Fischer Tropsch Progress Report
Jay Hasty and Jon-Richard Little made a nice video explaining the scale-scale Fischer Tropsch reactor Jay is developing. This is a good introduction to the process and some of the (many) issues that need to get solved before it’s a reasonable proposition. No, we haven’t yet made any liquid. But we have made some impressive soot and a bit of methane, though really we’re still working out the many details of set up. Liquid seems not far away.
Even once we have liquid, it is important to remember the distance from demo liquid to something that is realistic to deploy is not trivial. If there is any hole in the ground into which more money has been poured to lesser results than gasification and pyrolysis, it is gas-to-liquids work. Combine them both together, with a good dose of VC “oversight”, and you get something like the recent Range Fuel 300 million dollar hoovering of US taxpayers.
The natives on the gasification list have been having a field day on the autopsy of the Range Fuels corpse. The thread starts here for your entertainment:
Or see Robert Rapier’s perspective in the R [...]
Welcome to the New Year. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the last couple months, and some pointers to what’s coming in the months ahead.
This winter we’ve been deep in Power Pallet refinement in response to user feedback and general product maturation. The upgrades fortunately no longer relate to the core gasifier, but rather to details in the larger Power Pallet control system and integrated product.
The raw gasifier is what always gets the attention, but we’re finding that real usability is achieved (or not) across lots of details elsewhere. Once you get past the early demos and few hour runs, many details of gasifier/engine integration, start/stop procedure, mixture tracking/adjustment, system auto-diagnosis and general fuel/ash handling become central to the user experience. All the early issues of tar fade, and a many-fronted product design challenge begins to emerge.
Sadly, we’ve found the stand-alone gasifier attached to any available engine isn’t really enough. You need an integrated whole with all the parts working together for a regular use, hands off machine. So as we continue our movement towards a “lift lid, put in trash, push button, and out comes useful things” washing machine type experience, here’s some [...]
we’re working towards a native chp system built standard into the power pallet. the goal is to make available both the hot water from the engine cooling system, as well as the hot exhaust after the pyrocoil, towards off board heating needs. we’re working on liquid heat exchangers to produce hot water for heating and hot shower water. we’re also working on hot gas to gas exchangers so you can get hot air for fuel drying and ag crop drying.
there are many fancy ways to do this. bear will document these later. there are also some cheap obtainium ways to do this. here below are some of the cheap hacks you can do with stuff laying around the homestead.
1. burn the flare into a salvaged on demand water heater.
these on demand heat exchanger sections are surprisingly efficient. in the picture here we’re sending 800c flue gas into it, and you can hold you hand over the top of it without too much pain. i put a piece of crumpled paper down inside the exchanger and it didn’t catch on fire. didn’t even get fully pyrolyzed.
the water coming out is about 80c in [...]
APL had a booth at the Pacific Nut Producers Expo on November 16th, 2010 in Turlock, CA (Stanislaus County).
We brought the Power Pallet there, and had it running outside on walnut shells with the other nut harvesting and tree care equipment on show. The power pallet ran without issue from 8am to the end of the show around 1:30pm, powering an array of halogen lights.
For many of the farmers, it seemed this was a new idea, but there was a good deal of interest. A few thought the contraption was some sort of still. A few knew about cars running on wood in Europe, but the idea seemed largely unknown.
Process heat is needed for drying walnuts, electricity or torque for water pumps, and there are large supplies of walnut shell and tree trimmings available (one nut processor generates 15 million pounds of walnut shell annually). That’s 6,000 MWh per year, or 700kw of power run 24 hours a day, 350 days a year. At $0.15/kwh, that’s US$900,000 in electricity.
The California Air Resources Board has been phasing out the open burning of agricultural residues (like rice straw, orchard trimmings), so the materials that used [...]
before i left germany, i thought it’d be good to go see the deutsches museum- the german museum of science and technology. the deutsches museum is somewhat like the louvre of industrial engineering. it’s absolutely stunning. every room there’s another mona lisa of an early industrial process, machine or technology. most all the early internal and external combustion engines are here, starting with the first- the lenoir that fired up (barely) on town gas in 1860.
in the transportation building, there is an original imbert holzsvergasser mounted on a 1938 adler diplomat. this is the first actual real imbert brand gasifier i’ve ever seen. here’s the pictures so far (until i got caught removing too many caps to take pictures of the insides. museum curators just don’t understand what’s at stake here.)
the first and lasting impressing is these things were really rough. there is so much mythology about this machine, and really, and really, mike la rosa could give it a good run for the fabricating money . . .;-) i. somewhat like the saturn V rocket at johnson space center- just basic steel and surprisingly mediocore welding. it was funny to see so many of the [...]