of system could have significant impact on the wildlife, but that's not what I'm talking about. It's always interesting to see someone like that automatically assume the water wheel system as they've come to understand it, is what I'm explaining. Old fashioned water wheels are relevant, and do have a place in an equilibrium dedicated system, particularly in mountainous regions where there's large head and very little if any aquatic life, but I actually agree with the fundamental regulations to manipulating large waterways. I'm also not a proponent of large dams that centralize power generation and fuck up migration patterns. I lived very close to Bonneville dam on the Columbia river, and saw seals devour migratory salmon at the fish ladder chute every year. Fucking around with natural patterns is never a good idea with lots of unintended consequences, but there's ways to all but eliminate the problems if done correctly, and the systems are NOT centralized. This kind of thing is exactly why I don't really post anymore online. There's just too many assumptions from people that are (((educated))) in a particular subject, don't think beyond their indoctrination, and make wide sweeping snap judgements on anything I say. It really chapped my ass for a long time, and I've just grown tired of the arguments. You seem to be much better at handling that kind of thing than me now. If I was in that thread, or any other for that matter, I'm just very bitter these days and shut people down harshly. Kudos to you for being able to put up with the people who fancy themselves as (((experts))) because some Jew gave them a piece of paper after their indoctrination was complete. I just don't have that kind of patience anymore. Seems like for every one guy that thanks you for being informative and helpful, there's ten that interject pilpul or subversion by manipulating context to opinionated realms instead of maintaining empirical integrity. Gets to me, is all I'm saying. Good job, though, broadcaster. And yeah, I understand how "stoneware" could throw you off just like the "ball mill" nomenclature. At least it makes sense now.

From #462

March 2 2022 10:41PM

Besides that... there's no logical argument against immediately replacing gasoline and diesel with natural gas and propane, which would then be heavily (and much more easily) supplemented with biogas and syngas. The biggest hurdle to making that switch is the heat displacement within engine cylinders. Hydrogen has this same concern, as does HHO. Propane is a much purer form of natural gas. Natural gas has propane in it, but propane does not have natural gas in it. Propane is twice as energy dense as natural gas, and therefore is a better choice between the two. However... propane causes a serious dilemma to an internal combustion engine. Same as hydrogen and HHO, propane burns very hot. At high RPMs, when not properly tuned, all three will literally melt the pistons, and seize the block. Natural gas is easier to use in that setting, but much more difficult to control. Natural gas is a mixture of methane, propane, ethane, and trace other volatiles produced from crude oil, which essentially halves the BTU capabilities to that of propane. However, propane is liquefied. Natural gas CAN BE liquified, but doesn't hold the same stability as propane, which is why it's used overwhelmingly in its gaseous state, through pipelines, etc. All gaseous, and liquefied gases have significant problems in an internal combustion engine... but it can be worked around. I'd guess that the biggest concern is refueling, and that goes for all gaseous and liquefied gases. It's a very dangerous process that takes purging tanks, release valves, pressure monitoring, and a strict standard for subduing any form of spark. Again, for people like us that's not really a concern, but some do wap didduh, bix noodin' muhfuggin blunt smoking lowrider cruiser, there's real potential for blowing up a city block. Anyways, yes, using propane, natural gas, biogas, or pure hydrogen would be much easier and more efficient than refining junk oil with it, but there's concerns. Biogas would be the most effective because it's essentially carbon neutral. There's methane, yes, but also carbon monoxide and dioxide, which calms down the BTUs. It makes it viable to a currently formatted and engineered internal combustion engine, with very minor upgrading; a few one way valves, and a more secure fuel line and it's ready. Plus it's consumed where it's made. No complex infrastructure required. Here's a guy that's using biogas and diesel as a hybrid system.

Switching to a more palatable topic, yeah, I've always been kind of disturbed by the issue of mixing (metal) chips. I would think the optimal option is to have two different shops; one for ferrous and one for non ferrous materials. Then clean up would be easier to keep materials separate. The other, more energy intensive method is to run all waste materials through a hammer mill, then separate them on a conveyor belt using a magnet. You'd have to essentially powderize everything because chips corkscrew and get tangled up so there'd be a lot of cross contamination. But yeah, I hear you. It's a concern that should be designed into the shop before commissioning for work. Usually it's just ignored though, and everything is just thrown in the garbage. Good for you for making it a concern at all. I too have tried to make that a priority. When I brought my personal materials in to work on in the shop, I'd clean the lathe coolant drip pan before and after my project. In a heavy production oriented shop that's not really feasible, but on a hobbyist level it's definitely doable. Cross contamination of wood is also a concern if you're using pyrolysis to siphon syngas. You don't want aluminum in the reaction chamber. Cleanliness, however mundane and annoying can really help.

From #466

March 6 2022 6:47PM

Then start knocking down the Rockies (heh) and make more land for planting more forest. All the sequestered hydrocarbons will now be an integral part of planetary albedo AGAIN... and the curtailment of those sequestered hydrocarbon sources can begin. Why at that point? Because biogas, syngas, wood, etc, will now be readily available as a fuel source for everyone everywhere on Earth, and those sources will be carbon neutral TO THE EQUILIBRIUM POINT. Meaning that those plants will behave in the same manner as the cigarette did in the previous analogy. The point is that Earth is a spaceship that can be upgraded by humanity. The more people try to argue with me and play semantics games highlighting perceived contradictions, the less they understand this philosophy. The overwhelming majority of people look at the Earth as an enemy. Something that's out to get them, and in that mindset they implore notions of protecting the pleasures they've come to enjoy. I see Earth, with all of its quirks as an opportunity for improvement. And until people can understand that philosophy and use it in their lives ubiquitously, they will continue to argue with what I'm saying, even if they don't understand the complexity involved. It's like I said a while ago, if people are listening to what I'm saying just to find inconsistencies or anomalies in language parameters that appear to elude to me being a scammer, or otherwise wrong in some way, they'll never actually hear what I'm saying. "Ehrmagawd! He said all hydrocarbons are baaad!" Not really. What I was actually saying, and this is backed up by millions of words that you yourself have catalogued, is that government regulated sequestered hydrocarbon consumption, with no plans or goals to implement that consumption into an equilibrium platform of sustainability long into the future... is bad. I just left out the bulk of designated nomenclatures because I was talking to you, and I didn't know you were going to post that write up. If I knew that I'd be speaking to the peanut gallery that's been trying to discredit and insult me since our paths crossed, I would have been clearer than "I stand firm that anyone using hydrocarbons of any variety is asking for war, and the subsequent destruction of the entire human race." And I apologize for not being absolutely perfect in designating every single word I say according to the arrogant posture of the geniuses that give you grief over it... I'd like to hear their grand synopsis for the continuance of life on Earth. In reality, they're all just tossing stones from a glass house, and are arguing empirical facts with opinionated nonsense. The interesting thing is that even after that entire rundown, we're (as in you and I) are essentially regressing. I've been teaching you how to utilize energy sources that are outside of the hydrocarbon system, sequestered or atmospheric. Air pressure created by purely mechanical functions and sustained through mediums like wind, hydro, solar and nitinol do not add to nor take away from carbon saturation... at least not after the mining for those materials has commenced. And that's already been accounted for a long time ago. What's even better about it is that I've eliminated the inclusion of electricity, which I AND YOU have repeatedly provided evidence for for being as detrimental to health, if not more so than hydrocarbon consumption. So, when anyone gives you grief about these topics, my advice is to call their bluff. They posture like they have answers to extremely complex issues, make them prove it. I see opportunity when people do that to me... but I'm betting "they" won't.

From #556

June 19 2022 7:41AM

I'm under no illusions about the timing of such a project. It's vast, and will require immense amounts of energy, which is exactly the kind of project that biogas and syngas is perfect for. Work when the energy is available and abundant on this type of system, while the remainder of time is spent growing more vegetation for biogas and syngas production AS PER THE PARAMETERS OF PLANETARY ALBEDO. That's why the completion of such a monumental mission will take hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years. However, at that point, equilibrium will be in the rearview mirror, and true sustainability for both humans and wildlife will be inevitable.

Wastefulness and inefficiency is of the utmost importance to recognize and understand. I too, for as long as I can remember, am extremely bothered when I see it happening. I'm also bothered by time constraint pressures applied in earnest that ultimately compound on wastefulness and inefficiency. Biogas and syngas are perfect examples of the extreme inefficiency taking place globally. Both are extremely impractical on a large centralized scale, particularly when grid tied electricity and crude oil are the predominant economic factors of civilization. Using crude oil or electricity to gather the "green," or nitrogen sources that create biogas, and syngas is "robbing Peter to pay Paul." After the crude oil is refined and burned to collect those sources, store them, and digest the material, or pyrolize it, the equation is a net negative concept. In other words, you're burning more oil to create the fuels and subsequent energy, than you will attain from just burning the oil directly, and allowing everything to rot, because that's more "economically viable" in a crude oil economy. However, on an individual and localized basis, there's not a more efficient and effective process. When the centralized crude oil expenditure is removed from the equation, and collection, processing, and usage is factored by point of origin of the materials themselves, there's not a more efficient method of creating fuel. If this process was adapted globally, crude oil and electric grids would be obsolete. It would be quite simple, but would require effort from each individual family. All waste, including wood chips, weeds, excrement from every living thing, garden waste, food scraps, and anything else that rots, would all be dumped into an anaerobic bio digester, and mixed with water. Every 7-14 days (ish) the material, having exhausted its methane production, is put through either a compression screw or centrifuge to separate the remaining solids from liquid. The liquid is divided by roughly half. Half goes back into a new bio digester batch to be started immediately, while the other half goes directly to fertilizing the areas that the material was grown on previously, with an almost 100% nutrient retention rate. On and on that cycle could effectively go, indefinitely, with no need for external fertilization, ever again. The solids from the separation sequence, would be dumped into a pyrolizer directly from the screw or centrifuge. The pyrolizer (or retort furnace (as some would like to call it)) would convert the solids from the digester into syngas, as the only material not liquified by the digester is almost entirely cellulose. From this fuel production, anything can be done with the energy created; energy, mind you, that is literally thrown away to rot and saturate the atmosphere in methane currently. After the syngas is made from the pyrolizer, the remaining material is concentrated charcoal, that's essentially powderized. The powderized charcoal is made into briquettes to be used for the next pyrolysis sequence of making syngas. So, after the very first batch of syngas production, the entire system would self sustain itself indefinitely. The ashes from the charcoal are mixed with the liquid to be redistributed into the growing fertilizer mixture, again, at an almost 100% nutrient retention rate. There is labor required at every step, which is why these types of systems are rare. That said, these systems would essentially eliminate waste, sewage, external fuel implements, external fertilizer implements, and methane production from composting and landfill-ing. No need for power grids, crude oil, or externally regulated infrastructure of any kind... but there is competency and labor required, both of which seem to be the "kryptonite" of modern society.

From #587

August 9 2022 7:18PM

Another thing barrels like that are good for are retort furnaces, gasifiers, and/or pyrolizers. I'm not saying to buy them. Just giving you other options to use them for other than a foundry. Unless you have plans to immediately use those things, they're a real pain to move around and store, and they're kind of an eyesore. But yeah, they're the perfect size for personal use pyrolization, especially making charcoal. Another use for them is anaerobic digestion (biogas production), but it's better to use plastic because of the rust factor. In reality to make biogas production really viable for even a small scale operation, it needs to be quite large, but experimenting is fun too.

From #592

August 13 2022 6:12PM

Works like this: after the crop has been harvested, and the seeds removed from the plant, the cellulose structure remaining is put into an anaerobic digester to produce biogas. From there the solids are removed from the liquids using a another graduated auger. The liquid is perfect fertilizer that can be put right back onto the harvested field, which would bolster soil expansion. Imagine that... a system that expands soil instead of depleting it. Crazy in hell, but WE think hell is crazy, heh. Anyways, the solids left over from the anaerobic digester liquid/solid separation phase, can be used in two ways, depending on your immediate needs for the land. One way is to feed those solids to a worm farm for even more soil production, red wigglers being the most efficient choice, or put them into a regular ole compost pile for further soil bolstering at a later date, or as media for potted plants, possibly in a greenhouse. Another way to use those solids, as your soil production will be reaching substantial levels at some point and making more of it will seem wasteful of good resources, biochar production is perfect. This is where the gasifier, retort, pyrolizer comes into play. The solids from the anaerobic digester go directly into a pyrolizer to be turned into biochar/charcoal. They're converted into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane (along with CO2 and nitrogen), that can be used as fuel for cooking, heating, driving, whatever, and the remaining material after the syngas/wood gas production is charcoal. That charcoal can be pellitized to be run through a gasifier for the aforementioned desires by producing syngas, and leaving pure carbon ash, or the charcoal can be used to process more anaerobic digester solids later. Possibly even in combination as a gasifier AND retort... AND STILL simultaneously. That was another project I was planning on, but didn't get to because, well, you know. So... you plant sunflowers, rapeseed, flaxseed, peanuts, whatever. Harvest the oil from said crop for food, cooking, soap, biodiesel, whatever you require. You then take the remaining plant material, and process it into an anaerobic digester for biogas production. The liquid from the digester goes back onto the field as fertilizer, and the solids become feedstock for a syngas plant, or compost scheme with worms, or aerobic microbes as the benefactors, leaving you with even more soil. The material used for syngas production is is turned into biochar/charcoal, which is later used for more syngas production. Now you're left with essentially pure wood ash. But wait, THERE'S MORE!

If it were me, I'd just put the ashes into a compost pile or worm farm... but every so often use it for potassium hydroxide production. Wood ash is very very basic. To the point of being caustic even, and that's due to the excessive levels of potassium remaining in the carbon. Fairly simple to process, though. Dump the wood ash into a bucket (and that's any type of wood ash by the way, but we're focusing on the crop processing system now), fill the bucket with water and stir. Stir periodically several times for a couple of days. After a couple of days, you allow the solution to settle the ash out. Then you decant the potassium hydroxide water solution into a separate bucket, and dump the remaining wood ash into the compost. From there you reduce the solution until the proper water to potassium hydroxide ratio is adequate for whatever you are using it for. Making soaps has its own ratio depending on the recipe, and using it for biodiesel production has its own ratio depending on the titration of whatever oil stocks you're using. There's tables and equations for this that are extremely vast and impossible to remember the variations of, so whatever stocks you plan on using, I suggest getting literature on it. In the old days before the oil economy mind fucked everyone into subservience to selfishness and stupidity, eggs were used to determine the potassium hydroxide ratio to water. Especially for soap making. Apparently, an egg will float in the optimal saturation level leaving an exposed area of the egg shell above the waterline about the size of a nickel. I haven't done this personally, but people have been making soap since body odor and nappy hair has been a thing, so it's a very old process. How big the egg needs to be for accuracy, how warm the solution needs to be, etc is not known to me, but again, having applicable literature to stifle confusion is recommended. Of course if you're not needing the solution immediately, you could reduce the solution all the way to the crystalization stage. Not much to this. Just boil off all the water until you're left with pure potassium hydroxide crystals, then save it somewhere until you need it for whatever reason. And there it is. From crop growth, to maximization of every resource the plant has to offer, and back to soil for more crop growth. By the way, using sunflowers could also be very beneficial for Bees' honey production to further improve gravity in ethanol making... if that's what you want to do with the fruit juice, but with so many other fuel sources and the capabilities to access all of them, it's probably best to just enjoy a nice cold glass of apple juice, heh. Thanks for getting a fruit press. I don't think I've gotten the opportunity to rant like this in such depth. I can't seem to get most people to even consider listening to me explain syngas production, much less my unified carbon neutral farming ideas.

From #597

August 14 2022 2:18PM

Thanks about the email. It's been a while since I went on a rant like that, heh. It's always been strange to me why farmers don't grow their own fuel, and maximize the carbon neutrality. It's very beneficial to the land, the equipment, the plants and animals, and the farmer's income. But I've yet to meet a farmer in person who even tries. They all seem to stifle profits by maximizing the anhydrous nitrogen applications, which kills the soil, use as much crude oil derived diesel as possible, and let everything other than their crop specific product die, rot away and turn to dust. There's so much opportunity there, and it's just wasted, while they simultaneously destroy their own land and poison the water. I suspect it's because they get financially invested in certain types of equipment, get into a routine with it, and shun anything that challenges them to reevaluate their investments. I know there's small pockets of farmers out there that are open to possibility, and even fewer that have actually implemented a truly sustainable solution without maximizing their profits. The large biogas producers in England come to mind. They literally grow crops just to rot them to feed their digester. Super wasteful, but profitable large scale. None of them utilizes pyrolysis, but they do reapply the liquids back onto the land. So there's lots of people doing pieces of the unified ideology, but nobody, at least that I've met, is doing everything.

From #644

September 25 2022 1:26AM

So, when it comes to wood gasifiers, the simplest method is to use a 4 stroke engine. I'm not really familiar with the generator you have, so I don't recall if it's a 4 stroke or 2 stroke. The easiest way to tell is by locating an oil reservoir. If it has an oil reservoir, it's a 4 stroke, if not, it's a 2 stroke. There are ways of using a 2 stroke engine with syngas and biogas. It's not impossible, but it can be tricky. In most modern 2 stroke engines, the oil is mixed in with the gasoline. From the fuel tank, that oil and gas mixture gets drawn through the crankcase to lube the bearings, journals, and cylinders. If you were using syngas or biogas, you would have to figure out how to get those internal components oiled with an oil reservoir. 2 stroke engines are essentially the predecessor to 4 stroke engines. What used to be done with older crude oil engines, diesel 2 strokes, ethanol engines etc, before valves and camshafts made 4 stroke engines more practical for heavy usage, is porting oil drip lines wherever necessary. This was (and sometimes still is) how steam engines get oiled. A simple hole drilled into a nonessential, no wear section, with a small reservoir of oil, controlled by a butterfly valve for heavy or light application, and the oil just drips onto the section needing oiling. My assumption is that this won't really matter for your generator, just so you know. I doubt it's a 2 stroke engine. That's just not really a good usage for a two stroke engine, specifically because of the oil gas mixture dilemma. If it's a 4 stroke engine generator, yes indeed, a gasifier is all you need.

The one in the video you linked is very cheap and easy to build. From what I remember, it's a gasifier based on wood gas directly from wood. That's important to understand in pyrolysis. There's wood gas, and syngas, with a fair amount of crossover. Pure wood gas has complications to that of syngas. Syngas is what's produced using charcoal. Wood gas is what's produced by using wood directly. Both are applicable to running a 4 stroke engine no problem. However, there are a lot more terpenes and moisture particulates in wood gas than there are in syngas. If one runs a gasifier on wood gas, you'll have to add an additional condenser (basically a version of a radiator) to cool the gas off after pyrolization. This condenser should have an accumulator at the lowest point because the moisture and terpenes will condense and accumulate in that vessel. The video you linked has that very thing. It's quite simple: a snaking pipe is the condenser, and at the bottom of the piping, he has a glass jar collecting the condensate mixture. It's important to have this feature because if you don't, and run it through your engine, those terpenes will clog injectors, or foul the carburetor. Syngas made from pure pyrolized charcoal from wood, doesn't really have that problem because the vast majority of terpenes and ALL of the water has been converted to gas and evacuated during pyrolysis. Therefore, you can run syngas directly into a carburetor intake (and this is generally speaking because it will always depend on the quality of the charcoal, but you know...) and you'll be just fine. Some do mixtures of both wood and charcoal, and some dictate their systems based on whatever is available. If you're not planning on making a lot of charcoal in a large retort furnace, plan on building a condenser and accumulator included system. That way it won't matter what the input materials are. There is no limit to the amount of engines wood gas and syngas will run, by the way. Sensors in modern vehicles will cause concern, but as far as just running the engine itself? Wood gas and syngas will power them very well. The only issue is the gumming up of internal components if the gas is not relieved of the terpenes and moisture. Gasify, definitely! Especially where you live. All of those carbohydrates usually just get composted or otherwise rot in a landfill anyways. It's essentially free energy at least to you. Funny thing is, if you do it correctly, people will pay you to dispose of their "waste," so often times you can make money, which makes it better than free energy... at least to you. If you start building gasifiers for everyone, people's yards, and the entire environment for that matter, will be a lot cleaner and you won't be paid to "dispose" of yard debris, though. I know... it's a terrifying concept, lol.

-the above is a reply to this: I bought an electric shop heater. I debated with myself whether it was a good idea, but I decided I would try to figure out what could and couldn't be done with it. The heater has to be plugged in: there are no batteries. It's rated for 1500 watts, 110-130 volts. When I asked you about that 3.5HP Sportsman generator back in July, I thought you said that it looked like it would be "a decent candidate for syngas and biogas, as far as generators go." Did you mean that I could use a gasifier to directly power a mass produced gas generator, which would normally take gasoline? And would this be with or without modifying the generator?


October 18 2022 3:32AM

This just popped up on my suggested list. It's great, and highly accurate. Plain to see that the creator of this documentary was inspired by historical accuracy and not influenced by propaganda or financial interests. Very rare these days. Hopefully you can find the time to watch it, and also, give you a better foundation for speaking about wood gas and syngas. I have the impression that "boomers," and really anyone that consistently argues in favor of crude oil economy ethics (usually without even realizing they're doing so), doesn't have access to this type of information, presented in such a comprehensive way. At the very least, I hope you enjoy it. I know I did.


From #685

November 18 2022 4:23PM

On water farming:

It's more than anything, a passive system, but given the dilemma of freshwater saturation in the thermohaline conveyor, and the weather anomalies that has created, as of right now, it's not really passive, but more so a direct defensive strategy to combat the unrelenting idiocy of our forefathers. The benefits include a tremendous accumulation of freshwater bodies growing fish, plant life, and drinking water, which will then cutback the reliance on wildlife depletion. As well as the continuous usage of syngas and biogas from the life forms created from the water farming ponds and lakes.

From #713

December 28 2022 10:07PM

I had a relatable discussion about this sort of thing recently, and it's been a struggle. I try to get Scott to understand the basics of pyrolysis in regards to biogas and syngas production with the resources available to him. Mainly tumbleweeds, and the community's planted, and watered vegetation that just rots away every year. It stemmed from him, and my dad wanting to buy generators after the sudden hike in fuel prices. I hammered home the inherent inability to feed these generators with sequestered hydrocarbon sources, because the generators they were planning on buying ran on propane, gasoline, or butane, and in a collapse scenario, these sources will be very difficult to acquire. So, I started with the basics of pyrolysis; wood gas specifically. I offered to help Scott build a retort, gasifier, and a pyrolysis reactor for plastics so that he could run a generator on trash, weeds, and environmental waste. He countered with "but that's not as efficient as gasoline and propane," and, "how much will I have to process as opposed to gasoline and propane to get the equivalent energy?" What he was really saying to me was "I'd rather keep using gasoline and propane, while being lazy watching television, and hoping for an alternative that allows me to keep being lazy, while providing an equal or better energy density." Neither of them bought a generator, and neither of them have learned anything about pyrolysis, and yet I keep trying to teach while offering my services free of charge. It's this same type of reluctance to act that permeates the lore of pyramid and megalith building, particularly in regards to levitation. It's like saying to humanity's maker "we'll only be stewards of the Earth, if we can sit around doing nothing during our lives." It's quite disgusting and sickening to me, especially since nobody seems to understand that this is exactly what their actions are saying, regardless of what comes out of their mouth. It's been a constant struggle throughout my life in many areas, but since my realization, I seem to have lost almost all patience with it. It's everywhere, and seemingly in all pursuances related to progress through existence itself in humanity... and it fucking pisses me off. Such wasted potential. Such laziness. So insulting and derogatory towards the creator of this existence; this unwavering entitlement, disrespect, and unappreciation. I have a contempt for it that is difficult for most to understand, ironically because of this contemptable behavior, and that feedback loop of frustration seems to never end. This "levitation thing" is just another masked attribute of laziness as far as I'm concerned. Which is unfortunate because it's a fascinating phenomenon that should be researched further... but it shouldn't be a stipulation to act, which by all accounts is exactly why it's professed by the proponents of this type of lore. "No levitation? No megalith construction..." is what they're really saying, and that's pathetic beyond disgust. /rant

From #791

May 28 2023 3:04AM

The "just leave nature alone" ideal works when destruction is the premise, but you're not doing that. There's no logical reason to be persuaded away from complimenting land. The reality is that you're doing nothing more than rearranging the resources that are already there, but also giving the land definition. When viewing this scenario from a macro position, the definition becomes clear: the Earth is a spaceship. It's important to remember that, lest projects like "knocking down the Rockies" will never happen. Then, self fulfilling doom prophecies will continue indefinitely because the Earth is seen as a scary supernatural being, whose only purpose is to try and destroy humanity. Like I said before, I appreciate the nobility and beauty of raw nature. However, worshipping and trying to preserve that nature is a losing strategy. You shouldn't be nervous about things like cutting down trees, clearing land, or digging, as long as the resources aren't wasted. Using wood gas to power all of your equipment is a net benefit to the forest. The biochar/charcoal left over from the gasification process just goes right back to the trees that remain as fertilizer. There's no loss, other than the exergy that went into photosynthesis to grow the tree. Even the almost pure carbon dioxide emissions from the exhaust on a gasifier system go right back into the trees. We've talked about this subject before. Even the most hardened people calling themselves "environmentalists" seem to lose sight of this philosophy; exergy. It's the loss of exergy that is the real culprit for this type of stress, but people seem to have a difficult time understanding the logic. I understand the philosophical nature of exergy expenditure creating angst, but as long as the plan accounts for those losses, there's no reason to fear altering nature at all. If there's one solitary principle, or rather, an encapsulation of everything I've said since my realization, it would be to understand, utilize, and improve the usage of exergy. That's what creating an equilibrium is all about, and apparently the notion of understanding exergy is the most lacking of all subject matter human wide. Nevertheless, once an equilibrium is created, there will be a surplus of exergy, whereas currently, humanity is running a deficit. That deficit is why the ideal of overshoot exists, and subsequently why omnicide is the current trajectory. EVERYTHING comes down to exergy, and you are primed and ready to utilize your land's allotment of exergy, to create a scenario where you will start to run a surplus almost immediately. That's why I'm here. Damn near anything you do to your land will make life/nature more abundant, more welcoming, and more healthy. Don't worry about just leaving brittany alone, heh.

From #794

June 4 2023 5:38AM

To speak to your example of me working on my property, the exergy which made the trees cannot be recovered: that work is already done. However, I can, as you said, rearrange the available resources in such a way that their energy will perform further useful work. As always, it is important to ensure that my actions will produce a positive EROEI. Indeed, it is possible to use resources for useful means, but it is likewise possible to do so in an inefficient way, meaning that more exergy potential (energy) is lost than that which is created and/or utilized. For example, burning wood in a campfire would be a loss, i.e. negative EROEI, at least when compared to gasifying the wood.

That's a good way of encapsulating the relationship to exergy in a very simplistic way. I would say that the maximization of these biomass sources of exergy, particularly in this context, has to do with promoting efficiency at every possible stage IN ORDER TO create an environment for the upcoming implements of further exergy exposure (planetary albedo), to also be maximized. It's not just about how to use pyrolysis to efficiently reduce the wastefulness of exergy consumption, but also to form a recycling pattern for the nutrients. Reintroducing biochar, and compost from the utilization of pyrolysis, anaerobic bio digestion, and aquaponics, would create an environment for the planetary albedo exergy to bloom excessively more carbohydrates than in a "natural," or uninhibited fashion. This is why it's not necessarily a good idea to just "leave nature alone." So it's not just about being as efficient as possible in consuming the materials that Sol's exergy has produced, but also to maximize the potential for the incoming exergy to flourish. That... is how an abundance is created, and EROEI is maximized. Erosion and entropy when left alone in a natural cycle of processing the materials to create life, at least currently, is not the most efficient method of processing and recovering the optimal amount of exergy. It is effective, and efficient, but it's not the optimal pathway for processing the materials available. Again, hopefully this makes sense. It's not just about the consumption, but also about utilizing every available source and process, to maximize the potential of inevitable exergy sources that are yet to reach Earth.

From #856

August 25 2023 6:21AM

With sugar cane, for instance, you haven't mentioned gasification.

Gasification of the bagasse is an option, but I don't like to waste resources where possible. There are many plants that cannot be used as animal feed. Those plants are where gasification is best suited. If the plant can provide sustenance to animals, it's better to use it for that purpose, and then later use the animal excrement for biogas production, followed by soil creation. It's more about maximizing the potential of any given resource, than the ability to utilize the resources in a certain way. Converting bagasse into syngas via gasification is certainly possible, and when there's an abundance of animal feed with a surplus of bagasse laying around rotting, then gasification is definitely a possibility. However, given the proper setup and skillset, it's more efficient to use the bagasse in an anaerobic bio digester to make biogas. After the biogas is made, the remnants are viable fertilizer. That takes a more well rounded approach to total efficiency, though. Currently, and for the sugar industry's time in production, the bagasse is dried, turned into briquettes or pellets, and burned in a furnace to fuel the production lines of sugar processing, or just dumped into a compost pile, and sequestered hydrocarbons are burned to fuel the production line. Even just burning the briquettes is a lot more efficient and sustainable than burning sequestered hydrocarbons. It ruins the potential of further nutrient reintroduction, and it's somewhat toxic due to the added smoke into the environment, but it is carbon neutral. It would be much more efficient, and far less toxic to gasify the bagasse, and burn the syngas to fuel production, but that takes extra equipment, skill, and foresight. Something lacking in hell, obviously. Additionally there's the production conundrum that complicates the process: centralization. Industry tries to cut as many corners as possible in search of the least amount of effort, and the most amount of profit. That equates to burning the bagasse in a furnace to fuel the production line. Very few people don't know how to dump bagasse into a chute heading for a furnace. On the inverse, very few people know how to efficiently run a gasifier. That equates to hiring lower wage workers to fill a furnace, and not hiring specialists capable of running a gasifier for higher wages. It's an economics game to the corporation, and they'll pinch pennies wherever they can.

In a decentralized environment where everyone is doing everything for themselves, this is the most efficient method, that has substantial benefits at every level. Grow the sugar cane. Harvest using animals. Extract the pulp by hand, or by using the animals to power the press (preferably a stone press wheel, with a harness attached). Convert the pulp into sugar for consumption, and everything else goes to ethanol. The bagasse is fed to the animals. The excrement is collected and put into an anaerobic bio digester to be processed into biogas. Then the processed bio digester material from biogas production is given to a worm farm to be further broken down, and produce more worms. The worms are used as aquaponic fish feed. The worm castings (excrement) are then reintroduced into the fields as the best fertilizer known to man. Then the process starts all over again. In order to make this system possible, it needs to be scaled down to a decentralized capacity. One family would be able to take care of all the various skills and tasks necessary to implement everything, because every stage offers benefits. In an industry perspective, that becomes a problem due to scale. There are several types of specialty tasks that take up a lot of capital, for little monetary gain. That means more cost to the final product, and industry hates that. So that's the most efficient, effective and sustainable approach to ethanol production with sugar cane, but it doesn't work for centralization. If there were, say, 1000 families working that massive sugar plantation in Maui, no problem. The ethanol, sugar, fertilizer, domesticated animals, fish, and crops would undoubtedly run an excessive surplus of everything. 1 massive sugar plantation with about 100-500 workers at any given time? Along with transportation costs, employee benefits, and a corporation to sustain economically? Bankruptcy is certain when slave labor is competing. The whole industry collapses, and that's exactly what happened. Anyways, yeah, gasification is possible, and efficient, even more so than burning bagasse in a furnace, but it's an extra economic cost to the bottom line of a corporation, and to them, no matter how effective a solution is, less monetary profit, or even a break even monetary policy is not worth the effort. Even if they were to run gasifiers in the mechanized equipment instead of gasoline and diesel, that would require a more capable and knowledgeable mechanic, machinists for retrofitting and maintenance, and a knowledge base that simply doesn't exist right now. There's thousands of dullards graduating college that can analyze the industry, and merge the process with overseas slave labor increasing profitability. There aren't many (if any at all) college graduates that can retrofit a crankshaft in an engine to accommodate the difference in octane between gasoline/diesel, and syngas, build a gasifier, install it, and maintain it for a production environment... and that's just the vehicles. Upscale those skills to a gasifier that can fuel a production plant, and that type of skill just doesn't exist. Trying to acquire that skill is expensive, compared to globalization frat and sorority dolts. It's complex, but that's why I didn't really mention gasification for bagasse, even though it's definitely possible.

In that scenario, another option is to return the bagasse directly to the soil, as we discussed.

That's not really a good idea. Again, it's possible, but definitely not very effective in terms of soil production. Bagasse is a polysaccharide; a very complex, tough, and rugged cellulose. DDGS is a disaccharide, and is thusly much less rugged. Cellulose can definitely be broken down and turned into soil, but it takes much longer than DDGS, or various other disaccharides/starches. The "mud" I was referring to is technically cellulose, but it's the least complex cellulose, and most refined cellulose during sugar production. The "mud" has been broken down much more than the long cellulose fibers due to the alkaline injection during the first stage of production. The alkaline acts as a caustic substance. It goes like this: the plants are pulverized, then wrung out through a press. The liquids are the pulp, and the solids are the bagasse. The pulp is fed an alkaline solution to raise the pH, which clarifies the pulp, and separates (and further breaks down) any remaining cellulose in the pulp. The pulp is then left to settle. The remaining cellulose is extracted from the pulp. Then the process continues through more clarification stages. THAT cellulose that's removed during these clarification stages is what's referred to as "mud," and that stuff is what could be returned to the soil immediately... although it'd be more efficient to use it as biogas production inputs. The bagasse removed from the initial pulping process is not a good candidate to be immediately returned to the soil. It's possible to do so, but not efficient because it would take a long time to break it down. "Mud?" Yes, immediately returned to the soil, although there are better uses. Bagasse? You can return it to the soil, but that's not a very efficient process. I apologize if I confused the two cellulose components of sugar processing.

Feeding it to farm animals whose job it is to move the sugar cane does strike me as being the most efficient option. However, if that option is not available, it's good to know what the next best possibility is.

If that option is not available, biogas production is the next best option, followed by gasification. If/when sustainable equilibrium policies become ubiquitous, cellulosic ethanol production would be competitive with biogas production. Cellulosic ethanol production is arguably better than biogas production, and definitely gasification because ethanol lasts a very long time, and can be used intermittently on demand. Storage of the fuel becomes a naturally available option to the point here, but only when equilibrium is important to the system, of which now, it's not. Cellulosic ethanol is the most efficient method of storing the fuel. Biogas production can store fuel/biogas, but it's a more complex system of management, as gas fuels require a pressurized vessel, and ethanol can be kept in a tank. Gasification gas fuel/syngas has the same issues as biogas, but it also puts a bigger strain on equipment, as gasification creates a lot of heat, and thusly the faster breakdown of the reactor. The least efficient option in fuel production, is to simply burn the bagasse in a furnace, although this is the "most efficient method" in regards to labor and skill levels... initially. The least efficient option in totality, and not just regarding fuel production, is to let bagasse rot in an aerobic digester system; compost pile. Then you lose all potential fuel production to methane emitting directly into the atmosphere, but you do make decent soil, so it's not a complete loss. Indeed, feeding the bagasse to animals for transportation and initial pulping production is the most efficient method. The bagasse turns into shit in the animal, and the shit becomes a primary source for the anaerobic bio digester, which allows further biogas production. If one implements a worm farm, that's a 4 part swing in the direction of efficiency of all available systems in play. Additionally, depending on what type of animals are utilized, and I know this sounds morbid, but the animals themselves become sustenance for the humans involved. It's probably better to use horses, mules, or donkeys for those jobs, but oxen (working cattle) can be an option. Just saying. In case you're not understanding what I'm saying regarding the pulping process regarding animal labor... here's a video to show you what I'm talking about. It's a very old tradition of animal labor...

This shows the grinding stone at about 6:54...

My impression is that carbohydrates should become ethanol, fats should become biodiesel (plus other products made in the process), DDGS should get returned directly to the soil, and everything else should be either fed to farm animals or gasified.

Basically... although DDGS should be fed into an anaerobic bio digester for biogas production, then given to worms. If that's not an option, yes, that's an option. Although DDGS is also a great animal feed. Which would then make it shit, which can be fed into an anaerobic bio digester...

Composting is a last resort to avoid entirely wasting organic matter-- and there may be cases where that is all that can be done with the matter.

Indeed, although it's not "entirely wasted" because you do get compost/fertilizer out of it. But yes, "composting" in an aerobic environment is a total loss of potential biogas production, and to further compound the inefficiency, it releases methane directly into the atmosphere, which is more difficult for the trophic web to process than carbon dioxide. But that's not really the specific topic at hand, although it is very closely related. Even so, the process is technically carbon neutral, so in an equilibrium system of management, it's not exactly a "bad thing." Just wasteful and inefficient. Yep, though, in some cases that's the only available option.

For instance, you could take a whole orange and process it directly into ethanol-- seeds, peel, fruit, leaves, and all, with no need for separation. Am I accurate, or talking out my ass?

In certain situations that's accurate, but not all. It's more accurate to say that all mashes need to be made individually because there's different requirements for each form of saccharide conversion into monosaccharides/fermentable sugar. That's an interesting concept, though. Mashing in monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides simultaneously. I've not considered the possibility of doing such a thing, but I'd assume it's not impossible. My concern would be that enzymes could get inundated to the point of inactivity, but that too doesn't seem likely. Another concern would be ensuring pH balance for each saccharide being converted, although theoretically you could adjust as you go through the activation temperatures of each enzyme. A lot of ethanol production research is based on consumables, and not so much fuel, so there's more information on how to acquire taste profiles, as opposed to maximizing the efficiency of making fuel. I'm trying to relate to this in a similar manner. For instance, making wine/brandy is a process of fermenting monosaccharides in fruit. Beer/whiskey is a process of fermenting disaccharides in grains, which thusly requires malting the grains prior to mashing in, or using enzymes that convert disaccharides into monosaccharides during the mashing in process. It'd taste like shit, but I see no real issue with mashing in grapes, wheat and malted barley. The wheat would require enzymes to convert, which would require a steeping process, or sparging, but the question is, would the acidity level of the grapes discourage enzymatic conversion of the disaccharides in wheat, into monosaccharides? I'd assume no, but I doubt there's much research on such a topic because it's not something that's been done, at least not on any type of production capacity. Converting polysaccharides is the same kind of scenario. It all depends on how robust and resilient the enzymes are in an environment already full of acids and monosaccharides. Just guessing, but I'd assume that's not an issue. You're not going to hurt the monosaccharides, but the issue is in having the proper environment for enzymatic treatment for polysaccharides, and I don't even know where to find such information... other than the Novazymes research I talked about in my book. They would know... but evidently they're not obligated to share the information. Theoretically, it doesn't seem to be fantasy, though. Worst case, doing such a thing might make the process less efficient. As I said though, you could definitely mash in all individually, monosaccharide mash, disaccharide mash, and polysaccharide mash, convert everything into monosaccharides separately, pour everything into the same fermenter, and ferment it all together. You can drive your car with it, but it'll taste like shit, lol. Not that it matters to this conversation. Just saying.

From #859

September 4 2023 2:09AM

I am wondering if there is a particular design, or deviations from "normal" cars, you had in mind.

Absolutely. If I had an unlimited budget, my go to mold of the perfect mix of efficiency, hauling capability, durability, and mass production, meaning even now, there are lots of spare parts available, is the 1999 Ford Ranger 3.0 Vulcan engine with the ethanol sensor. I'd have a fleet of them. One pure ethanol, one with the ability to use ethanol and gasoline (essentially the way they sold it, but with a few upgrades), one for biogas, one running a gasifier, and one that I'd retrofit a liquid piston engine in, where I could run anything from hydrogen to gasoline, but it'd be mostly experimental to find the optimal fuel.

… Also, I think it's worth noting that I failed to notice a difference between "gasification" and "biogas production." I ass-umed they were the same thing. Talk about language degeneration. So gasification refers only to syngas production, right?

Yeah... I noticed. No biggie. I bet a lot of what I was talking about seemed confusing, though, heh. Okay, so... gasification takes carbohydrates in wood gas and syngas, and dissociates the bonds of carbon and hydrogen at very high temperatures. Those gases become hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane, along with the terpenes that cannot be dissociated from the gasification temperatures, and expels them from the reactor. Wood gas is made from raw carbohydrates: wood, starches, fruits, whatever plant based... can all be gasified, and that gas from gasification is called "wood gas." Similarly, but not the same, syngas requires an extra step for the carbohydrates to go through before gasification. Charcoal is a type of syngas producer. Charcoal is made by putting carbohydrates (mainly wood [any wood]) into a retort furnace, where the sap, water, and terpenes are vaporized out of the wood, leaving just pure carbohydrates behind. Burning this charcoal in a gasifier is more efficient than wood gas because you get much less contaminants in the form of terpenes and water, because they've already been removed by the retort furnace step. Biogas is methane that's been made through the decay of organic materials. Farts... are "biogas," as an example. The methane from compost piles is biogas. The methane from permafrost melting is biogas. There are many forms of biogas, but... it's difficult to capture. In an anaerobic bio digester, it's very easy to capture, though. Methane is not the only gas in biogas. There's almost always a percentage of sulphur, and it's usually in the form of sulphur dioxide... which is why rotting things stink. Scrubbing the sulphur is not difficult, and can be done with iron, usually in the form of steel wool in an inline filter. I understand the confusion here. Biogas production is turning a solid organic material into a gas through a biotic intermediary. In that sense, making biogas is technically "gasifying" solids. However, the nomenclature gasification in this context is considered abiotic. Using heat to dissociate the solids into gaseous form is specific to the nomenclature. It makes sense that it's confusing...

Biogas- allowing the breakdown of organic materials through the use of bacteria, yeast, etc, to produce methane. Biotic.

Wood gas- using raw plant matter in a heated reactor to dissociate carbon, hydrogen, and volatiles into a gas. Abiotic.

Syngas- using a retort furnace to make charcoal from raw plant matter. Then, putting the charcoal into a heated reactor to dissociate carbon, hydrogen, and any trace volatiles. Abiotic.

All three can run engines just fine, but there are steps that need to be taken to make each individual fuel efficient for the engine it's running.


September 16 2023 7:37AM

Apologies for going off topic of what we've been discussing, but this video just got recommended to me. We've covered Sterling engines before, so there's nothing too complex about the information, but there's a really neat engine running 4 cylinders in this video, and I thought you might like it. One idea for running these types of engines could be to run the heating elements in the downdraft side of a gasifier system to increase efficiency. Most gasification tries to remove heat after the wood, charcoal, plastic, etc is combusted in the reactor. Usually that's done by putting a series of radiator coiled tubing that is cooling the gas using ambient air available, or in a vehicle setup, the wind from driving. It wouldn't be difficult to notch the cooling pipe, and put bulbs right in the pathway of the exiting gasification gases. Lots of possibilities... but anyway, check out this little 4 cylinder Sterling. Pretty neat...

He shows it at 9:51

Apparently you can buy these. I followed the link he put in the comment section... but I'm not suggesting you actually buy one. It's more of a novelty than an engine you'd actually use for generating power.

I'll talk to you later...


From #869

September 17 2023 9:03PM

Methane, volatiles from gasification, ethanol even, are converted to carbon dioxide through combustion, then the carbon dioxide is passed through a catalyst at a specific temperature, and transmutation creates methanol. Where the hydrogen comes from is the tricky part. Regarding gasification gases, the hydrogen is present, as hydrogen is what makes gasification gases truly viable as a fuel source, especially on a small and decentralized scale. My assumption, and it is just a guess, is the majority of hydrogen used for the industrialized version of catalytic conversion induced methanol, is straight from the water in the air. All of this discussion is academic in nature mind you, because as you might have figured out, creating methanol in this way is a net negative EROEI, in totality, and that's before you add the cost of transportation of the methanol to fill stations. Heating, and maintaining the heat during production of the catalyst, negates the fuel gains after the fact.

I hadn't assumed that website was Indian. I'd assumed it was Swedish actually, but the translation was direct from Swedish to English, which creates a lot of those "faux pas" type language mistakes, although you could be correct. Regardless, I definitely wasn't suggesting you buy one of those models/toys. You could make your own if you wanted one now, anyway. The bulbs would be inline downstream of the gasification gases, by the way, so they'd probably require steel. I'm essentially referring to the heated portion of the cylinder in a Sterling engine when I say "bulbs" in this context. There's a few different ways to capture the heat for powering a Sterling engine. One way is to directly heat the cylinder head. Another is to heat a jacket around the cylinder head, as to not warp or melt the actual cylinder itself. I was thinking the "bulbs" in that context would be steel, and the cylinder would be aluminum, but it's possible to use several different types of configurations, as long as it doesn't do damage to the engine itself. Gasification gases just after the reactor could be as high as 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's too hot for aluminum. I suppose you could make the Sterling engine cylinder out of cast iron if you wanted to eliminate the "bulb," and just insert the cylinder head directly in the downstream pipe. I just used the waste heat from a gasifier as an "off the top of my head idea," by the way. That's just one of many possibilities for using waste heat.

From #870

I reread some stuff about the "wood alcohol," production of methanol, and it seems as though I've confused some of the terms regarding your question about methanol. In recent years I've converted "wood alcohol" as a nomenclature to "bio crude," to stop confusion. Apparently that just backfired on me. Yes, you can use what's known as dry distillation to make methanol from wood gas and syngas, but it's a very dirty process. All the terpenes will integrate into the methanol outside of extremely rigid lab type setups, where temperatures are exact, pressure is highly regulated, and distillation is above 80% conversion rates. Even then, it's still difficult to get pure methanol with a percentage of terpenes integrated. So, there's pure methanol, and then there's wood alcohol that's been infiltrated by non combustible materials (terpenes). I call the latter "bio crude," and that's where I was confused about what you were asking. Yes, making "methanol" (that's very diluted with contaminants) from distilling wood gas is a very ancient process, and very well known. It's easy, but it's also fairly toxic. You would want to purify the methanol from bio crude several times before you used it in an engine, plus the EROEI is still negative, as that specific portion of methanol is made by plants in life... so that's essentially where the fermentation you were asking about happens. Your body also makes methanol, by the way. You expel it from your body at the rate of less than 5 parts per million. Plants make a little more than that, but that's the ratio we're talking about in "the dry distillation of methanol." It equates to roughly 0.0005% of the totality of gases. That's why using a catalyst is far superior, as that equates to anywhere from 50%-80% conversion to methanol, depending on how sophisticated the equipment is. I'm sorry. This time trying to simplify terminologies bit me. There is methanol in bio crude, but that's not the only distillate, which is why I don't like the term "wood alcohol" being conflated with "methanol."


September 18 2023 2:43AM

It goes like this...

1) Wood gas from the dry distillation method that produces methanol.

The methanol available is made by the plant in small quantities. More depending on the species of plant, but regardless it's the least proficient method of making methanol. Equates to roughly 0.001%-0.0005 percent methanol by volume. A 6" wide log, 12" in length, will at best yield you a couple of tablespoons of pure methanol, and a significant amount of terpenes.

2) Fermentation of monosaccharides to produce methanol through distillation.

Methanol is made as a byproduct of making ethyl alcohol, or "ethanol." As explained, this comes down to the feedstock of fermentation. Fruits high in acid, pectin, waxes, etc, will produce more methanol than feedstocks that have smaller quantities of these impurities. The yield of methanol is still relatively small by proportion. A 10 gallon mash will produce roughly a couple of cups of methanol, depending on the fermentation parameters and feedstock.

3) Wood gas from a gasification reactor, using a catalyst to induce transmutation.

This is where percentages are greatly improved. Raw wood is gasified in a reaction chamber. Few combustibles survive the reaction, but some terpenes do make it. The terpenes are filtered out, and the hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane are passed through a heated catalyst to transmute the raw elements into methanol. I've heard upwards of 50%-80% conversion capabilities depending on the equipment.

4) Syngas from charcoal in a gasifier, using a catalyst to induce transmutation.

Same as number 3, but without the need of filtering out terpenes. Again, I've heard anywhere from 50%-80% conversion rates.

5) Hydrogenation of carbon dioxide into methanol.

This is where sophistication starts running wild. Using liquid carbon dioxide, and liquid hydrogen, pressure is elevated significantly within the reaction chamber. The two liquids are passed over a catalyst, and form methanol that's distilled after the reactor. This is a very complex process that requires an enormous amount of energy just to make liquid carbon dioxide and liquid hydrogen. Then a highly sophisticated system of valves and meters is carefully managed in order to not blow everything up, and be as efficient as possible. To my knowledge this is still in its infancy, and not fully scaled to industrial levels, but they boast of 95% conversion rates into pure methanol.

6) Who knows what types of experiments are taking place...

There's a lot of different methods of using carbon dioxide and hydrogen to make a viable fuel. New alloys being tested as catalysts, research projects, etc, and they're all funded by "environmental groups" desperately trying to maintain the complexity of modern society, by "finding a viable alternative to crude oil..." of which there is none. Every method of producing methanol in an abiotic experiment will inevitably be reduced to the EROEI conundrum, and it's net negative. Regardless, they'll keep wasting funding and time trying to jam the square peg into the round hole.

And that just about accounts for my knowledge on methanol. As you'll probably recall from many of our previous discussions, I specifically separate wood gas and syngas... for exactly this reason. Many do not separate wood gas as its own standalone product from gasification. The two are often conflated, and the separation between 1, 3, and 4 listed above are confusing to anyone who didn't graduate college as a chemist. Okay... I think I'm good now. Howsabout'chu? Less confused? More confused? Either way, I don't know if I have the knowledge to further dissect this topic: methanol, so I hope the answer is less, lol.



November 8 2023 6:08PM

Well... I'm going to answer the last portion now, despite the exclamation points, heh.

The production of bio crude is a different type of process than "standard" gasification. It is a type of gasification, but the temperature range is different, and the process requires the elimination of oxygen within the reaction chamber. This is why a retort furnace is necessary, as opposed to a downdraft gasifier. I'd assume there's a lot of confusion with this point because the term "gasification" implies a universal process, and that's not the case.

Making bio crude is very similar to the process of making diesel from plastic. You stuff a retort furnace with wood, of any kind... yes, even hemp or cannabis. The retort is sealed to eliminate the intrusion of oxygen. The only opening on a retort furnace is the exhaust. External heat is applied to the retort furnace, raising the temperature to the ignition point of the wood. Without oxygen, the wood doesn't ignite. Everything other than the charcoal is then gasified, and the building pressure forces it into the exhaust port. Those gases are then distilled. The fluid that accumulates is called bio crude. It contains many terpenes, and any volatile fluids that the plant produces during growth. There's also a lot of water and gases that require cryogenics to liquefy in distillation, so it's a difficult process to recover EVERYTHING useful in fuel making. Once the bio crude is collected, further refinements are done to categorize the conglomerate into the respective fluids; an almost identical process to distilling crude oil. Actually, it IS identical to the distillation of crude oil.

Gasification of wood gas, and syngas is a different process. There is no retort furnace. Instead, a downdraft gasification reactor is used. The column of the reactor is filled with wood for wood gas (any type of wood), and/or charcoal for syngas production. Usually a combination of the two is used, but it's not a requirement. A vacuum is then pulled beyond the downdraft to force intake air downwards into the reactor. Hence, downdraft gasifier. In this system, the wood is taken well beyond the temperature of ignition, and sustained, with oxygen free flowing into the reactor. These temperatures are much higher, if the reactor is well designed. Temperatures in excess of 2000 degrees are possible. The goal is to get the heat up as much as possible, because the heat itself is what dissociation requires to break the bonds of the hydrogen and carbon in hydrocarbons, and carbohydrates. The gases that release beyond the ignition point of the downdraft reactor, if everything is reacting correctly, mainly hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small percentage of methane. Anything that didn't combust in the reactor, dissociate into atoms from the hydrocarbon molecule, and become a wood gas gas, were too dense or heavy to dissociate, and instead vaporized. These types of gases contain a significant amount of terpenes, and are distilled in the post-reactor section of a downdraft gasification system. You could call that fluid a type of bio crude, but it's much different than the type of bio crude produced from a retort furnace. It will be extremely viscous, packed with terpenes, and without thermal cracking, will be useless as a fuel. The fluid will very closely resemble bitumen, but without all of the REALLY nasty terpenes that contain heavy metals... at least a significant amount less than the crude oil counterparts.

Now... the making of ethanol; cellulosic ethanol or otherwise, does not produce any significant amounts of bio crude. It's a much different process. Enzymes break down the polysaccharides into monosaccharides. The monosaccharides are then fermented into ethanol using yeast. In a 100% efficient fermentation process (and no, the process is not 100% efficient), after the yeast has worked off, there would be nothing other than ethanol, water, and yeast in the vessel. Since it's not 100% efficient, and since there are terpenes, waxes, and other contaminants in cellulose, those chemicals will remain intact. During distillation those contaminants do get distilled at some percentage, but the majority of them stay in the still during distillation. For the contaminants that do travel up the still, and become part of the distillate fluid, they are usually immediately filtered out by charcoal, that sits in a funnel above the collection vessel. Those fluids are referred to as "fusol oils," generally speaking. They're very thick and milky in appearance, and other than just filtering them out and discarding, I don't really recall a viable use for them. Terpenes usually stay within the ethanol to some degree, though. You could label fusol oils as a form of terpenes, but the terpenes chemicals in ethanol that haven't amassed into an oil, are difficult to fully remove. Terpenes in ethanol are easy to detect. The essence of the feedstock in fermentation (watermelon, oranges, corn, whatever) are detectable in taste and smell. Using a reflux still allows for a more refined ethanol, free-r from terpenes, but it's never 100% free of terpenes. If one were to try completely, 100% removing all terpenes from ethanol, that fluid would not be considered "bio crude." Personally, I'd just call it "backings," or "backwash," and it'd be discarded along with the other backings in the still after distillation. So... no. Bio crude would not be an issue with ethanol making, cellulosic or otherwise, and that includes the production of cellulosic ethanol from hemp and cannabis... or any other "wood," or plant species. However, the production of fusol oils could vary from species to species. Obviously I don't have firsthand knowledge of the volume of fusol oils that could be present from making cellulosic ethanol from cannabis, or any other wood... yet... hopefully. I doubt that information exists anywhere in humanity presently. It could be a lot, but not as much as trees and plants that produce a lot of waxes, lignans, pectin, etc. Cannabis does produce a lot of oils (THC, and other cannabinoids), but hopefully anyone that's making cellulosic ethanol from cannabis, removes the flowers containing those oils BEFORE any fermentation or distillation happens. There's plenty of uses for cannabinoids BEFORE they unceremoniously become fusol oils, lol. The actual cellulose in the stocks, branches and twigs, generally do not contain any significant amounts of fusol oils. At least not any more than a comparable species of the same genus: bamboo, corn, etc (large woody grasses essentially). That's why hippies refer to cannabis as "grass" by the way. At least that's my guess.

Hopefully that preemptively answers the question you didn't want me to answer, lol. Bio crude production is a very messy process, but it can be useful, given the proper engineering. Any and all charcoal produced, ever, is making "bio crude." Usually those gases are just vented into the atmosphere and congregate with water, thusly getting dispersed into the environment. It's a very natural process. Hell... even forest fires produce bio crude that disperses everywhere. In conjunction with a well designed retort furnace, a distillation apparatus can be used to accumulate bio crude much more effectively. The overwhelming majority of people that make charcoal simply don't do so. It's just one more, of many... wasted potential resources of fuel that even charcoal producers themselves don't usually know about. All in all, though, to the point of your question, ethanol production is very different than any form of gasification. A particular variety of gasification produces bio crude, and ethanol production has zero crossover with that process.

I'm well versed, and experienced in the methods of refining cannabinoids, which I was tempted to explain, but that's outside of the focus here. If you'd like a rundown on those procedures, let me know. I just don't want you to think that refined cannabinoids are "bio crude," in the sense of this discussion. In reality, cannabinoids ARE bio crude, but the process of refining cannabinoids is much different than the process of gasification in a retort furnace, for the explicit purpose of making bio crude. The two processes are nothing alike. Just wanted that to be clear. So, now that I've answered the question you didn't want me to answer, hopefully this gives you a boost in understanding bio crude, as well as why bio crude is not an issue in regards to ethanol production; cellulosic or otherwise. Thank you very much once again for your donation. I'll talk to you later.


From #898

November 8 2023 9:48PM

Furthermore, this process of extraction is very similar to how "activated charcoal" is made. After the retort furnace gasification process, the charcoal is gathered. Since nothing is perfect, and terpenes are long chain hydrocarbon derivatives, there are terpenes still in the charcoal. Using the same strategy of packing a column, the charcoal is put into a reflux column. Using distilled water is preferred, especially for medical grade activated charcoal. The still is filled with distilled water, and boiled. The steam travels through the charcoal, stripping it of anything other than carbon, the liquid is distilled (and usually discarded). What's left remaining in the column is "activated charcoal." I've also done this. It too, is very easy, and can save millions of people, millions of dollars, if they'd just reactivate the charcoal filters in their Brita, Berkey, or whatever consumerist trinket they use to filter their water. I've even tried explaining this to people, only to be told "that's just a waste of time," or "I'd rather just buy a new one." Anyways, the distilled liquid from making activated charcoal is also considered fusol oil, and it too is just another form of terpenes. There's probably some usage for it, but it's more of a nuisance... in this process.


December 24 2023 11:32PM

Some good news today... Gridlessness on YouTube has finally made (but more than likely bought) a wood gasifier. I don't leave comments on YouTube because it's disgusting to me when anyone gives the equivalent of "brought to you by Carl's Jr" by saying "like, subscribe, and leave a comment." I've taken the position of outright boycotting the practice. However, sometimes it's very difficult to do so. I bite my tongue extremely often. Today's Gridlessness video was one of those occasions. After they've been at this "off grid lifestyle" now for 20ish years... they've finally started dipping their toes into real carbon neutrality. In the past they've experimented with anaerobic bio digestion, but other than that, carbon neutrality doesn't seem to be a big priority. What really makes it frustrating is they live in a very dense forest, and run a sawmill on a regular basis. Additionally, it seems they're going to be making electricity from the wood gas, which is also wasteful. All of that said, it's a good step to take. I look at gasification as the entry point for carbon neutrality. Everyone should be utilizing it.

I've taken on a new challenge with the neighbor Scott. For years now I've been trying to talk him into building a wood gasifier, and he just won't listen. In the last few months I've been insinuating, in a way, that he should get into woodworking. It started from him wanting a nice stand for his BBQ. So I started dropping hints that he should build it himself. I also mentioned cutting boards, taught him about the difference between standard and end grain, and he decided he also wants to make those. Just this week he's bought a table saw, a router, and a bunch of measuring equipment. I'm teaching him everything about the craft, but he seems hypnotized by YouTube woodworking grifters, and he has a bunch of ideas that are wasteful. I'm struggling to maintain a calm disposition about this foolish stuff, but it's getting harder. Anyways, the entire point of this, which I haven't been upfront with him about entirely, is to get him accumulating wood dust and chips. Then... I can try to instill the point of wood gasification. There are thousands of tumbleweeds littering the sides of the roads here. If I can just get him interested in gasification through not being wasteful with the wood chips, then maybe I can get him off grid by gasification. That's the whole point. And damn it's frustrating trying to manipulate people in this way. It's for their own benefit, but it's as if they would rather fight me in every way conceivable than to just listen.

People seem to want to be lied to. I'm upfront and honest about everything, and it gets no traction outside of a rare few, like you. I feel like Not Sure in Idiocracy, trying to explain why plants need water instead of Brawndo, only to be argued against by morons that keep telling me "Brawndo has what plants crave... It's got electrolytes." Not sure just gives up and tells the idiots that the plants told him they'd rather have water. This gasification thing with Scott is him essentially arguing in favor of being a slave, and paying wasteful energy bills because that's what his house wants, and "everybody else is doing it." I've now resorted to appealing to his ego with this woodworking project, just to free him from his self imposed shackles. Now it seems he's on a spending spree, buying every useless thing any grifter says is a good idea. It just doesn't make sense to me how others think. I feel so alien; so foriegn to everyone else. I don't want to be lied to. I don't want a sales pitch... but everyone else does, and that's just not how I'm built. I'm still trying to break through these notions, but I feel dirty doing so in this way.

Anyways, I just wanted to catch you up on the happenings here, even though it's boring compared to your stuff. This is just gasification. It seems almost ludicrous to even attempt trying to teach ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, other forms of pyrolysis, radiolysis, cavitation, air pressure, or nitinol. I'm thankful for your disposition on these matters more than you know. You calm me in ways you can't see. Thank you. Merry Christmas, and I hope you had a wonderful day with your boyfriend. Talk to you later.



December 26 2023 7:09PM

I watched that Gridlessness video a while ago. If memory serves he was trying to find the optimum oxygen methane ratio for making an explosion. So his goal was childish, but the video was probably the main concern. As in "hey guys, watch me blow up this thing... and don't forget to like and subscribe!" Some time ago he also built a rudimentary and crude retort furnace for making charcoal, which he later turned into gun powder to blow something up. I suppose that's what really irks me; he (and most others that delve into carbon neutral energy) treat it like a toy, or some one-off science project where they just want to see if it's possible. Here's the gun powder video...

Apparently he's making the next video dedicated to the "new" wood gasifier. In the latest video the theme was essentially "look at how great my lifestyle is." While touring the shop, the camera pans toward the gasifier system. He briefly brags about it, and says that the next video he makes will be about it. Here's the latest video. The first appearance is at about 12:27. Then, at about 15:15 he talks about how in the next video, they'll be "turning wood into electricity."

As soon as I saw the gasifier I knew what it was, so I didn't need him to be specific in order to make the connection. One thing I will say is that considering the size of the gasifier he made or bought, it's not going to be substantial at all. Maybe enough for a small generator that could power a table saw, or something like that. My hope is that he uses it to power his saw mill, but I doubt it. Again, this guy's general disposition is flighty, childish, and unsophisticated. I doubt the project has any more depth than just a big toy... to him. The anaerobic bio digester is in this same category. Small, experimental, and not set up for efficient production. The inner tube is a fairly decent way to store biogas on a small scale. I've seen it before. It's best to vacuum the tube of any atmosphere before filling it with biogas, but again, his entire shtick is experimental. I don't want to give the wrong impression here, by the way. He and his wife homeschool their children, so it's probable that these experiments are done to aide in lessons for the kids. My frustration is that they could be so much more. At least he's doing SOMETHING. The inner tube system for storing biogas, and the flash arrestor (running it through a water tank) is about as rudimentary as you can get. It would be better to pressurize the biogas into a tank system, very similar to how propane is stored. That type of system is a lot more common and easier to retrofit for biogas than people think. I thought I sent you this video, but maybe I didn't. This one is a college professor interviewing a pig farmer in Nebraska, that's converted his entire farm into one large pig manure based bio digester. He runs a generator 24 hours a day that powers his farm, and then sells the excess electricity to the grid. Additionally, he runs his tractor and truck on the biogas, at a 90:10 ratio of biogas and diesel. My suspicion is that they're both stock engines, and the mixture runs more efficient. His big generator is pure biogas, though, and is probably retrofitted with a better crankshaft to optimize compression in the cylinders. Regardless, this is the type of system everyone with animals, SHOULD be using. THIS is what I try to promote, and was trying to build when the realization happened.

The compression equipment is very common. Any oxygen accumulator can be used to compress gas. It's trickier trying to use a common pump/vacuum because they're generally not very robust, which means there's a constant threat of leakage. That's a serious concern for flammable gas. Precautions are necessary, and doing things in the way the Gridlessness guy does them will not suffice. That's a good way to get blown up. My other main gripe about this "half-ass-ing strategy," is that the manufacturing of the equipment itself is basically of no concern. You sort of mentioned that with the comments on welding. It's possible to have machined fittings anywhere you see welds. Further, the main concern with a rudimentary approach, or even a well engineered approach, is that the equipment will have to be bought... if the farmer doesn't have the ability to make things himself. You see, all of these strategic positions on applying energy, first require the operator to have the capability to replace ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in the system. Otherwise, you've reduced nothing in the realm of reliance upon a centralized system. This is why I stress, first and foremost, the dialogue of precision. Next, machining. After those types of things are in place, not only can one build and maintain a complex system, but they can also build and maintain secondary units to the system. Let's say the pig farmer's main generator engine nukes itself by throwing a rod. The entire bio digester would be useless until he gets it fixed by someone else. That's where the real problem lies. One can experiment with these things, but until they can account for ALL possible failures that will inevitably occur, the system is still reliant on a centralized approach to resource management. The Gridlessness guy, even if the attempts are truly righteous, is dependent on a grid system, better stated as a centralized system. While he's trying to make wood gas, he's not even thinking about how to make an engine that it can run on. Maybe he's thinking about rebuilding an engine, but that's very different to the process of MACHINING an engine. So, he's essentially skipped over, AND trivialized the most important aspect of true Gridlessness. He has a rudimentary (if at all) relationship with precision, and probably no machining experience at all. What that equates to is an everlasting reliance upon a complex supply chain of machinists, materials, and fuel, to maintain EVERYTHING he has in his arsenal of attempted "off grid" strategies... and it bothers me. That goes for everyone else that tries to adopt these nomenclatures into their lives, without understanding the broader scope. And it's not like he doesn't have the time to learn. He just chooses not to, probably because he can't self reflect at those depths. Gridlessness? I see nothing but grid ties when I watch those videos... and it doesn't have to be that way. I'm certain that the kids (girls) in those videos would be enthusiastic to learn these types of intricacies, and rectify their knowledge base. They remind me of you, Kim. It's very difficult to bullshit you, and I see that in them. That's the type of conscience that listens to me... because I skip right through the bullshit. Anyways, I don't want to tear down the guy too much. He is trying, but it's just so damn childish and inadequate sometimes, when it could be truly special.

The way I envision this system, and any other system of energy production, is based on air pressure. The internal combustion engine powers a pump. Any other type of energy production system just powers pumps that feed air pressure to a tank bank. The problem with an electric system is that you have to charge the system at capacity, whether the energy is being used or not. That means the fuel will be burning, and the internal combustion engine running, nonstop. Much more wear and tear, and a shorter life for the equipment. One way around that is to have a battery bank that captures the electricity to be used on demand later. It comes down to complexity within the system, and cost. There's not much complexity to an air tank. It can be forge welded on both ends, and a spigot, or valve to charge and use the pressure. Easy to make, easy to repair, and easy to replace by recycling the actual tank. Batteries are not simple. They require a lot of complexity, especially if the system is high powered. Cooling equipment, charge controllers, pure copper wiring and other components, etc etc etc. They're extremely difficult to recycle, dangerous when overloaded, or overworked, and can create extremely toxic byproducts when they fail. If an air tank blows up, it's not flammable. That's why everything should be geared toward air pressure. If you need it, the air pressure can make electricity. It's all about efficiency, but more specifically, a cradle to cradle standpoint of efficiency, during, and beyond one's lifespan. Sure, welding can be used. Air pressure to generator. Obviously in a vacuum induction furnace, electricity in required. Air pressure to generator. When a project is completed, you simply turn off the air pressure, and there it stays in a tank, waiting for the next project. Electric grids of any size are not like that. They're wasteful, and when large enough, become toxic. THAT is how I see everything in the future. Yes, electricity will be used, but not the way it's used now. That's just foolish. By the way, that gasifier in the video you linked back to me is about the same size as the one the Gridlessness guy has. The welds aren't as important as what went into making the electricity that made the welds, but as this (probably tiring to you now) rant suggests, the complexity of the inherent system is of the utmost importance, while it's generally dismissed as trivial to most. Hopefully that answers your question.

As far as Scott is concerned, he's basically just an overly confident boomer, with very little technical capability to understand what I try to tell him. That doesn't mean he doesn't try to fake it, and when faking it, he rapidly changes subjects, or tries to use references that (in his opinion) are more qualified to explain what I'm explaining. He, like most boomers, are entirely reliant on the certification standards of this oil economy system. I've sat here and listened to him ask my dad, who is a college educated civil engineer (by societal standards), questions about an aspect of technical information I've shared with him, KNOWING my dad has no ability to answer the question. He's not so much interested in understanding something, as much as he is being able to use the said thing. He's actually said to me "if it's so good how come everyone isn't using it?" So, if everyone started using a gasifier, he would as well, THEN... would probably brag about how smart he is for using it. All while having no real understanding of the machinery, the way the gas is made, or even what carbon neutrality is. It's similar to what's happening with the woodworking stuff. I've explained a lot about the craft, and even given him insider stuff that I figured out on my own. He still pays attention to the grifters, and unironically says their strategies are better, before even cutting his first piece of wood. I've already talked him into sending back three gauging tools that some YouTube asshole said was worthwhile. He just keeps wanting to buy dumb shit, and from what I can tell from this strategy, it's basically just a way for him to brag to others about what he's bought, as opposed to how useful the tool is for the craft. It's annoying as hell, but I'm just trying to maintain for now because (and he doesn't know this) it's really about the gasifier. I've been desperately trying to get him to build one since I got here. I've also tried to get him to make ethanol, to which his standard reply is "I don't like beer." Not joking. I don't really know how sophisticated the gasifier system will be, if it ever does come to fruition. Maybe a retort furnace, but that's actually more complex than a downdraft gasifier like in that video. I just don't know, but trying to explain just the basics is hard enough, and is usually met with irrelevant garbage, or his personally sussed out references that are equally as worthless. I don't think he'll ever understand how truly frustrating his ignorance is to me... but I'll keep trying to break through these notions of appearance over substance, as almost all boomers have.


December 28 2023 8:59PM

By "stock engine," do you mean the engine was brand new when he started using the mixture of biogas and diesel in it?

That might be the case, but that's not what I meant by "stock engine." Every fuel has an octane rating, or a cetane rating. Every fuel therefore has a specific compression ratio to attain within the combustion chamber, in order to burn that fuel at its most efficient rate. My assumption is that his farm truck, and tractor, were both originally designed to run on diesel fuel. The "stock" term is meant to mean that the engine was a diesel engine, as it was originally designed to be. The journals on a crankshaft determine the stroke travel length of the pistons. The camshaft determines when, and at what rate the valves open and close. In order for the compression ratio to change, one must change the crankshaft. Additionally, although it's less of a concern, the camshaft should be changed in order optimize when, and the amount, of air enters the cylinder to be compressed with the fuel. In a diesel engine the compression ratio is much higher than a gasoline engine. What this means is that the crankshaft journals are further extended from the centerline of the crankshaft. When it spins, therefore, the journals pull the piston down further, thusly creating more volume in the cylinder. Then, the piston travels up the cylinder as the crankshaft moves to top dead center, compressing the greater volume of air and fuel, thusly giving it a higher compression ratio, than that of a gasoline engine. The overwhelming majority of internal combustion engines made for vehicles either have a compression ratio, crankshaft, camshaft, and timing, based on the specifications of gasoline, or diesel fuel. THOSE engines, are considered "stock." When one changes fuel, it's possible to run a stock engine on said fuel, but it's not optimal. My assumption is that the engines that farmer converted to run a biogas-diesel mixture, came stock with an engineered-for-diesel stock engine. It's highly likely that without a percentage of diesel in the fuel mixture, the compression ratio would be too great to run on just biogas. Additionally, I'm also assuming that the engine has fuel injection. That would mean that the biogas is likely piped directly into the intake air, and the computer has been optimized to inject very little diesel into the cylinder for combustion. It's extremely unlikely that the biogas is being fed to the engine through the stock fuel system for the truck. That would make things very tricky to manage, as the biogas is under pressure.

Mechanically speaking, as far as internal components of the engine are concerned, the engine is likely a stock diesel engine. His conversion likely entailed a plumbing in of the biogas directly into the intake, and computer optimization to lean down the diesel 90% of what the computer was originally programmed to do. It's not the most efficient system to run biogas, but after tuning it properly, and getting the mixture correctly injected, it's as efficient as possible for a stock diesel engine. Now... the generator making electricity, on the other hand, is specifically made to run biogas. It's likely that it was originally designed for natural gas, but there's really no difference between the two fuels. That would mean that it has a crankshaft, camshaft and timing ALL optimized for the most efficient compression ratio of biogas. It's also likely that it has a carburetor, as opposed to fuel injection, but that's just me speculating. It could have fuel injection, but if it does, those fuel injectors are made for biogas, and not diesel or gasoline. I don't know, off the top of my head, what the optimal compression ratio is for biogas, but I know that it's not the same as diesel or gasoline. That's not to say that either of those stock engines won't run biogas; it's just not the most efficient, and optimal engine setup for running biogas. This is exactly what I mean when talking about ethanol, and why I'm so annoyed when people say "ethanol is bad for cars durrr!" The fact of the matter is that very few engines are made to run ethanol as a primary fuel. They're GASOLINE engines that WILL run ethanol, but they're not engineered for ethanol specifically. Most gasoline engines are designed for 86 octane. Ethanol has an octane rating of 105, and burns substantially cleaner. That equates to not requiring as high of a compression ratio, AND... tuning of the computer to fire the spark at different timings. Additionally, since ethanol burns cleaner, if the tuning doesn't account for the O2 sensors reading a cleaner exhaust, the computer will assume the fuel mixture is lean, and will thusly inject more fuel into the cylinder. Remember the ethanol conversion computer kit video I sent you a few months ago? That computer takes all of those computer based factors into account, and overrides the stock programming, thusly optimizing a stock engine to run on pure ethanol, or a heavier ethanol-gasoline mixture. It reads the exact amount of ethanol in the fuel line, and optimizes timing, and fuel injection, in real time, during operation. David Blume made a computer system exactly like the one I showed you in that Chrisfix video, decades ago. Same thing. Now... even though the electronics are optimized to run ethanol, the mechanical components are still just stock gasoline engineered parts. To truly make an engine run on ethanol efficiently, the crankshaft, and camshaft will need to be replaced. If that were to happen, ethanol would be "good for cars," and gasoline would be "bad for cars," and every moron I've ever heard say "ethanol is bad for cars durrr," would have a sudden epiphany of how stupid saying something like that is. It's strikingly similar to when your machinist school acquaintance said "that part is too big to be turned between centers." Why? The lathe is too small? Too weak? The arbor is too small? The drive dogs won't lock the arbor? You see, blanketing statements like that expose people as incompetent, and usually far too overconfident to have the wherewithal to make general statements like that... but that doesn't stop them, DAMMIT!

So... by saying it's a "stock engine," I'm assuming that it's the original engine that came with the truck originally. I made that assumption because he is using diesel, albeit a much lower percentage than the truck originally was designed for. I've also never seen a "stock" natural gas, or biogas engine in ANY mass produced, standard vehicle. I have seen however, "stock" propane engines in flight line equipment in the navy, and many forklifts in the private sector. You've probably seen them too, and just didn't realize they were designed to optimally, and efficiently run propane. Whenever you see the pressurized tank behind seat of a forklift, that's designed to run on propane. In THAT case, that would be considered a "stock propane engine. Basically, "stock" signifies whatever fuel the engine was originally intended to run on. Whether the engine is brand new or not makes no difference. That said, considering that body style (Chevy Silverado with the more rounded fender beads on the panel, 4x4 without a Z71 package [a truck I'm familiar with]), I'd be shocked if the engine was brand new when he converted it. That would be excessively wasteful, and he could have saved a lot of money just buying a brand new "stock" natural gas/biogas engine. He more than likely ran that engine for several years before converting it... but I've seen stranger things. Brand new, wasn't what I meant.

Meaning it didn't have years of gummed of terpenes when he started running biogas in the vehicle?

I'm sure there were "terpenes-a-plenty" in his fuel system, but as I described above, the delivery of the biogas to the engine is not connected to the stock fuel system. It's likely that on a conversation like that, the biogas is fed directly into the air intake, and thusly doesn't come in contact with the fuel system. Just so you know, running biogas, natural gas, or propane, would not be safe to run in stock fuel lines. Gases like that are pressurized for one, and for two, even if you could run a gas in a liquid fuel system fuel line, the gas wouldn't flush out the terpenes in the same way ethanol would. It's possible that the pressurized gas might freeze the terpenes built up in a used fuel line, but that's only if the pressure was released very rapidly. Not likely to happen to that extent. Ethanol on the other hand acts like a type of detergent to terpenes, and flushes it out of the fuel lines, thusly clogging anything from injectors to filters. Gases don't generally behave like detergents. Regardless, liquid fuel line systems in stock vehicles are NOT made to handle several thousand PSI of gas, no matter what the gas is. So a system that accumulated terpenes buildup from crude oil based liquid fuels, would definitely not be sufficient to handle biogas, or any other gas for that matter. Interesting direction for you to take, though... almost funny. In a good way. It means you're thinking about ethanol. Unless the fuel behaves like a detergent, terpenes are much less of a concern... at least regarding the clogging of the fuel system aspect.

It is kind of cohencidental that you mentioned forge welding the air tank. Austin and I just had a discussion yesterday about to what extent it's possible to use forge welding in place of welding.

There's a lot of potential to use forge welding for many applications. Regarding tanks, especially high pressure tanks, it's much easier to do what's called "deep drawing." That's where a large disc is pushed through a die to form a cylinder shape, with one end solid; as in, no welds on one end. I've seen manufacturing processes where a pipe shape is the "blank." The end is heated, then metal spinning forms the ends. When the metal overlaps, they're put into a press, and the metal is forge welded. It's an extremely efficient way of making tanks out of pipe, if no deep drawing press and die is available. Usually in a manufacturing setting, the gas used to heat the ends is propane, but that's usually because it's the most fastest method. You could use wood gas, syngas, natural gas, or biogas to accomplish the same thing. Those gases would just take a bit longer to heat the metal to spinning capable temperatures. It's a very easy process to understand, and you can imagine how easy it would be to build, maintain, and rebuild a massive air pressure system, with thousands of tanks (if you wanted), with a small to medium sized lathe, and a wood gas, or bio gas system for heating. MUCH less complex than a global, interconnected mining, and manufacturing supply chain, that needs to be in place (all powered by crude oil by the way), as is the case with every lithium ion battery in existence. Here's a video showing the process of making a high pressure tank. Just imagine that you don't have a massive deep drawing press and die system, and you have to close both ends of a "pipe blank" by heating, spinning, and forge welding one end. Making high pressure tanks is easier than one usually thinks...

The deep drawing method...

The forge welded "pipe blank" method...

What starts the gasification process? As in, what initially starts that diesel engine or the air compression/collection? Does there have to be some kind of outside force acting on the system, like the guy in the video connecting it to his car battery?

The guy in the video about the gasifier is using a small vacuum pump run on 12 volts, thus the car battery. The system he's using is called a downdraft gasifier. That means that the air is coming downwards through the wood, feeding the reactor. Beyond the reactor you need to create a vacuum. The guy in the video had a battery powered vacuum, but you could use a hand crank vacuum pump as well, because that's just to get the heat up, and the reaction started. There's lots of styles of these. Most are marketed as an air pump, but to make it a hand crank vacuum pump, you just need to plumb in piping to the inlet. One side blows air, and the other side sucks air in, hence, a vacuum pump. Here's a couple of examples...



Heat wants to rise, so pulling the air downwards is a requirement in a downdraft gasifier. Once the reactor is up to temperature, and the wood gas is being made, the engine's down stroke in the piston chamber creates the vacuum, and the flow maintains itself. Once the engine is running, you simply close the valve to the hand crank vacuum pump, and the system maintains the flow direction. Initially during startup though, you do need to start the reactor by pulling air downwards. Otherwise when you light the fire in the reactor, the fire will just climb up through the wood. Hopefully that makes sense.

In case your first question is deeper into the theoretical context of "how gasification works," I'll explain what's actually happening inside of the reactor. You light a fire at the bottom of the reactor. That starts to heat up the coals, which is where gasification happens. When your fire is hot enough, the carbohydrates dissociate into pure hydrogen and carbon. The vapors travel through the hot zone, and small percentages reform into carbon monoxide and methane, but the majority of the gas is pure hydrogen. The essence of gasification is to use heat to turn the solid carbohydrates into gases. So, what happens after that reaction takes place, is the cooling and filtering of the gas. Remember, it's not a perfect dissociation, and terpenes require a lot more heat than what occurs in a gasifier, so there's quite a bit that needs to be filtered out. The first cooling procedure is a heat exchanger. Basically a windy snake shaped tube whose only purpose is to remove heat, and condense any vapors that are made from terpenes. Next comes the filtering. In a large gasifier, with lots of fuel/wood burning, there's going to be some wood ash that gets pulled through the system. An inline air filter will remove those particles. Then you want to remove the water that hasn't dissociated into oxygen and hydrogen. The next filter is inline and made from bentonite clay (kitty litter). That will absorb any water vapor. The final filter is made to catch any clay particulates from the drying filter. The gases should be about 75% hydrogen, 20% carbon monoxide, and the remaining gases are made of carbon dioxide, methane and oxygen, which can then be fed directly into an engine intake. It begins with a small fire in the reactor. That fire makes coals. The vacuum pump pulls air through the coals making it very hot. That heat creates an environment where dissociation occurs. That's the basic quick version of how gasification works for wood in a downdraft gasifier. Those gases can be used as fuel in an internal combustion engine. The output shaft from that engine can be fitted to an air pump, that then makes air pressure, which can be stored in pressurized tanks.

Then as things progress, the gasification process can sustain itself to an extent?

The engine piston creates a vacuum on the down stroke, as it's drawing air and fuel into the cylinder. Initially, to get the reactor hot enough for dissociation to occur, a vacuum pump needs to be running, but once sufficient enough heat is maintained in the reactor, the engine's natural vacuum occurring from the down stroke will indeed maintain the reactor on its own. Then all you need to do is add more wood, and periodically shake the ash out to make room for more wood in the reactor. I've seen systems that have manual ash dumps, and others where it's automatic. I've seen systems with small hoppers that have chutes constantly feeding more wood, and I've seen massive hoppers that have tons of wood. It all depends on personal preference and application as to how you want to design the feeder hopper, and ash dump. Those two sections are manual, but CAN BE automated. Otherwise yes, a downdraft wood gasifier is essentially sustaining it's own functionality after the initial startup.

Another reason I ask is this is about the time where the "but you need an electric battery (or electricity in general) to compress air" idiot would come in, if this was a public discussion.

I'm familiar with this kind of idiocy indeed. I'm also familiar with how battery operated equipment operated... before batteries were a thing. Mechanical rotational force can be created by using a small electric motor connected to a battery, but that's not the only way to create mechanical rotational force. Often times a simple gearing ratio connected to a human arm is more robust, more reliable, and a lot less complex. Unfortunately these days there is more effort dedicated to the proposition of being lazy, than getting a task accomplished in the most efficient and reliable manner. Imagine the complexity that goes into a battery, a battery powered pump, and the connections between the two... all so that a gasifier operator doesn't have to rotate a manual pump for 2-5 minutes. It's ridiculously wasteful, and in no way is that type of battery operated system a requirement. Anyone who thinks so, and is foolish enough to open their mouth about it before thinking through the variables, can be ridiculed mercilessly, at least until they acknowledge their own stupidity. Then forgive and move on...

One time I told him my goal is to "get off all teats: electricity, food, fuel, manufacturing." I could have thrown in housing and perhaps a couple other things as well, but I know you know that. The point is, instead of using the terms "off-grid" and "gridlessness," perhaps we could instead define the ideal as "teatlessness." It suggests going a few steps further than mere gridlessness, and it also is thought provoking and, furthermore, insulting to those who do not follow the ideal. "I'm goin' teatless. What's that? You want to stay on the big oil and electricity teats? You baby..." Yeah, the insults could be phrased better than that, but the point is there.

LMAO. I like it, but I think the reality is that most people you could say that to are already so incompetent that they probably won't even know they're being insulted. We would understand, but them? Maybe?


January 7 2024 6:24PM

Well... it's about what I expected, but the girls kick ass. That part isn't surprising because they seem to take after their mother. As in not so goofy, flighty, and childish. They bought a kit from a guy on YouTube, which again, is about what I expected. Seems expensive, but even so, it'll pay itself off in a couple of weeks, IF they use it consistently. He bragged that it would last 100 years, but that's not going to happen. The reactor will oxidize being exposed to that level of heat, in just a couple of years. Plus, with them using green wood, if they leave the hopper full while not in use, that too will add to the oxidation. All in all, a very commendable shift to true Gridlessness... for the first time.

The biggest flaw in this system is the size of the condenser; the snake like tube being used as a radiator/heat exchanger. For the climate they're in, the ambient air will have significant moisture, and the wood as well, if they continue to use green wood. That means they need to give the wood gas more time and surface area contact with the heat exchanger to condense the added moisture, AND TERPENES. At the bottom of the condenser, there should be a collection flask where the moisture and terpenes drip down into, from the heat exchanger. Next, after the heat exchanger, there should be a bentonite clay (kitty litter) filter soaking up any remaining moisture in the gas. All moisture AND TERPENES being made by the wood, ambient air, and reactor should be vacated by the filter system and condenser, before making contact with the final particulate filter. In this gasifier, their final filter is made of straw... which in that climate is a bad idea.

That brings me to my next point: the placement of the vacuum pump. It should be inline, immediately after the condenser. The bentonite clay filter, and final particulate filter should never see the full brunt of moisture and terpenes laden wood gas before the reactor reaches pyrolysis (gasification) temperatures. Putting the vacuum at the end of the system, and pulling terpenes laden, extremely moist gas through the final filter, before gasification temperatures are reached, is clogging that filter up, and swamping it down with moisture. Once that filter is wet, the wood gas will stay wet. That's a bad thing, and probably the number one reason why most gasification systems foul internal combustion engine parts. Remember, terpenes, and water laden with terpenes is like pouring sludge (bitumen) straight into the engine. It will foul injectors, plug valve guides, cause the rings to stick, cause uneven wear on the crankshaft bearings, and dirty the engine oil very quickly. The point about using straw in their filter also leads to this problem. Straw will have moisture, and other contamination if it's not bone dry, and sifted prior to filling the filter. Any moisture in the straw, and dirt, will get vacuumed right into the engine. So... if you're pulling a vacuum AFTER that filter, to start the gasification process, any moisture will collect there, and then be transferred into the engine. The goal should be to make a heat exchanger long enough, that the temperature of the gas is 200 degrees Fahrenheit or less, after the heat exchanger, but it should be even cooler. If that was my system, I'd double the length of pipe in the heat exchanger, and at the end of the heat exchanger, I'd run the pipe through a water bath. This will maximize condensation before the filter system, ensuring that the moisture filter, and final filter will not get overrun and swamped by contaminants in the wood gas. Additionally, while temperatures are rising in the reactor, the vacuum pump should not be pulling the gas through the filters. This one point alone is why most gasifiers fail. It's because the terpenes and moisture are not properly managed, thusly saturating the filters, which leads to engine components fouling rather quickly. If you're ready and capable of rebuilding the engine repeatedly, it's probably not that big of a deal, but most people don't want to, know how to, or can afford the ensemble of gaskets that rebuilding an engine requires.

It's funny that in the beginning of this video he says "this is the holy grail of energy independence." Not quite, lol. This is like the kindergarten of energy independence, but true enough, this actually is REAL independence. No extremely complex supply chains, no centralized system hoarding fuel, and the system itself is rapidly repairable. Next comes various other forms of pyrolysis, followed by ethanol, which is very complex, and so on and so forth (not trying to bore you with redundancy) until you get to nitinol heat engines. THAT... isn't even the actual holy grail, but these technologies are related to the holy grail. I'll yield that. Anyways, it's a decent video, even though he behaved the way I thought he would, and made every mistake in gasification I thought he would, but he (mainly the girls) is trying, and he's on the righteous path... FINALLY! Too bad for his family that I don't comment on YouTube. I could teach him everything the wood gas kit seller didn't, and save him a lot of heartache. Of which the worst is yet to come: the first rebuild of the engine after they foul it. At least I know you won't suffer these woes. I'll talk to you later.

Video: #972

January 29 2024 2:18AM

I hope everything is okay there. I've seen reports that you guys were supposed to be getting a lot of snow, so I hope you played it safe. If everything is okay, I hope you spent time with your boyfriend and had fun. With the amount of work and effort you put into everything, you deserve some relaxation.

I don't mean to throw you off from your recent topics, but Gridlessness posted a video again last weekend, and I felt compelled to tell you about it. It seems as though the ongoing saga of the wood gasifier is continuing. He's figured out that the system cannot handle the excess water in the wood, but I'm also thinking he hasn't equated the humidity in the ambient air for the region, mainly due to the essence of the latest video. So... he's back to mass producing charcoal. They didn't outright say that the charcoal was for the gasifier, but I'm fairly certain that's the case. If you remember from the previous charcoal production of this guy, it was being used for a forge, and making gun powder. This time the volume is considerably more which eludes to the contents being used in the gasifier. Given the recent videos, it's not a stretch to do the math here. If indeed the purpose is for making syngas, it's a decent attempt to drastically reduce the moisture content of the fuel, but it's also a weak attempt at addressing the real problem: how to remove moisture DURING gasification. As in, what is the fault in the system itself, as opposed to putting the onus on the fuel. As such, my assumption is that after telling the guy they bought the gasifier kit from what the problem is; too much moisture, the seller of the kit, not wanting to take responsibility for the too small, and too short heat exchanger, blamed the moisture content of the wood. The seller of the kit, most likely, told the Gridlessness family to kiln dry their wood, or use charcoal to remove the moisture. For posterity, the wood should never be the primary concern. A gasifier should be able to handle any type of biomass within reason, which is to say you can't put cardboard paper pulp into the reactor and expect the temperature to reach pyrolysis. However, wood at any stage, from freshly cut green, to charcoal should be usable. If it's not usable in the system, the system itself has the flaw; not the fuel. I identified the system flaw in one of my previous emails easily while they were building it. The heat exchanger is way too short, and small to adequately dehumidify the wood gas, and more than likely the syngas as well, considering that region, and how much moisture will be in the ambient air. So even with charcoal, without a moisture separator connected to the inlet port going into the reactor, the ambient air moisture will still be an issue.

Onto the video now; it starts off with the usual goofiness, but there's added wastefulness almost immediately. Retort furnaces don't need to be super efficient, but every little bit helps. That said, besides eluding to the possibility of future biodiesel production, cooking oil was the real reason for my disdain this week. Remember our discussions about waste oil burners for foundry use some time ago? Even that's not super efficient, but it's a far cry from this attempt at merging fuel consumption techniques. The Gridlessness guy apparently has an excessive surplus of cooking oil from his daughter's food truck business. Instead of thinking through the situation to the logical decision of using a waste oil burner, with a decent afterburner (like the NOBOX7 burners we had previously discussed) as a type of foundry jet to make the charcoal... this guy takes a 5 gallon container of used oil, and literally just dumps it into the retort furnace burner compartment, until it's about 2 inches deep on the bottom. Then he adds wood to the oil, and packs even more wood around the actual retort furnace. The amount of ham-fisted-ness and excessive waste in this setup is absolutely ridiculous, and became the primary reason for why I decided to make this email. As expected, when the temperature reaches pyrolysis, there's WAY too much fuel to combust all the gases being made. The result becomes an extremely thick billowing smoke out of the stack of the retort burner. One of the daughters decided to try to light this smoke ablaze at some point, and yes, it became a massive fire jet shooting up into the air about ten feet tall... burning off all the useful fuel that couldn't combust in the oversaturated retort burner. My guess is that of all the fuel being burned to make charcoal; the wood and oil saturating the retort burner, maybe 10% of the total BTUs went to actually converting the wood to charcoal, while about 90% became a flamethrower out of the stack, and the rest was just simply lost (polluting) to the atmosphere.

This is the type of situation where I'm really disappointed. Why? Wood gasification is a great idea. Making charcoal is a great idea. Using wood and used oil is carbon neutral, and thusly a good idea. The essence of this project, and the gasifier for this family is a great addition to their homestead, and is teaching the children valuable information that they too can incorporate into their adult lives. Seems all good from a theoretical perspective: all sides. However... the incompetence is the most blaring problem. Not understanding the particulars of pyrolysis (wood gas specifically), the inability henceforth to properly diagnose the problem and fix it accordingly, taking advice as gospel from a salesman (although this is just a guess), and the extreme wastefulness accompanying every step of the project, especially the seemingly total lack of knowledge of waste oil burner efficiency, and additionally, essentially farming all the workload onto his daughters, subsequently alleviating himself from the burden of labor in the entire process. All of this stuff dilutes the value of the gasification, and further, instills a lack of precision in every step of the project... into his children's perception of every step of this process; from the conception itself, to the production, and further into troubleshooting the kinks and quirks of the system. All the while giggling like a stoned teenage girl, and marveling in his perceived ability to go "gridless." It's hard to put into words just how disappointing this entire situation is... when the essence of the goal this family is trying to pursue is indeed righteous. I want to say "good job." I'm not cynical. I'm not a sadist. I WANT people to succeed. But damn... the execution of this project is absolutely terrible in every way OTHER than the actual concept. It would almost be less infuriating if he just kept using gasoline and lying to everyone about the whole "Gridlessness" lifestyle. At least then he wouldn't be infecting the kids with the same type of feckless irresponsibility, and wanton wastefulness, all while behaving like a ADHD child. I want to be appreciative of the effort... but I just can't.

From most people reading this roast, especially those that have no clue about carbon neutrality, pyrolysis, gasification, equilibrium, etc, and get the majority of their internal dialogue from politically motivated talking points, I would expect retorts like "why can't you just be happy for them?" and "they're just doing their best." You however, can now see the foundation of WHY I say what I say. I'm not just being a big meanie. I actually want people to succeed in real worthwhile endeavors, to their full potential. Additionally, it should be blatantly obvious at this point that half-assing anything, often times does more damage than not attempting something at all. This video is the epitome of half-assing a project. It's obvious from the compounding mistakes that there's a severe lack of knowledge and preparedness into the basic subject matter. It feels like he watched a YouTube video, drew from the inherent, and often lackluster educational system he was trained in, to make a decision about something important, while having no real concept of gasification, or pyrolysis. It's become a faith based exercise in "just stay positive, hope for the best, and MAYBE it'll work out in our favor." He's turned this into a religious practice, essentially, and as you know, I'm quite disgusted by what religion has become. Almost identically, and ironically, the misconceptions of religion, have a striking resemblance to follies taking place in this series of videos. In other words, no real concept of the logical, truthful, and empirical nature of existentialism as it relates to reality. Just a half-assed, selfish, emotionally driven conception, that's then enacted upon in a wasteful manner. As a result, many unforeseen factors compound, that then cause consequences. Religious zealotry is obvious: atheism, anarchism, extortion, fraud, etc. Likewise, this Gridlessness guy's consequences are wastefulness, misunderstanding, probably several clogged filters, fouled engines, and likely contempt by his daughters for having done a lot of work, without a true payoff for their efforts. This is the way I see the situation. It's not pessimism. It's disappointment. I'm not upset that gasification, and the science of pyrolysis is being hurt here. I'm disappointed that THEIR personal conception of gasification and pyrolysis ultimately will fail, and what that failure could mean to disdain for the endeavours henceforth in similar relatable circumstances... just like what's happened to religion.

So... what could have been done to make this an actual positive experience? Besides what I explained in the previous emails about this gasifier's heat exchanger, the retort furnace burner needs some serious retrofitting. For one, the retort burner needs insulation. It's incredibly inefficient to run a retort furnace in freezing conditions with nothing more than sheet steel (the barrel) trying to insulate from the cold. Secondly, a much better seal should protect the retort furnace itself from absorbing oxygen. Any oxygen that enters the retort furnace (where the charcoal is being made) will ignite the charcoal, and turn it into ash. All that's really necessary is a small hole pointing directly downwards, to release any gases created from the pyrolysis process. Pointing the pressure relief hole straight down also forces a positive pressure in the retort furnace, that doesn't allow oxygen into the chamber. Additionally, the gasses that do release from the hole, that are flammable, will aid in helping the retort burner burn more efficiently, thusly making the pyrolysis conversion from wood to charcoal more effective, and faster. Thirdly, when using waste oil, the temperature needs to be much hotter than the temperature wood burns at, so conscripting wood as the accelerant for waste oil is exactly backwards. The result will be the vaporization of the majority of the oil, that then bellows out of the furnace smokestack, without igniting, and thusly becoming pure pollution. The proper method when using waste oil, is to have an afterburner that can ignite the very dense hydrocarbons. NOBOX7 has many variations of this strategy. Once the afterburner reaches sustained cherry red glow, the exhaust from the waste oil burner is clear... because everything is actually igniting. This is achieved by using a very small jet of high pressure air, with a small drip of waste oil contacting said air, atomizing, and igniting in the afterburner. One can effectively run this style of retort furnace for several hours, on less than the total amount of oil poured into the retort burner, with several batches of charcoal being made in the process... even without the insulation. Additionally, you would run this retort burner exactly like a foundry. The flame would spiral upwards from the burner entrance, heating the retort furnace much faster than this method being used. What that also means is that there would be no need for wood in the retort burner at all. You would only need the waste oil burner, and could turn what wood you would use for the retort burner, into charcoal as well. If these things would have been done, I would have just said good job... but that's not what happened, and it appears as though what actually did happen, was seen as some sort of success, which it was not. Hence, the rant. It was also portrayed as though this batch of charcoal was being made in order to make fireworks for the new year celebration, but they made several batches of charcoal. Far more than what was necessary for a few fireworks. In my opinion, this entire operation was carried out to make charcoal for the wood gasifier. Again... hence, the rant. Anyways, that's enough for now. It may seem like it, but I'm really not just trying to bash on this guy. He's just in my radar...

The video...

In case you forgot, here's a decent waste oil burner, with an afterburner...


February 17 2024 2:04AM

Definitely yes. Fuel production should always be the top priority for any piece of land. Gasification, biodiesel, ethanol, and anaerobic bio digestion. If there is a such thing as a "highest priority," that's it. Food, water and warmth are obviously the priority first and foremost, but understanding the methods that will maximize your ability to utilize the fuel from the land, will ultimately make those necessity based priorities sustainable indefinitely. Otherwise, all of the projects, whether they are necessities or complimentary, will become reliant on crude oil, which is neither sustainable on the macro, nor micro level. Indeed, the entire philosophical approach to equilibrium begins and ends with the ability to utilize every possible fuel source around you, and further, to maximize the available potential for any given piece of land. I might not have explicitly said those words, but everything I've said is based on that exact philosophy. After the land has had its potential maximized, then further upgrades are possible to raise the potentiality even higher. Water farming being the most obvious: more potential cellulose, food, animals, and if efficient enough, micro hydro from any overflow and runoff. Maybe even a tier system where several micro hydro systems are in play before the water leaves the land. It's all about maximizing potential from an initial assessment, then upgrading. For you right now, having the rawest of land, I'd suggest gathering any and all wood to a centralized location, and building a gasification system near that point. Then you can run generators to build what you need with electric powered tools. Once you've built a stable living space, food. Any land not dedicated to food, plant things that will maximize your biodiesel, or ethanol production capability. Then you'll have liquid fuel that will be more mobile than a gasifier, and you can expand. Maybe cut down some trees, and plant perennial food trees, or just clear land for building a stone structure... maybe even a pyramid. As the fuel continues to grow, more work can follow, and on and on the cycle goes. You probably have an abundance of wood right now, though, and that's all gasification ready, right now. You don't have to wait for a crop to come in, etc, and you'll want to get rid of the clutter it makes. 2 birds... 1 rock!

Your... dare I say it... epiphany about the fuel perception of your land rests at the core of everything I do, and have done for the majority of my life. The reality is it's not just about fuel, although that's a massive component, but it's more about maximizing efficiency with every single action one takes. And what's so infuriating about it to me, is that I always feel like I'm on a deserted island with this perception of reality. It's hard to even find the desire to talk about it (other than with you now), because it's just so foriegn in this society. Scott called me an OCD perfectionist today... like it was supposed to be insulting. I said it's not perfection... it's PRECISION. NOTHING is perfect, but I suppose it takes an efficiency-maxxing perception to even make sense of what perfection is, and thusly KNOW; not guess, that perfection in this realm is an impossibility, similar to attaching an actual numerical value to "infinity." It simply cannot happen. Apologies for the rambling. It was just one of those days.


February 18 2024 3:04PM

Not to derail the soil conversation we were about to get stuck into, at least that was my assumption of what we were about to talk about... but Gridlessness just uploaded a video about the gasifier system they built again. He's less goofy and animated in this one, plus it's almost entirely based on troubleshooting the system. Just about everything I said in the last ranting email came true, and he's SLOWLY figuring out that the condenser is just way too small, even though he's basically doing everything OTHER than rebuilding it. I also don't want to take any time away from you're boyfriend on the only day you two have to spend together, so I'll leave this short, and just link the video for you to watch whenever you get a chance.


February 20 3:35AM

The condenser is made that way to save money, and a lack of understanding the customer's inability to understand the variety of possible fuel sources (different types of wood/biomass). The other prominent issue with that design is the inability to compensate for atmospheric moisture. The majority of water in the reactor walls is coming from atmospheric moisture that heats, then condenses against the cooler walls. To fix that specific problem, air dryers should be installed at the inlet ports bringing air into the reactor. That will overcomplicate the system, but as a quick fix, a substantial amount of moisture will be eliminated from the equation. My guess is that the manufacturer, who seems like a DIYer garage level guy (he was in the first of these gasifier videos), is using mostly charcoal, and the environment he's in, or used to collecting data in rather, is high elevation and/or dry usually. His system is simply inadequate for processing wet/green woods, and is not capable of removing any humidity point in atmospheric air above 25%ish. Where the Gridlessness family is making a mistake is in assuming all the water is coming from just the wood. It's not...

Yes, idling the gasifier brings the system into equilibrium, and stabilizes the amount of inflow air, reactor temperature, and moisture condensate at a specific speed. The goal is to get the reactor as hot as possible, then immediately after the reactor, cool the gas as much as possible. The two problems with the system design are the condenser size, and the insulation around the reactor chamber. What's happening in the reactor is that they are getting it to gasification temperature, then drawing in cooler air, which is fighting the temperature, and introducing moisture, which in and of itself is also fighting the temperature. One upgrade that will create more heat in the reactor is a thick layer of insulation around the entire reactor barrel. Then, after the air dryer, wrap the inlet air tubing around the reactor walls, as that will preheat the air entering the reactor chamber. By removing the moisture from the inlet air, and preheating it, the reactor gasification temperature will rise by 200+ degrees, is my guess. Gasification will be more thorough, and there will be zero water in the reactor, even from the wood. So firstly, the goal is to maximize the reactor chamber temperature by all means available: insulation, preheating the inlet air, and stripping moisture from the inlet air.

As I said, the condenser is that small because of cost. The condenser tubing can be 100 feet long and it won't hurt anything. The number 1 goal is to maximize reactor temperature, and the number 2 goal is to remove temperature after the reactor chamber, which makes condensing terpenes and water possible. One of the most overlooked energy uses in a gasifier system is "waste heat." Same as an internal combustion vehicle, you lose about 75% of the actual energy created, in heat radiating away from the system. An efficient gasifier would have a water bath around the condenser piping, constantly pumping water into, and out of that water bath. You could put pipes stretching into a house, garage, pond, swimming pool, etc, and that would introduce a substantial amount of efficiency to the system. That is exactly how boiler systems work. They're filled with glycol, which is basically the same fluid as in a car radiator, then it's pumped through piping everywhere in a building. The heat is then stripped by the building, the glycol returns cooled off, gets heated again, etc. In a gasifier system, that condenser water bath will be stripping heat extremely rapidly, thusly condensing any liquid in the gas out of the gas. A water bath is not necessarily critical for the system to function, but without it, the efficiency of the system's total energy created will go WAY down... just like a car. If there is no water bath around the condenser piping, no inlet air drying, and wet wood, those condenser pipes need to be like 6 feet tall, 6+ inches in diameter, placed away from the reactor, and the total system length, from reactor outlet, to the filter chamber, should be 40-50 feet. That's 3 large columns of 6'x6" pipes, and the connections between them, with an actual condensate reservoir at the bottom of the condenser, that can be drained regularly. There should be ZERO moisture content reaching the filter system, and in that environment, using wood instead of charcoal, that condenser system should be large, long, and the top priority for success. No joke, 50% of the mass of the entire gasifier should be just the condenser, in that environment, using that type of fuel. This is the type of system you should design for your region as well, in case you were wondering.

I have more to say about this, but my battery is almost dead, and I want to send this now instead of waiting for the battery to recharge. The basic gestalt here is that the "manufacturer" isn't a professional in gasification. I'm assuming his background is in metal fabrication, and his systems are designed to run under fairly stringent parameters; the parameters HE is used to working with. It's definitely not designed for most biomass applications, and definitely not designed to be run in an environment where humidity levels are constantly 50% or higher. That system might function (albeit not efficiently in the Gridlessness' home environment) with just charcoal (syngas), but not wood gas. Hopefully if nothing else, seeing these problems is showing you that there is a substantial difference between wood gas and syngas, and while the gasification systems seem similar, there's a lot of difference between the two. Basically, they bought a syngas gasifier, and they're trying to make wood gas. I'm honestly surprised they haven't fouled the intake valves of their generator engine after putting all that water into it. It's a good thing the air inlet on the makeshift carburetor is pointing downward so the water escapes. Otherwise they will definitely hydro lock that engine, and probably break a piston connecting rod. Plus there's no filter on the inlet of the makeshift carburetor, so anything on the ground, falling off their boots, etc, is getting sucked right into the engine. He admitted that he doesn't know much about engines... and that is an accurate statement, heh. I just hope he doesn't destroy it before he figures this all out. My guess is that generator costs more than the whole gasifier, minus the labor costs. I'll write some more after my battery charges, but feel free to ask more between now and then.



February 20 2024 10:32AM

Wood gasifiers are not well understood by most of the people that WANT to use them. Even people that make gasifiers skip beyond the theoretical approach to understanding the more intricate points of pyrolysis, generally speaking. It's very similar to how internal combustion motor vehicles are studied. Drivers, for the most part, don't have a clue on how they function. All they know is get in, turn the key, fill it with gas, go to work, and anything bad happening is not their responsibility; "I'll just pay someone to fix it." No clue about how an engine works, no clue about how gasoline is made, and no clue about how to make an engine. Everything about the vehicle is a blur other than "gets me from A to B." Mechanics can generally diagnose a problem, but get bogged down with "parts throwing." They can't actually make an engine, nor replacement parts. They also lack critical thinking capabilities about the philosophy of internal combustion systems, mainly because it's just a job to most mechanics, and outside of the scope of their continued income accruement, it's more of a pain than a pleasure to deal with. These are the types who say stupid shit like "ethanol is bad for cars." Mechanics can piecemeal a vehicle together from a catalogue of parts, but most cannot make an engine from scratch, and thusly lose the finer points of intricacies outside of that scope. Engineers CAN understand the finer points of internal combustion theory, but they usually just stick to a script: "boss said do THIS... so THIS is what the design is. Very few engineers have hands on wrenching experience of any kind, and when their vehicle falters, they're usually as lost about what to do as drivers. Machinists are the only ones in this group that can drive, fix anything, make anything, and have the best eye for diagnosing issues that arise during operation. They know EVERYTHING about the vehicle from various materials used, fuel options (and how to manipulate variations therein), and can make literally anything on a vehicle from raw materials. The world used to be full of these types of people for any given system, not just motor vehicles, but nowadays, everything is about maximizing income, working the least amount, and paying for everything to get done for you. As such, there's fewer and fewer machinists who can do everything.

In the realm of pyrolysis, the "machinist class" of capable technicians is extremely small. Maybe a few hundred people worldwide have the theoretical basis engrained, can build an adequate system that's universal to any form of biomass, can build an engine from scratch to run biomass fuels, and diagnose/troubleshoot issues that arise during operation. Everyone else involved in biomass pyrolysis (or really any form of pyrolysis) is compartmentalized into the "driver," "mechanic," or "engineer" classes. They all have inadequacies, but they do find pathways to success when working together. The Gridlessness family is driver class. The "manufacturer" of that gasification system kit is mechanic class, while portraying the image of an engineer, at least in his own mind. Similar to how an unknowing person gives the "drool face" stare to a mechanic about a car diagnosis, essentially, the Gridlessness guy interacts with the kit maker the same way, while the kit maker is just following instructions he read about somewhere that was probably designed by an engineer of some sort. There's no real unity, nor specificity about intricacies because the onus keeps shifting within that compartmentalization chain. In other words, no unifying machinist class type person that can quickly and effectively answer any questions that may arise. Plus, the kit maker, posing as an "expert," doesn't want to admit his inability, or lack of theoretical knowledge, as that might hurt future business. The result is the Gridlessness guy tries to move up to the mechanic class, and tries "parts throwing" without KNOWING what his actual problem is, and if/when he figures it out, he'll just have to buy more parts, and throw them on also. Unfortunately, he's doing a lot of damage in the meantime to the engine, so he'll probably have to buy one of those too... when/if he actually does figure out the problemS.

I've been trying to instill into you these types of "base intentions" for everything. Pyrolysis is vast, but easy to learn if you have a good foundation. It's this foundation that will affect anything else you learn about any given subject. If you start trying to learn about stone carving by looking at Machu Picchu, you're not going to have a good basis to build on. If you start a machining career in CNC, you're not going to have a good basis to build on. If you start trying to be "off grid" by using solar panels, charge controllers, battery banks, and gasoline powered cars, you're not going to have a good basis to build on. It's very tricky trying to backfill missing pieces of knowledge for any given subject, especially the more nuanced ones. Neither Gridlessness, nor the kit maker had a solid foundation to build on... and this is the result. Most people in that position get frustrated, quit, and blame the inabilities on the equipment, as opposed to themselves. When the actual reality is that it's their fault for not understanding the subject as a whole before diving in head first, and likely causing themselves lots of grief in the process. Precision is an aspect of everything, and gasification is no different. If the basis of precision was at his foundation, instead of the foundation of "just jump on in, and we'll figure it out as we go," he wouldn't have bought that kit in the first place. Now he's stuck trying to make something work that won't work in the way he wants it to. This is exactly why I stressed base intentions so much to you when we first met. It's the foundation for EVERYTHING!

Anyways, I wanted to get that point out before we get any deeper on this. I'll talk to you later.


From #1010

February 21 2024 7:05PM

Gasifiers don't have to be gargantuan. The total footprint of the gasifier Gridlessness has is more than adequate. You can extend the condenser piping 50 feet, and the overall size won't really change. I was just giving an example with the 6'x6" pipes because they're easy to get whole, and offer a lot of surface area. You can get the same surface contact with 2 inch pipes, but they'll have to be longer. That too won't increase the overall size. The pipe could exit the reactor upwardly, extend to the filter, wrap around the filter, come back to the reactor area, then you could just snake it back and forth like that 5-10 times. That'll yield anywhere from 50-100 feet of condenser piping without making the overall size of the gasifier any larger. In order to protect the condenser from radiating heat coming from the reactor, though, so that the condenser actually condenses moisture, the reactor needs to be insulated externally... and well. The condenser piping they have on their gasifier is tiny. Maybe a total of 20 feet (and that's generous) before going into the filter. Plus the snaking of that condenser piping is right next to the uninsulated reactor, so it's absorbing heat from the reactor, when its entire purpose is to remove heat. It's just a very poor design. Almost everything about it is poorly designed. The construction of the poor design is done well, though. I'm not taking anything away from the welding, and following of instructions. Those girls did a great job actually. It's not their fault.

Any gasifier can make syngas and wood gas. The issue is not in actually gasification itself. The issue is in how to process that gas. Well... not entirely, but mainly. Ultimately, the reactor does play a part because the ultimate goal is to absolutely maximize heat. The goal should not be to reach a certain temperature, but to get the reactor as hot as possible. +1000 degrees Celsius is a decent goal. Anything below that, and water vapor and terpenes will evaporate instead of gasifying through pyrolysis. Just so you know, above 1000 degrees Celsius, water CAN gasify as well, which will increase hydrogen saturation in the gas. In the production of anhydrous ammonia, steam is super heated to those temperatures to break apart the crude oil and/or methane molecules. Then it's a series of scrubbers and catalysts that remove the carbon based molecules. Not to divert from gasification, but it seems relevant. So if your reactor is above 1000 degrees Celsius, it's possible to gasify at least a percentage of the water. That'll also reduce the amount of evaporated terpenes, and gasify a percentage of them as well. That's why you want to maximize temperature inside of the reactor: to maximize the amount of potential gasification, as opposed to just evaporation, which is what they're doing with the majority of water and terpenes. I mean... you saw the amount of sludgy water they were draining right? ALL OF THAT was evaporated from the wood and intake air. It was NOT gasified. Gasification is a process of breaking the bonds of the molecule. Not just evaporating and condensing the unburnables. EVERYTHING... even the human body can be gasified with a hot enough temperature. Usually that temperature isn't reached, and that's how "smoke" forms: by evaporating potential gasification materials, instead of actually gasifying them. Anyways, their gasifier CAN make syngas and/or wood gas, and both simultaneously, but the processing of that gas (the condenser, condensate reservoir, filter) is more so designed for strictly syngas... and to be honest, it's not even designed to deal with that alone well, because of the humidity in the atmosphere, for the Gridlessness environment. It's this information that obviously... Gridlessness, nor the kit maker understands; the finer points, and theoretical information about pyrolysis as a whole. The processing of the gas; everything after the reactor, is why I said it's more of a syngas producer than wood gas. The point is that THAT shouldn't matter. It's just as easy to design a system that can gasify both wood gas and syngas, than trying to skimp on materials, making a syngas producer, and allowing the struggle to make wood gas an issue. Again, it's poorly designed, and says more about the kit maker's inability, than ability. I could see all of this just from a quick glance in their Christmas video, and it's all since come true. I feel bad for them, but they also should take responsibility for their inadequacy and incompetence about gasification, while just jumping in unprepared.

For most "dual fuel systems," that's almost always referring to gasoline and propane. It's also USUALLY possible to run natural gas, butane, and similar gases in those systems. The gases usually get lumped into the same category, but by and large, dual fuel is referring to gasoline and propane. There are internal issues in making dual fuel engines, but in that specific engine's case, the "dual fuel capability" is in regards to how the fuel is delivered to the carburetor. Gasoline is a liquid, and propane is a gas. Obviously the two methods of fuel introduction to the system are different. There's usually some type of manifold that has a threaded coupling for a propane hose, and a simple gravity feed hose for the gasoline tank. Either hose just has a gate, or butterfly valve to allow either fuel to enter the carburetor. For use with a gasifier, having a propane inlet to the carburetor is convenient, as you can just screw the gasifier hose right into the propane inlet, and close the valve to the gasoline. If it's a "gasoline only" engine, you'll have to make an adapter plate that goes onto the intake air inlet with threads for the gasifier hose, but that's not complicated at all. That's the essence of what "dual fuel" means in that context, though. Definitely not an ethanol and gasoline option, but that too isn't difficult to manage in a 4 stroke engine. Internally, there are some adjustments for making gasification gas reliable, and they're really no different than adjusting for the gasoline-ethanol difference. Wood gas and syngas burn slower than gasoline and propane, just like gasoline and ethanol burn at different rates. The absolute optimal scenario is to design a crankshaft that can increase, and/or decrease the compression ratio of the piston, in order to make any given fuel burn at the optimal compression. That's obviously not possible, so what needs to happen is the spark timing needs to be adjusted. General rule of thumb is that the slower a fuel burns, the earlier the spark should fire. In an electronic controlled fuel system, that's quite easy to do. In an ethanol vehicle made to run on both ethanol and gasoline, the computer is sensing the saturation of ethanol, and changing the spark timing to fire sooner, depending upon how much ethanol is in the fuel. With a gasifier system in an electronic controlled fuel system, the same would apply: the computer reads how much wood gas there is, and adjusts spark timing on the fly. The Gridlessness generator (and most generators of that class) don't have electronic timing, nor a computer. So you literally have to retard the timing manually, in order to fire the spark sooner. You do that by screwing the plate of the distributor either clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on the orientation. Some distributors have adjustable screws also. If... you're going to run wood gas or syngas exclusively in a generator like that Gridlessness one, it'd be pertinent to adjust timing to a degree before top dead center incrementally, until optimal compression (and thusly efficiency) is achieved. Otherwise the compression cycle is not adequate to burn all the available fuel in the combustion chamber. You'd be literally blowing unburned fuel out of the exhaust... which is exactly what Gridlessness is doing, amongst all the other problems. Apologies if this is going over your head, but the point is that dual fuel is usually referring to a liquid and gas fuel source, that are comparable to burn rates, of which, propane and gasoline are. The other point being that you can manipulate timing to adjust for most fuels in 4 stroke engines. It's not always going to be the most efficient for using variable fuels, but it can be done. That's exactly what the "ethanol adapter computers" are doing, and they do so by changing timing electronically, in real time, on the fly, as the computer senses changes in fuel. Ultimately, though, the absolute most efficient method, is to design the crankshaft for a specific fuel. As it is now, most engines are designed FOR gasoline, and everything else needs to be adjusted to THAT median point. Hell strikes again...

From #1016

February 28 2024 8:29AM

The Gridlessness family has never really been "off grid." From what I understand about their story, he works as an electrical contractor fairly regularly. I don't know if you've seen it, but he has a big diesel truck full of tools that I've assumed is his work vehicle. It seems like he's using the off grid terminology as marketing for his YouTube channel, and to undeservedly toot his own horn. It also seems as though the only "grid" he's associating with the "off grid" system is the electrical grid. They still buy food from stores regularly, but he also tries to imply that they hunt everything. They do hunt most of their meat, recently the mom is making cheese, they plant a pretty big garden, but they're still buying a lot of food. I think that's what annoys me about his "salesmanship" type personality: he does things half-assed then talks about it like he's done everything, and then some. Basically form over function, which is excessively common these days, especially in politics. I admit he's doing more than most, but he acts like he's selling something, instead of just being brutally honest. Hence, why now that the project requires a level of precision and knowledge he hasn't acquired (pyrolysis), he's failing. You can only bullshit your way through so much, and with the crude oil economy always at the ready to save people from their own incompetence when necessary, that goofiness and nonchalance that stimulated the salesmanship form over function ideal can maintain itself. I suppose that's exactly why I've always been different in that regard: I don't, and have never taken the crude oil economy for granted, nor tried to lie about how much influence its had on my existence in this society. That's what he does: manipulates terminology to fit his fantasies, and allows himself to be sloppy and incompetent because he knows he always has a backup plan: the oil economy. I'm really not trying to tear him down; at least not more so than the average nigger or demon in hell, but it's frustrating when people can get so close to understanding something significant, but fall short due to their own negligence. I hope he figures the gasifier out, and that process gives him the wake up call he needs to change his general approach and attitude toward what "off grid" means, and what's required to actually accomplish that goal. The kids seem much more capable of that, but who knows? I do hope they get it running. That'll be the first time they can claim they're at least capable of being off grid, and that's good...

From #1017

March 1 2024 2:35AM

Yeah, I have a no-youtube-comment policy, but daaamn, I've come very close to commenting a few times on their videos. The thing about it is that I'd rather help the kids, and not so much the dad, but there's no real interface to do so. At least not that I'm aware of. Go for it if you want to, but my thought on it is he will be vehemently against tearing that little condenser off and rebuilding an adequate one. You'll probably get the "but the kit maker said this was good" routine, but you might make some headway. It'll probably be a long comment either way. Let me know if you do... I want to read what you say. You're absolutely correct in the assessment of "off grid" strategies being pathetically inadequate, generally speaking. People have almost no relationship to machining, and no relationship with precision. That's why when it does happen, I'm so impressed. John from Farmcraft101, David Richards' steam powered machine shop, and a couple others that are just a couple of skills away from REAL Gridlessness give me hope. Even when the skillset is there, usually, they don't really care too much about being fully self sustainable, though. It's just about impossible to find anyone who fits all the puzzle pieces together. Anyways, good luck if you do comment.

External Resources



Titles next to each video coming “soon”... Gridlessness video where they attempt to run a generator on wood gas and syngas.