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What is a wood gas generator?

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Quick Answer

A wood gas generator is a gasification system that converts charcoal or wood into a syngas through combustion. The fuel generated by this unit is environmentally friendly, smokeless and economical, and it is used to fuel stoves, furnaces and internal combustion engines.

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Full Answer

Wood gas generators are used in systems requiring stationary motive power. They are easy to fabricate, do not produce much soot and are ideal for combined heat and power systems such as hydronic heating. Some wood gas systems are suitable for building into vehicles, although focus is on stationary applications such as electricity production since these generators are rather large.

Among the most common types of wood gas generators are crossdraft, updraft and downdraft systems. Stoves and similar updraft wood gas systems have gasification chambers in which fuel energy is processed and top chambers through which wood enters the units and converted fuel exits. Crossdraft and downdraft wood gas generators have different points of entry and exit for air and fuel, while the wood enters the gasification chambers from above.

Wood gas generators convert around 75 percent of fuel energy content into combustible gas that is used as fuel. The converted syngas is a compound of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, and atmospheric nitrogen and other gases, and it is proportionate to the choice of fuel and wood gas generator design.

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