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Survey of your thoughts?

Given the new year, we thought it a good time to get some general feedback about how we’re doing and how we might do better.  In particular, we’re interested in your assessment of our products and your pro/con deliberations about whether you’d like to get one, whether through buying or building on your own.
We are currently selling and shipping between 6 and 10 Power Pallets a month.  About 10 GEK gasifier kits a month too.  Lots of you build them DIY too, but the numbers are more difficult to count.  While this is more gasifier-engine system building than anyone else on the planet by a factor of around 10x, it is still tiny compared to the real need, and the amount of interest writing us daily.  Here’s some numbers on the scale of interest we see each month.
We have around 50,000 unique visitors to our website a month.  Of these around 300 write in directly asking for info about building or buying something.  Of these about 50 progress to a formal quote or invoice.  And of these the numbers above decide in the end to get a unit.
We’re interested in learning more about what is happening between the beginning and end of this process.  What are the factors across our organization, product and financial particulars that drive your deliberations to either a yes or no?  A now or later?  Or a conclusion that things are “X”, when you really want them to be “Y”.  Or that things are in fact the “Y” you want, but “Z” is a problem for you.   Why did you stop?  Or why did you continue?
In short, what is right and what is wrong with our efforts.  We’d like open-ended and honest feedback.  We’re not going to elicit this with a survey, as it is difficult to do such without leading the topics and answers.  So we’re just going to leave it open and you tell us what the real issues are, pro and con.
No essays are needed; just some short and helpful (or non-helpful) comments.  Enlighten us about your perspectives and deliberations.  Fast and quick.  All input will be held confidential. 
Input should go to ““.
Sadly, there are no free raffle tickets for submittals: just appreciation for the input, a promise to consider it carefully, and a desire to use the suggestions to improve all the things you care about.
Thank you for helping us better bring you what you really want, in the curious world of biomass thermal conversion.

First Authorized Representative Demo at Savona Combustion Laboratory, Italy

 Our Director of Business Development, Dusty Swartz, travelled to Italy in late October to host the first of what will be many Authorized Representative demos.  We’re still processing the interest for many locales around the world, but the Italians demanded immediate attention, and got started right away as a result.  We encourage others in queue to do similarly and we’ll likewise highlight your efforts and send the interested in your direction.  
This group in Italy is now hosting monthly demos, and tending many requests for project development and support.  The interest in this tech from Italy is rather overwhelming.  Other groups are starting and/or working in parallel with them as ARs in other parts of Italy.
Here’s Dusty’s report from the event.
The Authorized Representative (AR) program officially launched in August with a focus on six key regions.  Within eight weeks we offered our first international AR demonstration in Savona, Italy. 
The demonstration was held at the Savona Combustion Laboratory and hosted by Tecnoforest of Italy.  Interest in the event exceeded our expectations and we had to split the demo into two sessions to accommodate the number of attendees.  Dusty Swartz, the APL Director of Business Development, gave an hour presentation about our gasification technology to each group. This was followed by a demonstration of a 10kW Power Pallet to 70 businessmen and women from all regions of Italy.

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The Savona Combustion Laboratory (SCL) and the Dept. of Thermal Machines, Energy Systems and Transportation (DIMSET) is headed by Professor Ferruccio Pittaluga, and comprised of 10 associates, including professors, academic researchers, research assistants, and Ph.D. students. The laboratory is located north of the campus of the Savona School of Engineering, and is housed in an old hanger that was once part of a military compound. There are two sections within the building—the LF Area, which is devoted to liquid-fuel combustion systems, and the NGF Area, which is dedicated to natural gas fueled combustion systems testing.

Professor Pittaluga believes “to achieve efficient biomass-based energy generation careful selection of the thermo-chemical process must be taken into consideration.” The balance between the need for heat and electricity in each specific application determines whether gasification or direct combustion is the most appropriate technology for distributed CHP needs.  DIMET/SCL is involved in both biomass gasification and direct combustion technologies. They monitor the operation of a Bevera 2.8MW steam-based power plant near Ventimiglia, and have two downdraft biomass gasifiers in their laboratory.

In 2006 SCL installed an Ankur 12kW downdraft gasifier and paired it with a Field Marshall engine. The Ankur gasifier was used for a number of years to do research on a mixture of biomass and coal dust. Shown below:

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The 10kW Power Pallet was purchased from ALL Power Labs in the summer of 2012. The staff mentioned they preferred using the 10kW Power Pallet because it is a smaller and more efficient system, and one that does not produce wastewater through a gas scrubbing process.  The Power Pallet has over 300 hours of operation since the demonstration in October.

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Shown above: 10kW Power Pallet with Professor Pittaluga, in the center, joined by SCL students and Tecnoforest employees. 

Savona Combustion Laboratory works in conjunction with Tecnoforest—an academic spin-off to pursue R&D activities. In the field of renewable energies SCL is developing an integrated strategy referred to as soil to engine that includes agronomy, thermo-chemistry conversion, and energy technology. The strategy takes into account all the steps that are necessary in order to achieve the so-called triple-E sustainability—Energy, Ecology, and Economy.

Tecnoforest is focusing on sustainable forestry. According to Professor Pittaluga, “High biodiversity, rapid growth forestation techniques, in order to achieve a substantial increase, is often critical for attaining economic sustainability.” The forestation modality is called consociated forestry—it features a great capacity of sequestering atmospheric carbon and producing high energy density wood. By applying this forestation pattern the expected yields are about 10 times higher than standard forestry based on poplar clones or other single-species forestry. Tecnoforest has a specialized rapid-growth wood-seed bank and an annexed biodynamic nursery for production of tree seedlings ready for transplanting.

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Sequence of pictures: (A) Transplanting ; (B) After 18 months; (C) After 7 years: example of energy-rich rapid-growth forestry: test terrain at Bossarino, Vado Ligure (joint endeavor Tecnoforest and DIMSET/SCL)

The strategic objective of DIMSET/SCL is to develop a highly intelligent and synergic approach to energy that does not view renewable energies as an option that must exclude the use of fossil fuels, but as a complementary resource that can be made compatible with fossil fuel infrastructure. When they fulfill their mission, SCL may become known as “Sustainable” Combustion Laboratory for their efforts in this field.

Tecnoforest is collaborating with a company in Terni to assist with installation of Power Pallets purchased through their organization. This combined company will be overseeing the CE approval process in Italy. Tecnoforest will be hosting demonstrations of the Power Pallet on a monthly basis, providing technical information to customers about gasification and the Power Pallet, and also selling units. 

They serve as an example to others that wish to be Authorized Representatives within Italy and throughout Europe. For those interested in seeing the 10kW Power Pallet in Savona- Professor Pittaluga is planning another demonstration in February.

For more information visit these websites:

Savona Combustion Laboratory:


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