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question for Ben: off grid wood gasifier with batteries  RSS feed

 
M Johnson
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We are going to build an off grid cabin (750 sq feet) with a rocket mass heater, but want a battery bank to run led lighting and some media (dvd, radio etc). We may have a portable airconditioner also since we're in KY.

We have about 30 acres of wood, so I like the wood gasifier option...you mention solar during the day and wood gasifier in the morning and night. When I first start out I won't have solar but will add later. Is there a reason not to run the gasifier during the day? Is it noise pollution?

Also, I am good with tinkering and adjusting to make things run right, but I have a wife who will want "plug and play" and also have 2 kids between 9 and 12 I'd like to be able to use the gasifier. Possible?

Thanks,

Matt
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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You can motivate the kids-they have to run the generator to power the internet or the DVD or the video game or... Whether they can actually do it safely depends on the kid. But they could at least load a trailer with branches. Maybe process some with a loppers.

 
M Johnson
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That's the idea I am going for. Maybe give them their own battery bank with the outlets wired only there. It would teach them about energy usage and management quicker than any speeches I can give.

But I don't want my kids blowing themselves up/ burning the house down either.
 
Ben Peterson
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M:
You don't want to run all day, every day because the wear on your engine from all the hours will add up over a few years. Oil changes cost money. The noise is a factor. The time and volume of wood needed would take away from family time or other fun things. Besides, daytime loads are light after the morning chores are done. You wouldn't be pulling enough load to make it worth the time. Solar panels are super cheap right now, but there may be a tariff enacted soon, so I would get a few and yes have a small battery system. With a small insulated house you could run the gasifier once a day or every other day in summer. Solar panels are passive, they just do their thing.

I used to be one of those people that thought since I do wood gas, everything must be woodgas all the time! It was narrow thinking on my part. Solar panels were $5 a watt then. I just picked up a pallet for $0.74 per watt. With gas prices down propane could get even cheaper, It wouldn't hurt to get a big tank of it to use sparingly for emergencies. To be comfortably off grid you need to have several options that are somewhat economical.

I'm not saying don't use woodgas or anything weird like that. You just have to look at what the opportunities are & put together a nice set of solutions. With the land and trees it's a no brainer to woodgas.

What isn't talked about is the shortage of gasifiers available for sale. If you build it and it isn't your thing, you could always resell it if you want. I'm not saying to jump into the business because manufacturing is the pitts, but you have options. Turn key is pricey.

I would maybe let a 12 year use the gasifier. 9 may be too young. If it cools down between runs there is virtually no smoke and it is just a matter of putting in some wood and lighting it up.

R: Love the internet carrot and the stick idea. Turn bad habits into good old fashioned values.
 
Dale Look
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Build a 12v gen set out of a small engine and car alternator. Run it when the batteries get low(with wood gas). And you could mount an alt to an exercise bike for the kids.
 
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