[Gasification] 100kw Powertainer unveiling this week at University of Minnesota, Morris

jim mason jim at allpowerlabs.org
Tue Jun 26 12:29:57 CDT 2012

Bear Kaufmann, Jeff Tiedeken and I (Jim Mason) are at University of
Minnesota, Morris this week installing the Powertainer and setting it
up for its initial runs onsite.  This has been a long haul, and we're
very happy to finally have it here and soon begin pumping power back
into the grid.   A big thank you goes to Lowell Rasmussen, Jim Barbour
and Dave Aronson at the UMM for making this project possible, as well
as their general dedication to proving small scale biomass energy for
midwestern ag applications.

There is a formal opening and demonstration onsite this Thursday from
1-3pm.  It is open to the public so if you are in the area, you are
welcome to attend.  More information on the opening and the project
can be found in the press release here:

For the next 6 months we'll be learning and refining the installation
onsite, and hopefully ending with a daily running installation.  There
are many details to work out, and surely many things yet to learn.
However, we are very satisfied with the fundamentals, and the general
proving that one can compact and integrate the full gasification
system (gasifier, filtration, engine and hopper) within one 20'
shipping container.  The goal is the total system in a box, drop it
off the truck and go.  No onsite construction.  Fill the hopper with a
conveyor, skid steer or bucket tractor.

The architecture for this system is essentially the TOTTI vessel and
heat exchange relationships scaled up, with an additional stage of
using the engine radiator blast for predrying the fuel.  The hopper is
open to atmosphere, with a louvered base, so we can pass the hot
radiator blast through the bed.  This should significantly extend the
fuel moisture range beyond the 30% or so top we can tolerate in the
standard TOTTI on the Power Pallet.  We'll be running corn cobs at
UMM.  Most of the testing at APL were on wood chips.

As usual, what started as a gasifier project turned into a fuel
handling project.  Getting a 24hr hopper integrated into the shipping
container, with airlock and secondary heated auger to the gasifier,
turned into a non-trivial 3D LEGO puzzle.  See the galleries for the
details for how we finally solved it.  Thank you to Nick Monahan for
the CAD sheet metal origami that rendered it to real.

See here for the full gallery of photos from the install at Univeristy
of Minnesota, Morris

See here for the full gallery of photos from the testing at APL in

We get many people asking us when we can offer this unit to other
projects.  The answer is not yet.  We are not yet at a point of
maturity in the design and details to offer this as a regular
commercial unit.  We expect to be there in about one year.

To help us get there, we are looking for additional projects where a
still in development system is an appropriate fit.  This will be a
research or entrepreneurial setting that can tolerate a
not-yet-fully-hands-off-24/7-running-systyem, in return for the
ultimate reward of a much compacted and price optimized total solution
vs other current options on the market.   Write us at
gek at allpowerlabs.org if you are interested.

Hope to see some of you in Morris this Thursday.


Jim Mason
Website: http://www.whatiamupto.com
Current Projects:
   - Gasifier Experimenters Kit (the GEK): http://www.gekgasifier.com
   - Escape from Berkeley alt fuels vehicle race: www.escapefromberkeley.com
   - ALL Power Labs on Twitter: http://twitter.com/allpowerlabs
   - Shipyard Announce list:

More information about the Gasification mailing list