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Friday, April 9, 2010

Gasification Power Generator

I've mentioned that I've been looking at a number of large, out-in-the-boonies properties.  Bringing in utility power is incredibly cost-prohibitive (nearly equal to the purchase price of some of the properties we've seen).

Solar will be a huge part of our power generation scheme.  It will likely be the primary power source.  As a back up, we've been looking at diesel generators.  They are a proven product, but require a source of outside fuel.

Most of the properties we've looked at are fairly heavily wooded.  Lots and lots of firewood and scrap wood - a readily available, free source of energy.  Gasification was screaming out at me!

From Victory Gas Works, I've been gleaning a great deal of information.  It's a fairly old technology that has been dragged into the 21st century.  They have a 6 module introductory course on what it's all about.

They also make and sell their "Off Gridder" system.  It's not cheap, and you have to provide the generator, but as a one time investment, it might work.  Gotta do some math....

Here's a very interesting video of a similar unit that is designed to run off of horse waste.  It kicks out a LOT of power.  I contacted the company earlier in the week to get some information on price, but have yet to hear back from them.

Accept The Challenge

Finding alternatives to "grid" power is becoming more and more viable.  Gasification, like solar, has the ability to make you truly untethered to the grid, or civilization for that matter.  As long as you have enough bio-material available, you can produce power.

Their biggest drawback is the high capital investment to buy the system.  But after that, you're producing the power for well below the cost of grid power.  What appeals so much to me is the ability to set these up almost anywhere.  I guess a gasification system wouldn't work too well in the desert, but other than that, there are few limitations on where this would work.

As a bonus, they're "green" too!  Very low emissions, as the gasification process thoroughly processes the bio-mass.

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Anonymous said...

I just don't think it's worth it. Reduce your need for electricity. A small PV system would support TV, radio and lights. If you really need KW's of electricity get a propane powered generator. If this is about powering your life after the SHTF I think a refrigerator will be the least of your problems if that happens. Save your wood to heat your house.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, it's not about powering up after TSHTF. It's about being able to economically power modern conveniences. If we're able to get one of these properties, I want it to be as comfortable as possible.

As I said, it's all about doing the math. If it makes sense economically (in this case, compared with a diesel generator over a 20 year period or so), we may do it.

Plus, as I noted, the ability to be independent of oil companies for diesel (or propane) and grid electric is very appealing to me.

Anonymous said...

I think it's an outstanding idea. Having enough power for various power tools, charging batteries faster, refrigeration, and maybe AC once in awhile after TSHTF would be perfect. Convincing the wife to spend that much, however, impossible!

Chief Instructor said...

Suburban, I THINK it will be economically feasible, if I essentially amortize it over 10 or 15 years. And chances are, I'll be doing this with one of my brothers - so two homes - so the price will be chopped in two.

We'll see, though. It's all about the math...

Lucas @SurvivalCache said...


Be sure to count time and energy when determining if it is economically feasible.

Unless I am confused, you have to always feed that thing gas or other organic material to keep the power going.

That's a lot of work down the line.

Obviously with solar after the initial set up you really just leave it.

So even if solar costs more maybe it is worth it to go solar and get some banks of batteries than be gathering wood all of the time.

That was my initial thought, but I might not have a good understanding of how the system works.

Chief Instructor said...

Lucas, solar will absolutely be the primary power source, no doubt. This will be our back up, in lieu of a diesel generator.