Here are some examples of how we evolved through the years. This first video is where we were 10 years ago and then later videos of how things evolved up to now. Note the upload dates, This first one dates back to our very beginnings just before I moved our opperation from my home shop to our first commercial building. We had been in business about 2 years at the time this video was taken.
This gasifier is about the same archetecture as the current VXF-14 with small core. The reactor core and reduction system on this was filled with refractory. Just the reactor alone wieghed 300lbs. The machine completed and crated for shipment wieghed 800 lbs. It had a V twin liquid cooled engine. The flare speaks for its self right?? Well here is the deal on that unit. That fuel was dried ceder chips 100%, this fuel had zero moisture content. Try feeding that thing other fuels and dry that fuel 100% every day. Its not going to be practical but keep reading because as we evolved we figuired those things out. At this time we were a development company and not a manufacturer at this point.
Here it is running and actually doing something. This is something others cant seem to show for some reason. Hmmmm I wonder why?
Here is a more evolved version of this gasifier we called this the M-4 at the time. We produced around 250 to 300 of these units until they were discontinued in 2020. These machines featured a pretty complex Intake Air Preheat System, Cast Stainless Steel Conical Hearth Cores, Radial Active Grate Systems, Automated Gasifier Management Systems, the AFR controller and more. These machines were very advanced well beyond what others have on market even today. This is running a 670 V twin, however this time fuel was higher moisture content. Note the flare is not as clean, this is due to time constraints as we were cranking at this time. So I had to do the video as this machine had to ship out but I did not have dry fuel to run for this video. < that is reality. Making engine grade fuel is not that easy especially if for daily use. It will never happen. But the machine ran didnt it? You can make this work but its simply not practical. These machines without automation needed constant monitoring. This is due to the small reactor and fuel flows need constant intervention. This is why you dont see others showing a video for more than a few minutes. They cant keep it running for any longer!! Do not get fooled by this, there are better ways!! This is just where we were at the time; hind sight is always 20/20. But we know better today keep reading.
Ok here is the start of some of the first electronic controls we were working on at the time. This is the very begining of the controls leading up to where are today. These controls evolved very fast over the next 8 years leading to self running opperation. In this example was an automatic Fuel / Air mixer that used an Oxygen sensor to detect the AFR. This is code I wrote myself (this was not done for me) although I have a lengthy background in specialized automated machinery and machine tools prior to this company.
Now in the early days during this time we were also developing and building large commercial systems. This next one I had a few issues and you can see this in the video. Do you really think others are building thiers better and dont experience these same issues? Dont kid yourself!
The High Output LS V8!! Listen that thing run!! Ok here is where wood fuel shines on large engines!! The flare is beautiful that is a nice hydrogen rich flare here not a Blue CO flare.
Here is a 20 kW custom built unit featuring a lister engine.
Another 25 kW Chevy Vortec V8 machine
We built around 20 of those larger machines here bellow we built smaller versions featuring a V twin this version is basically an evolved version of the first system of this thread. At this time the controls systems were becoming much more advanced as I evolved in my coding skills. At this time I was writing code in Python and C#, C++ / Arduino based logic etc. I was becoming pretty advanced by this time with aid of a few high level programers that were aiding in my learning and development.
Another one; there were around 8 of these units built total.
In 2019 I started to explore different manufacturing techniques and along with further controls advancement. This was a very advanced machine design that proved to be too complex and was not cost effective to manufacture.
By 2020 I finally decided to give Charcoal a shot. This is after years of reluctance to even consider trying it.
"Nah wood fueled gasifiers are better!!"
"Everyone wants a wood fueled gasifier!!"
"That will never be practical making charcoal"
"Making charcoal is wasteful!"
You know what is really wasteful? Your time and your money; because you are going to waste both those things if you pursue wood fuel gasification to run a small engine and thats a fact!
Just about every DIY'er starts with wood fuel and ultimatly about 80% end up moving to charcoal. The other 20% simply give up. Many of these guys end up in the forums seeking help because they watched all these Youtubers showing these mis guided wood gassing builds running small engines. Dont be fooled by these misguided builds; because you will more than likely end up following this same path to a charcoal system just like everyone else. Dont believe me? I can point you to lots and lots of poeple that have taken this full journey. Not everyone has a Youtube channel. Wood gasifeirs have thier place but that place is not for running small engine applications.
So yeah here I am back in 2020 also taking that path to charcoal; I finally gave it a try!! Well, within one month I completely dropped everything I was developing and dropped the entire product line for our wood fueled gasifier plants. That was the end of production for the M4 / Flex R1 gasifier systems.
Now what you need to understand here is what I just said. "I completely dropped 8 years of development." That was 8 years of my life, my entire savings, my house, everything was gone by this time!! Do you see what Im getting at here?? Ive sacrificed everything and more for this company! I also left a very high paying job as a field engineer for a machine tool company; I traveled the world!! I mean you have made it this far in this read, look at all that stuff I developed and this is ONLY small snap shot of it. There was way more than im showing you, those videos are just some highlights. I developed all of it!! I did all the CAD work, CNC g-code, I even built our plasma CNC table and its still in production today; I developed all those electronics and electrical system, taught myself how to write software in four different languages; Multiple generation reactor technologies in multiple size ranges, then you have the complete turn key system that featured; auger fed giant hopper systems with integrated V8 engine / power generators that we built (those gen sets were not bought) I designed those systems and we built them from scratch!!; We developed liquid cooled filtering systems; all the manufacturing development, manufacturering documentation and employee management, our website, sales and customer service and this list goes on and on and on. On top of all that I worked along side my employees. To be honest I dont even know how I survived those early years. There was a point it took me an entire day just to do payroll and pay my employees!! This is all the stuff that worked! Then there is all stuff we developed that didnt work and that cost a ton of money that is just basically a loss. None of this is easy; none of it!
Ok, so now I have to ask; Why do you think I would make such a drastic move? To go througjh all that development and bring the technology to that level and just drop it. We were and are well beyond what these others are doing with small engine gasification. These other guys dont have anything special. They are NOT developers; they are novices and what they have to offer are just Imbert gasifiers and nothing more. These guys dont have a fraction of my skill set. So serously why would I drop wood gasification, that the entire market is searching and looking for? The majority of the market dont even know charcoal gasification even exist or why its better for small engine gasification!! Did I do it just so I can beat my head against wall and not sell anything? The honest answer here is; No! The reasoning is because it is truly better technology for small engine gasification. Does it not make zero sense to continue with an inferiour technology when you know there is a better and superior technology? Marketing was and still is a huge challenge because the novice Youtuber and my novice competitors have not achieved my level of development. Public perception is based on what they see available on the internet and that is wood fueled gasification and they are falling for half truth perceptions of this technology. The market is naive as was I.
The majority of the videos on Youtube wood fueling small engine applications are not telling you the full truth. We all know FEMA units dont work yet there on Youtube with 2 minute run videos and people buy it, then they show up on the forums asking for help. All these videos showing engine runs are generally short takes. Just long enough to get on video before the reactor crashes and the engine stalls out to make you believe thier creation works. Some do it for clicks to get Youtube revenue and some do it to sell the product. But what they are NOT showing you is the full reality, the stability of the system after its ran for more than 10 - 15 minutes and the fidling around trying to keep it running. Then they shut down and let the engine cool. Do they ever show you how the generator wont restart again because the intake valve is seized up? Thats right, its because thier one time builds are far supperior than my technology I spent over 8 years developing right? Or how about the reality of what it takes to dry small engine grade fuels down to 0% moisture content? Have you ever seen those videos? Do you really think that is practical for off grid power? When you see my engine run videos they are generally much longer and in most case I load them and show them actually doing something. That is because I know those dirty tricks and wont be accused of it. I know how to layer charcoal on top of the reactor to show a blue flare. ( A properly working wood gasifier will never produce a blue flare; that is a myth! H2S does not burn blue only lab grade hydrogen will burn blue; that will not happen from a dirty gasifier it will burn orange just like HHO) Also note you will see the same generators I have used over and over and over again. I am not taring them up and destroying them. Pay attention to cuts and edits in the videos and the shadows on the ground between those edits. Pay attention generators being replaced constantly lol. If you believe these videos with engine runs for less than 2 minutes you are a fool! Now you know better because the cat is out of the bag!!
So my original perception of charcoal gasification was wrong! Very wrong; do not take charcoal gasification at face value. Its way easier than you think and a charcoal gasifier is far more stable and practical for small engine running. No tar, excellent stability, wider options for fuel sources, you can process ready to run fuel the same day and its just plain easier. You will never achieve any of that with a wood fueled gasifier ever! That a promise! For stupid easy charcoaling method; see our thread on Chuck Whitlox charcoaling method it really is very simple and easy.
Here bellow is the first generation Charcoal units. These did carry the M-Series naming until we came up with the DFX versions.
Second Generation DFX RTR
Current 3rd Generation CFX-RTR
At this point charcoal is king for small engine running. Its just a better way to wood fuel a these small engines. The wood fueled systems of the past, were very complex, very expensive, they did not run as stable, they could produce tar and they did. Producing engine grade fuel proved to be more dificult with low moisture content requirement and other less desirable issues. I wont do it ever again and I will never ever sell a wood fueled gasifier for direct engine running under 1000cc of engine displacement. I would not do that you!! :) This is the only way!!
If anyone and I mean anyone tries to sell you the contrary, they are blowing smoke up your butt.
Ok now for the re introduction of wood fueled gasification, the continuation of early reactor designs and re marketing of these systems. I present to you the VFX-14. This unit is simply a continuation of where I left off in 2020. I designed the unit so that this unit has interchangable internal reactors. So instead of having 10 different models we only have this one and we can install small and larger reactor cores in them to adapt to different applications. Ive simplified the design as what we really learned from all those advanced designes is they really did not improve anything; or the added complexity for what little improvement was made, simply was not worth that added complexity and cost. Fuel flow is the number one issue that will create tar. So we simply oppened up the unit to better flow into the hearth, while retaining Imbert specifications and then eliminated unnecesary complexities. The number two cause is poor heat retention, so the reactor outer shell was expanded to allow much thicker insulation. The VFX-14 reactor uses a two stage eccentric oxidation process. The first stage oxidizes fuel only on one side at the back of the reactor and basically heats the fuel at the front side producing pre stage pyrolysis gas; while preconditioning the fuel for the second oxidation stage. The main front jet is placed lower and then oxidizes this produced gas along with preconditioned fuel working front to back, for increased lower stage process heat (pre restriction). What this does is prevents bridging as the fuel is not heated in horizontal layers. This is what causes bridging, instead these layers are diagnal. When you have bridging; raw fuel is constantly crashing into into lower stage reaction processes and this is where tar is produced and will be the result. We have solved this but there are limitations. Machine size is the main limitation here. So 1000 cc engines are the minimal size this machine or any wood gasifier for that matter should be used to run.
Ok now the VersiFire. This is an all new concept currently in the final stages of development. Ive been working on this development on and off since 2020. This system will make the VFX-14 capable of running small engines tar free. Not to mention engines running from this system will run as stable as any conventional fuels. This consist of an automated gas storage system, and the VFX-14 is driven by the Ametek High power blower. So the gasifier will always be driven to its optimal flow parameters producing clean fuel gas. The gas is temperary stored under possitive presure. This drops all the nasties out if they are present in the gas. Tar under a vacuum is not a liquid or solid, it will be in gas suspension until it reaches a cool enough temp and high presure. So this gas will be extremely clean ALWAYS!! Add the AFR controller that has now peaked in its development and you will have a solid system. Moisture content will not be as critical; As a larger gasifier driven at these higher volumes are much more tollerant to higher moisture content fuels. Thus making it more viable to produce. Then you have the advantage of the VFX-14 large capacity hopper. This will change the game in this space and you will only get this system from us.
I will resume the VersiFire development this Spring 2024!