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Thanks to all of you, 2009 might be remembered as the year of resurrection for small scale gasification.

In the last year all of us collectively built, bought and otherwise caused to exist more small scale gasifiers than at any other time or place since WWII. (minor caveat for North Korea, where some reports have their being quite a few still in use).

More importantly, we’ve orchestrated this resurrection on top of a new foundation of science and engineering. Real data, transparency of process, and formal documentation of improvement is making significant dents in the long standing problems of small scale gasification. In a few years we’ll likely have a proper “Mr Fusion”; but on the road to there we’ve already made today’s gasifiers actually tolerable to use, affordable to purchase, and easy to build when time is more available than money. Much more progress is to come in the new year, but before we go there, we want to thank all of you for making the current successes possible.

We’d also like to thank you by bringing you up-to-date with your particular GEK physicals, for FREE where we can!

The point of the GEK modularity and flange standardization is to make forward compatibility easy for all GEK owners. In contrast to planned obsolescence, we’ve planned for ongoing integration of improvement. Whether you have a v0.8 GEK, a v3.0 GEK, or anything in between, all can be brought to current v3.5 spec with new bolt in replacement parts or configuration tweaks. Yes, there are some exceptions to this in the details, but the fundamentals of the vessels were well chosen in the beginning, and continue to support all current desired modifications.

Thus to get everyone up to our current best spec and state of discussion, here are some upgrades you might want to consider. We’re offereing as many of these we can for free. Where free is not possible, we offer them at a steep discount to current owners. We’ll continue to do this as best we can going forward with new versions. And if you just want to start again from scratch with a new shiny unit, we’ll support your indulgence with a 25% discount (only for the same equipment you had previously).

If you’re still debating getting your first GEK, we’ll tempt you with a 5% discount between now and New Year’s Day. Early in January there will be a new pricing structure for the base unit and add-ons. Yes, it will likely be a bit more expensive, so this might be the last hurrah at the current prices. Here’s a summary of how the base unit and add-ons go together into complete systems. The new pricing structure will be based on packages like this, as the current “ala carte” system is confusing people.

GEKModelsAndOptions.vc6

For older GEK units, here finally are the upgrade options, in order of importance . . .

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(FREE upgrades, 100% off)

1. Hourglass hearth:
http://www.gekgasifier.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250

doublehearth

The GEK now ships with a full double cone houglass hearth made in stainless steel. The full hourglass hearth improves tar handling and bridging issues significantly over the various inverted V hearth versions. The hearths come with a thermocouple at the constriction so you can monitor temp while running (that’s the little tube on the side). Temp at the constriction is the best predictor of success or failure of tar conversion. Keep things above about 850C here for good tar conversion. This is one bit of learning from the comparative fuel tests. http://gekgasifier.pbworks.com/Multi-fuel+Run+Comparison

We’ll send these new hearths to older GEK owners for FREE. We only ask that you pay the shipping ($25 in the US).

2. Two Channel Manometer
http://www.gekgasifier.com/gallery/v20-manometer/

manometer

Our collaboration is greatly improved if we can talk in real numbers over important data points. One of the easiest to do is pressure drop across the reactor and filter. The manometer is like the speedometer for your gasifier– use it to tell how hard you are pulling the reactor. Under 1″ and you are likely in tar making regions. Over 10″ and you are likely overpulling. 2″-8″ is the range where things are usually good.

You can also use a manometer to size your nozzles. Use one channel to measure pressure drop across the full reactor. And the other channel to measure pressure drop just across the nozzles to the combustion area. When nozzles and fuel are properly sized, about half the total reactor pressure drop comes from the nozzles and the other halfcomes from the gas flow resistance through the bed. When you see this 1:1 ratio, your nozzle size (blast rate) will be correct for your fuel size.

The manometer is free to all older GEK owners. It is also free to anyone building or owning any other gasifier. The manometer is the most important gasifier instrument. Everyone needs one.

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(50% off upgrades)

3. Ejector/Venturi gas drive, mixer and burner:
http://gekgasifier.pbworks.com/Ejector-Venturi+gas+drive+with+air+premix+swirl+burner

flare

The fan on the v1 and v2 GEKs did not create adequate vacuum for many of the low void space fuels people are trying to run. We’ve found much better results with the reactor operating in the 2″-8″ of h20 vac range. The original fan only results in about 1″ at the reactor after losses to the burner nozzle and filter. For v3 we went to an ejector venturi drive system which creates over 10″ of vac at the reactor, and integrated air mixing so the flare can burn at proper fuel/air mixture inside the swirl burner. The result is a clean burning, non-dripping, and fully controllable flaring package. We usually sell the complete ejector/venturi, mixer and swirl burner “tree assembly” for $245. We will upgrade owners with the older version for 50% off the standard price, or $123, plus shipping.

4. Drum FIlter/Scrubber:
http://gekgasifier.pbworks.com/Drum-Filter-and-Scrubber

http://www.gekgasifier.com/forums/showthread.php?t=218

drumfilterskid150

The GEK strategy is to solve tar and particulate problems in the core reactor and gas cowling, not recover from them downstream with a complicated kitchen sink filter train. Nonetheless, the original GEK filter does not leave much room for error, and given the ease of error with a gasifier, a larger safety net was needed. The GEK now ships with a 16gal open top drum filter (which seconds as the shipping container for the rest of the parts that don’t fit in the 30 gal drum hopper). The filter is still primarily a packed bed type, but includes a liquid pool in the base of the drum so it can also operate as a recirculating tumble scrubber. This allows for a self contained scrubber solution, with disposal of the dirty water back into the reactor (if you are running the TOTTI heat recovery systems). The new filter system is $295. 50% off is $148 + shipping.

5. Gas Cowling SS Tube and Insulation:
http://gekgasifier.pbworks.com/f/gascowling.jpg

gascowlinginsulation

If you run the higher pull rates possible with the ejector venturi, you are likely to burn the paint off the gas cowilng. And if you want to upgrade to the heat auger fuel drying system, you now have a use for the extra heat we were previously trying to dump. The GEK now ships with a ss tube and fiber insulation that slips inside the gas cowling. Older models can insert the same, but you might have to grind 1/8″ or so off the grate edge for clearance. The ss tube and insulation is usually $145. 50% off is $77 + shipping.

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(25% off upgrades)

6. Larger 11″ reactor, insulation, air preheat and hearth
http://gekgasifier.pbworks.com/11-Inch-Reactor

11reactor

Starting with v3.5 we modified the reactor insulation tube to an 11″ diameter stainless steel insert, instead of the previous 10″ hard welded tube. The reactor shell continues to be 12″ and the mounting to all gas cowlings remains the same. The wider insulation tube allows for a wider nozzle ring and wider tapers to the base of the reduction bell.

Previously the reduction cone could taper out to 6″. This new reactor will support tapers out to 7.5″. This larger taper potential can be used either to increase residence time in the reduction zone with the standard 3″ restriction, or to support larger restriction and related tapers, and thus larger total gas flow rates. Our testing suggested that increased residence time in reduction would be helpful. The change from 6″ to 7.5″ diameter at the base of the cone is about a 50% increase in cross-sectional area for gas flow.
The base mount for the hearth changes with this new reactor. The free double cone hearth offered above for older units will use the old 6″ base cone and mount. If you want the 7.5″ cone base and mount, you need to upgrade to the newer reactor.

The new 11″ reactor with ss insulation tube, hearth, air neck, and ss air lines is $695 – 25% for current owners, or $521 + shipping.


7. Larger 15″ Gas Cowling with Insulation, Updated Ash Grate, and Rocket Legs (includes #4 from above)

http://www.gekgasifier.com/gallery/gek-v30/

gascowling

The gas cowling vessel has likely changed more than anything else through the GEK versions. It is the least important vessel performance wise, but one of the more important in terms of manufacturability and usability Here’s what happened:

v0.8- replaced 25 gal propane tank with a purpose rolled vessel of same 14.75″ diameter, changed legs to removable npt plumbing
v0.9- added through vessel bung for instruments
v1.0- changed direction of cyclone exit
v2x- changed legs to bolt on tubes, eliminated plumbing for gas exit to cyclone and replaced with direct mount square sheetmetal tube and flange, added manometer mount
v3.0- changed legs to rocket fins, increased height, added gas bung out on side for start up, made the base plate a flange for adding automated ash take of add-on assembly, different grate post diameter.
v3.2- added ss insulation tube and fiber that inserts into cowling. (see #5 above)
v3.5- changed the diameter from 14.75″ to 15″ for increased internal insulation space and nice even inch standards for all vessels. 15″ also rationalizes design integration with BEK reactor.

The current gas cowling with ss insulation tube, grate, and rocket legs is $695 – 25% for current owners, or $521 + shipping

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If all of that is too confusing, remember you can just start again with a new/additional GEK for 25% off until New Year’s Day (previous owners only). New add-ons are like new purchases, so will be 5% off during the sale.

All upgrade and new purchase deals end at the end of New Year’s Day. Shipping rates are not discounted. Orders can be placed via “gek@allpowerlabs.org”.

Thanks again for being part of the solution.

jim


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Jim Mason
Website: http://www.whatiamupto.com
Current Projects:
– Gasifier Experimenters Kit (the GEK): http://www.gekgasifier.com
– Escape from Berkeley alt fuels vehicle race: www.escapefromberkeley.com
– ALL Power Labs on Twitter: http://twitter.com/allpowerlabs
– Shipyard Announce list: http://lists.spaceship.com/listinfo.cgi/icp-spaceship.com

2 Responses

  1. Hi Jim

    I am a low budget surplus tank hack and have got my GEK about half done using most of your design paramaters. Love the open forum you are hosting!!! Just wanted to let you know of my project and support of your efforts. If you maintain a list of enthuseasts (sp?), please put me on it.

    Thanks
    Steve
    Chumstick, Wa USA

  2. Hi,

    Like perhaps many who have contacted you, I am quite intrigued even while well outside my own area of expertise.

    I teach Economics at a college on the Kenai Peninsula. We are but one of the many sub-units of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).

    Recently I have been exploring the use of coal as a fuel source, as it is plentiful in Alaska and presumably packs more energy per square foot or per pound than wood. It was through that research that I came upon your website.

    I’d like to know if you are working with any one up here in Alaska, and especially anyone at UAA or either of the other two University systems here in Alaska (University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) or the University of Southeast/Juneau (UAS). If so, I’d appreciate getting their contact info. If not, I’d appreciate knowing if you have any programs specially designed for colleges.

    This whole gasification concept goes well beyond economic considerations, of course. It would likely interest our machine shop, welding shop and process tech folks as well. In any event, with existing natural gas supplies here on the Kenai dwindling, new exploration hampered, and gasoline/diesel always well above $3/gallon there is a real need here for useful, alternative energy sources.

    Biomass we have plenty of, be it waste wood or coal, although neither is used efficiently, when at all.

    Again, if you could put me in touch with whomever else is using your equipment up here I’d be quite grateful. If no one else from Alaska is on your customer list yet, then I would certainly like to entertain the idea of filling that void!

    Hope to hear back soon, and sorry I missed the year-end sale!

    Tom Dalrymple
    (907) 262-0295

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