Bio-mass generator bit the dust.

Lefty Wright
Lefty Wright Solar Expert Posts: 111 ✭✭
A bio-mass generator was installed at a non-profit facility in my county. The manufacturer donated a large part of the cost and a local plywood mill contributed an unlimited supply of white fir chips for fuel.

As I understand it the wood chips were heated and the gasses released ran a turbine which spun a generator. It was a small unit of 20KW or so. But large enough to power the site which was mostly into recycling and providing jobs for handicapped people.

But it didn't work!

The equipment manufacturer had engineers trying to get it online but they finally gave up. The reason they gave was that white fir was the wrong fuel for that equipment.

Was it too high tech? I know that during WWII Germans ran cars on wood gas after they ran out of oil. It seems we should have made some progress since then.


  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,401 admin
    Re: Bio-mass generator bit the dust.

    Probably the best bet would be to find an operational facility like this, and invite someone over for a "free vacation in the US" for some consulting (or some email and pictures).

    I am sure there were some very sharp people working on your local plant--but it was probably the case of trying to fit a round peg in a square hole (inappropriate mix of technologies and local skill sets). But that is just a guess . :confused:

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Lefty Wright
    Lefty Wright Solar Expert Posts: 111 ✭✭
    Re: Bio-mass generator bit the dust.

    There was definitely a problem there Bill. The local guys may not have had the experience needed to solve the problem. But the factory engineers couldn't make it run either.

    This was a small unit. 10 or 12 feet long and 4 feet wide. Maybe it was too small apackage for this technology.

    Mother Earth News has plans for running large automotive engines on gassified wood scraps so I was surprised that an engineering company couldn't make their product work. But then they were using a turbine, not a reciprocating engine.
  • Telco
    Telco Solar Expert Posts: 201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bio-mass generator bit the dust.

    Can you make it operate off the recommended fuel? I think I'd try that before writing it off.
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bio-mass generator bit the dust.

    Or this plant,, go to the specs at the bottom of all the 'we are great' palaver in the text..

    it has dramatically improved the air quality since it uses all the wood waste from 5 sawmils in town and there are no longer 'beehive burners" in the valley. I mught add that it was originally sold as a 'co-generatinig plant' ie it would sell excess heat to the businesses in town and further lower the carbn footprint of some businesses, but that part went south in a hurry...

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