Gold Prospecting Forums - General => Scientific Journal => Topic started by: Magoo on March 28, 2013, 07:23:13 PM

Title: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: Magoo on March 28, 2013, 07:23:13 PM

Ask any miner what is the biggest cost of any small operation, they will tell you 9 times out of 10 fuel cost.  And rightly so, almost every piece of equipment is gasoline or diesel powered at some point ( electric powered units are using gen sets). Then I usually ask what is the biggest waste product? Some will say overburden or tailings but after a moment of reasoning we conclude that these are not waste or by products.

Dirt and rock are as natural as the air we breath, put back in the proper place life will cover them again. Although trees technically are not waste either, yet they are treated like a waste material. However they can be a massive resource if treated in an eco friendly way. They are sustainable, renewable and can be carbon neutral foot print (Kyoto protocol ). No I am not a tree hugger or a greeny (kill the people, save the whales), but I do believe in good stewardship and getting big oil out of my business as much as I can. Am I anti oil? not really. But I will say if i can save a dollar I will, if those trees are worth dollars I'll cash them in. Really it comes down to whats my balance at the end of the day (what did I trade my labor for). I would rather 2 more guys on my crew than to give big oil my cash.

Back before the second world war people in Europe were experimenting gasification technology, but during the war it became a necessity as fuel embargoes and military demand chocked out all supply. Volvo even made production delivery trucks and cars to meet the needs. As well Volkswagen made some cars and military applications.

In essence this technology is easily reproduced today with the average home shop, and can be tweaked for much more efficiency than the WW2 era units.

The fuel

Any plant material will work, grass, leaves, branches, wood of any kind. Many places in developing nations are using it for power generation, particularly in production and manufacturing where large quantities of waste materials such as nut shells, pits, plant stocks and other woody or fibrous are a by product. As you may know the denser the material the more gas production and longer the burn. With that said I know of farm and greenhouse operations that rely on only grass, leaf or plant stock, for heat and electrical needs for a portion or all of the year.
The process

The process is not as complicated as one may think. The material must not be green, but must be be brown dried but not tinder dried. The reason is many plants and trees have gums and resins which will cause processing issues.

1  Hammer milling - The material must be made into saw dust or slightly larger. You go out and buy a chipper/hammer mill for the P.T.O. on your tractor and they do work very well. I have also seen guys making their own from a 45 gal drum, and others from 36" pipe. Its up to you, cost in not an obstacle if you put some scrounge and fab time in.

Hammermill Home Made - YouTube (

Electric Wood Chipper - Pre-equipment to make pellets or briquettes. - YouTube (

2  Pellet mill - Take the material from step one and a small amount of water to cause pelletization of product. Again can be off the shelf or home made.

Pellets from leaves1.mpg - YouTube (

Pellets made from Grass - YouTube (

Making wood pellets is so easy, a child can do it.  Run your pellet stove for free. - YouTube (

3  Drying - The pellets need to be air dried or heat dried to get max benefit. Too much moisture will cause excess steam in the burn process and will make it difficult to maintain engine power. Some guys build solar driers some, some use grain silos with heat and air options. There is no limit to innovation in this or any step.

4   Gasification - This will take a little study however a 5th grader could build it with the right tools. Now the basic system is simple but if you want better efficiency a few more steps can be added to scrub the gas. If you want study material let me know I have lots. There are also different configurations for different demands and volume. ( gasification = syn gas )

Wood gas truck - YouTube (

Genset running on woodgas.  My new minifier is complete - YouTube (

The wood gas generator runs the whole farm! - YouTube (

Woodgas Tractor Restart,  After 1 Hour Shut Down     MVI_0367a.flv - YouTube (

5   Engine - You can run a small single cylinder up to a big diesel. Gasoline engines can run unaided but the diesel still needs diesel for the compression ignition. I have heard of up to 80% supplementation with syn gas. That 20% is vital for the ignition. Most small operations use a 350 ci Chevy engine as they are easy to work with and highly adaptable to this technology. In almost med to low rpm is ideal as the syn gas burns slower than gasoline. The old Lincoln welders love this fuel and run most excellently on it. Some have plasma ignition systems to increase performance and also water cracking to increase hp and rpm.

Other adaptations
Those of you who will try home power via this technology will want to make use of the hot coolant or methane from sewer tank. The coolant has been used to pipe into shops or homes to keep the heat bills down. A well insulated home of 2000 sq feet can be maintained with domestic hot water and heat most of the year with a 350 ci or larger engine. A wood stove or pellet stove will only be necessary during cold snaps. I prefer the pellet as pellets will always be on hand and the efficiency is much higher with a lower carbon footprint. According to the Kyoto protocol pellet furnaces and stoves including gasification systems are carbon neutral, that means 0. Not a green technology but not a carbon contributor. As far as the sewer gases are concerned there won't be much there, certainly not enough to run an engine. But its a waste gas which can be burnt, all gases (stinky smells), pathogens, and methane (green house gas) will be burnt up with out a trace.

Lastly there are fuel reformers out there that truly do work, and syn gas can be broken down further for a very clean burn. In contrast gasoline is still dirtier than syn gas if not reformed.

Any questions feel free to ask.
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: gustavus on March 28, 2013, 09:24:49 PM

Just be sure to affix an approved spark arrestor, or forestry will have a piece of your hide to hang on the wall.
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: Magoo on March 28, 2013, 10:50:57 PM
yes good idea, even if the unit won't spark forestry doesn't care, they would love to wright you up and hand you a nice bill.
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: th3r0nr on April 10, 2013, 10:34:30 PM
this isn't something to mess around with.
your using heat to extract hydrogen gas from plant material and in turn using that in combustion to create energy
if you do something wrong you might have the misfortune of making a bomb next to which you are standing
... i'm not saying dont look into it, im just saying you shouldnt try to build a gasifier without a proper engineer and lots of caution, i mean one of the many things that can go wrong is a build of pressure  of your produced gas which goes BOOM
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: Magoo on April 11, 2013, 12:08:54 PM
Thanks for your reply th3r0nr

I can see where your misconceptions come from, it can seem scary to make a gas that can burn. I have worked in the oil and gas industry for many years where there are many dangers. More so in process plants because of the high heat, high pressure and high hydrogen saturation. With bio mass gas extraction none of these hazards exist. In fact the gas extracted is less volatile the regular gasoline. However we use it everyday with out incident for 99% of the time. Yes I too have thrown gasoline on a fire with less than safe results, the same can be said for bio gas. On the other hand am I saying throw caution to the wind and do no research, of course not. There is enough information to be had from private sources and Government offices such as FEMA which encourages self development for home and farm use. I would add if anyone can use a search engine and read you could easily get a college education on this topic with a few months of evening reading. I know of a number of people with no more than a high school education that run a home or a small farm/homestead on bio gas.
In the typical bio gas generator no pressure system is used and heat is moderate.
I am a big advocate of self research and development. In some cases an engineer is handy to solve certain problems which are beyond the scope of personal experience and knowledge. At ( there is a free source of engineers the work with self development projects. A great bunch of guys!
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: th3r0nr on April 11, 2013, 12:58:41 PM
i think you misunderstood me the point of my reply was to say you need to be aware of working with gasses on side a there is flammability but thats not what i was saying you should be concerned with im saying you should be concerned with side b putting gasses under pressure i've had co2 tanks explode before
CO2 Tank Explosion - YouTube (
in this video they put a co2 tank in a fire the pressure builds it goes boom, working with gasification you have all the same things in play and even a few more, you have a stable but flammable gas being pressurized over a fire where as the co2 is a stable nonflammable  gas
magoo does that give you a better understanding of why i said what i did
if you cut corners or use bad materials you can have pressure failure
'proper engineer' in the terms of they know what they are doing, they know to take their time, and they know to do it right
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: Magoo on April 11, 2013, 06:10:52 PM
I see what you are saying, maybe you are making reference to a system more engineered than I have used. In the system I have laid out there is no pressure in this system unless you are compressing for storage. The bio gas system described above is an open system. The only pressure would be a slight vacuum from the engine as it draws on the gasifier. If you would like info on the basic systems that we use I would love to email you anything you would like to read. I personally like the down draft single combuster method as it reduces tars and resins. It is also a demand system and runs at a slight vacuum.
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: th3r0nr on April 11, 2013, 07:14:48 PM
ahh, yep i also believe it had multiple combustion chambers  thanks for clarifying 
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: Magoo on April 11, 2013, 08:33:43 PM
Your very welcome! I enjoyed our brief discussion.
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: th3r0nr on April 11, 2013, 08:45:54 PM
Title: Re: Gasifcation to run engines on small mining operations
Post by: Au_Rush on March 28, 2018, 09:37:00 PM