Heating water with wood gas

I was experimenting with Big MIDGE last night. Attempting to find out the minimum amount of wood chips I would need to boil 1 litre of water. Not much was the answer. Approximately 200g is the amount of wood chips required.

It is surprising how efficient these MIDGE stoves are. They produce no smoke, can be used indoors so long as there is adequate ventilation, and produce little ash. They give off an awful lot of heat and most of it is directed precisely where you want it.

Upcoming experiments include constructing a heating coil from copper pipe and attempting to heat a larger mass of water using the thermosiphon effect. I would like to heat enough water for one or two showers, washing the dishes and a cup of coffee per day.

Ultimately I would like a larger gasifier that during the course of a day can heat a large heat store. This store would be a heavily insulated tank holding 10,000 or more litres of water. The intention would be to heat the store to provide enough heat for a week of hot water and underfloor heating.

A wood gasifier is ideal for this as it is very efficient. Most of the heat generated would go into the store. The wood chips would be simply created from waste wood mass. There would be no need to fell large trees, which could then be sold on for income rather than my burning here. Besides, chainsaw work, bucking and splitting does my back no good at all.


Iñigo said...

Congratulations on your success! If you finally move to Extremadura, you will find much dead branches and vegetable refuse, because the woods are not very well tended.

However, I see a small handicap to your plans: 10.000 litres of water weigh 10 tonnes, and you will need a very capable scaffolding to hold such a tank, or hide it in the floor or watever. In my experience not all floors or basements are able to support about 1 tonne for each square meter, so probably you will need a good concrete slab to place your tank on. Probably you've already thought of that. Best luck!

James said...

One thing you see a lot of in the countryside is the blue barrel.

I will probably bury loads of them in the ground and have then all piped together. A central core of barrels would hold the heat.

Spain (if not Extremadura) gets closer everyday.

Seeing Barcelona import water from France does not make me feel good though.

Iñigo said...

The Barcelona fiasco is a mixture of bad luck (one of the dryest years in the last 150 years that rain records are kept), improvisation (not seeing that the draught was really severe) and the usual problems of overexplotation of nature: many rivers are so polluted it is quite impossible to use their water for anything, many farms still use medieval irrigation systems, over population (Bacelona and Catalonia receive millions of turists each year), and proliferation of swimming pools and gardens in real state developement areas. Andalucia is more populated, gets less rainwater and has not had such problems.
Best luck! Your gasifier experiments are great!