Converting a gas generator to run on biomass or other waste materials can be a great way to recycle trash that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It allows you to generate electricity or power equipment using free and renewable fuel sources. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to modify a gas generator to run on trash.
Gather the Necessary Materials and Tools
To convert your gas generator, you will need:
Gas generator - This should be a gasoline powered generator that you want to modify to run on biomass gas instead of gasoline. Make sure it is in good working condition.
Gasifier stove or reactor - This is where the biomass will be heated to produce syngas. A simple DIY gasifier can be made from a metal drum.
Piping and valves - To connect the gasifier to the generator and control the gas flow. Use stainless steel or galvanized steel pipes rated for high temperatures.
Air blower or fan - To provide air flow into the gasifier. Can use a small electric blower fan.
Filters - To filter the syngas before it enters the generator. Use things like wood chips or steel wool.
Tools - For construction and modifying the generator you will need basic tools like drill, wrenches, hacksaw, etc.
Protective equipment - Use gloves, goggles, dust mask when working with waste materials.
Construct the Gasifier Stove
The gasifier is where biomass like wood, sawdust, or other carbon-rich waste materials are heated with a restricted air supply to produce "syngas". There are many gasifier designs, but a simple one can be made from a metal drum.
Use a 55 gallon steel drum and make a grate halfway up using steel bars.
Near the bottom, add an opening for air intake that can be hooked to a blower fan.
Add a side port higher up to attach the piping that will carry gas to the generator.
The biomass fuel is loaded from the top onto the grate and lit.
Connect the Generator and Gasifier
You need to securely connect the two components to carry the syngas into the engine:
Use steel piping like galvanized smokestack pipe to go from the gasifier's side port to the generator's gas intake.
Add a valve in the pipeline to control gas flow. Use high temperature ball valves.
For filters, put things like wood chips, steel wool, or saw dust inside the pipeline. Not required but helps clean the gas.
Use the same size piping as the generator's current gas intake. Attach with flanges, threaded fittings, or welds for an airtight seal.
Modify the Generator
The generator needs some key modifications to be able to run on syngas instead of gasoline:
Convert the carburetor to a simple fixed air and gas mixing chamber. Completely remove any gasoline fuel components.
The spark plugs also need to be changed to a hotter type designed for methane gas like an NGK BPMR7A or equivalent.
Disconnect or bypass any gasoline fuel lines, pumps and components - you only want the syngas running to the engine.
A starting battery may be required to spin the engine until syngas ignites it.
Prepare and Load Biomass Fuel
The gasifier requires carbon-rich biomass fuel like:
- Wood chips or pellets
- Shredded paper
- ** agricultural waste**
- Use a wood chipper or shredder for consistency. Fuel pieces should be 1 in. or less.
- Ensure fuel is as dry as possible for best production.
Loading into the gasifier:
- Fill the grate up to the top with fuel through the top opening.
- Light the fuel and close the lid once burning.
You are now ready to startup your waste-to-energy generator:
- Start the air blower connected to the gasifier.
- Open the gate valve so syngas flows into the generator.
- Use the pull cord or battery to start the generator.
- Adjust the gas valve until the engine runs smoothly without shutting off.
- Congratulations! You are now generating power from waste biomass!
Running a generator from trash takes some DIY skills, but can be very rewarding. You can turn piles of unused waste materials into useful electricity or mechanical power completely off-grid!