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It’s been a pleasure to watch the gasifier technology from ALL Power Labs improve over the years as they bring each new version of their generator to Maker Faire. What began as a cobbled-together contraption charred around the edges, later became a clean-burning Gasifier Experimenter Kit, and is now a full-fledged downdraft gasifier that generates up to 20kW of electricity and fits on a pallet for efficient shipping to anyone in the world who has more wood chips than watts.

Dusty Swartz explained how it all worked: wood chips are gravity fed into a pyrolysis chamber where they’re roasted into charcoal, and thence to combustion and reduction zones, where they’re oxidized to release carbon monoxide (CO) and clean-burning hydrogen (H2) gas, plus a stray tarry compound here and there depending on temperature and quality of fuel. Dusty says the same system could burn waste plastic (bottle caps are about the same size as wood chips). Check them out in the West Courtyard.

Keith Hammond

I’m projects editor of MAKE magazine.


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