First Prototype and Company Launch
In the spring of 2011, the very first prototypes began to take shape. They were quite crude in their design and were the beginnings of the first (Micro Series 1) product design phase. In the beginning, this was just a fun hobby; it was thought that if a small company were launched, it would just remain a weekend hobby. As the market was already established in small scale gasification systems. So work began in designing a manufacture ready compact gasifier that was affordable and sensible. Thus we dubbed it the M-1 (Micro S-1) Not knowing where this would take us, on January 2nd 2012 our website (Vulcan Gasifier) was launched and the business was registered. Within days, the orders came in and within months the orders were too overwhelming for the owner to carry on his day job. So a decision was made and he went full into his knew endeavor
Next Phase of Devolopment
In the spring of 2012 new development began to take place with a new machine the Evolution Series I. This machine was the first attempt at modular design concepts, air preheat, scale ablility and build from scratch techniques. At the time we could only build with in our own resorces so we faced many challenges. Much of this new development the Micro would benefit from later. However, for the year the Micro would remain left alone with only minor design changes for manufacturing.
A Brand New Year
Our first year flew buy and a lot of new development had taken place in this first year. The upcoming new year would not be any easier than our first as new development was kicked into much higher gear. We took a lot of what we learned and began adapting our Micro S1 and also launched the Micro Series 2 version. This new version was 2” larger in diameter and grew in its height as well to accommodate longer run times. This machine shared many parts of the Evolution Series I and due to its low cost and capability it quickly became our best seller. Even though we carried on with the Micro Series I version very little new sales were made for it in the next coming years. One of the first adaptions the Micro machines inherited from the Evolution machines was the bumped out hopper and monorator lid systems.
Many new customers came to us asking us to build bigger and more elaborate machines. We took on these new challenges and launched new development beyond the core gasifier plant development. We began developing our first automation systems, adding liquid cooled gas chiller systems and later in the year fully developed integrated turnkey solutions complete with onboard generator systems. We pioneered the first full enclosures for sound deadening requirements.
The Machines Get Bigger!!
We took on many projects this second year, it’s amazing we made it through that year. For 2014 Many of these projects would not be fulfilled until later in the year. These projects allowed us to expand our product line for 2014 offering our first range of fully integrated turnkey systems. In 2013 we adapted a Farm All M tractor and custom built an experimental machine; This was based on the Micro design family, but scaled up and borowing the filtering system from the Evolution Series II gasifier system. This would later be developed into the Evolution Series III gasifier plant for our first 5kW fully integrated system.
Our very first 25 kW prototype machines were also developed in 2014, complete with our first built from scratch auger feed hopper systems. With the caliber of size of these machines we were forced to expand into a larger shop and acquire new machinery to accomplish the task at hand.
The Micro Series adopted wheels and received automation packages as optional equipment. The Evolution machines received their first external jetting systems. This was an innovative design development that allowed users ease of access to these jets for machine tuning or jet replacement. Machine core development changed little in this year with more focus on manufacturing and the other developments.
Core Development Begins to Take Shape
2015 was yet another year of new development. We began work on the next generation 25 kW machine slated for delivery in Italy. We developed our first electronic fuel mixture controller on this machine and moved to a GM V8 power plant. However, the smaller turnkey systems were dropped for this year. Reactor designs for both the Micro and Evolution plants were refreshed with a cast stainless steel reduction cores. The Micro shed its ammo box filter for a manufactured system like on the Evolution Series with the blower relocated and implemented to its lid. This reduced the heat it was subjected too on early versions. It would receive the first collection tank mid-year that would integrate the full filter system and wheel kit together. This would later be expanded to the ash bin on the later Flex R-1. We continued the refinement of our manufacturing processes introducing a CNC plasma table we designed and built ourselves. This is still used on a daily basis today and has evolved into its own company.
Later In the fall, what was to become the Flex R-1 for the 2016 model year, began to take its shape. This machine would take the place of both the Micro Series II and also Evolution Series I. This machine would take on all developments we did well, from both units and these technologies would be combined into one machine. Along with this an innovative collection tank was devised to fully integrate the gasifier system together. The internal features include a partition to separate the ash bin, cyclone filter debris bin and the condensate tank is shared between the gas chiller and final filter. The combined tank greatly increases capacities giving the machine a run time of 24 to 48 hours before any servicing is needed. The grate and reduction system were also revised for the Flex R-1 with a new cross draft grate system and natural insulation compartment built inside the reduction core. The reduction chamber was expanded nearly 4 times of the original machines; the cross draft grate system focuses heat flows at the end of the reduction cycle and also prevents packing at the grate. This along with the automation keeps this machine flowing while allowing maximum carbon exposure for the oxygen exchange to create our product gases.
Also brand new was a completely new design family. This was to take the place of the current Micro Series; this would later become the Utility Series in 2016.
Design Finalization and Thrive Energy Systems
2016 was a year of perfecting manufacturing process and completion of all core development. One-piece flow concepts were adopted into our manufacturing environment optimizing our production capability. The Flex R-1 received only minor changes with the exception of a new flare blower system that was developed for the original Micro Plants.
Early in the year, another new product was developed specifically for cooking applications. As this was truly a tiny little machine it truly was a micro plant, so it adopted the Micro name plate; while the current machine was rebadged more appropriately to the Utility Series.
The Utility Series received a midyear design change to finalize its design for 2017. It shed the barrel filters and now share the standard cyclone from the Flex and it recieved a more traditional gas chiller. A new blower system was developed to run in either one of two modes. A traditional vacuum mode or a pressurizing mode to push the gas through for cooking applications. In push mode only a 3rd the power is required making running in this mode more efficient for cooking applications. The blower is never in contact with gas on this system so longevity is no longer an issue. So we have adapted this system to all machines going forward.
The Flex R-1 received many new options, an auger feed hopper attachment upgrade was developed and offered for the Flex and a 5 kW turnkey generator was also offered with our mixture controller pre-adapted. This set the stage for the expansion of smaller generators to be offered for the Utility Series. Later as we developed both the auger feed and generator packages for the Flex, we then turned our focus on a new integrated machine that would integrate both these systems together featuring the Flex R-1 plant. This would become the very evolved compact version of the 25 kW machine.
The new 5 kW integrated machine (Evolutution S-1) received an extruded aluminum enclosure system with a tool free sliding panel systems. The hopper design changed to a box to increase capacities and also better fit the machine. Another key feature to this machine is its 12 kW pure sign power inverter, boosting this machines capability up to 12 kW of peak performance when needed. This makes it extremely easy for grid tie applications while making the machine over all much more efficient. You just make the power you need and it shuts off.
For 2017 another version of this machine that will share the same platform of the 5 kW machine, will be offered as the Evolution Series II. This will be a CHP version featuring the Kohler Liquid cooled Twin engine with a continuous power output of 10 kW.
The next generation 25 kW machine was also manufactured shortly after completion of the new 5kW version this year. This machine received all the new upgrades and we have sourced new engine options for this machine for the 2017 model year. We will offer two engine options, a GM 5.7 ltr and a Cummins NG engine. Both options will come with proven Cummins generator heads that can be wired in any phase and ran at any frequency to meet the 25 kW rating.
Our focus for 2016 was on product design finalization and we have accomplished this goal and are now closing this chapter of our book. I now bring you Thrive Energy Systems.
Thrive Energy Systems and Whats to Come
Thrive Energy Systems will now serve as our product and manufacturing base, without the limitations of specific branding. However, this company will not absorb all products related to Vulcan Gasifier LLC and will be specific to the Evolution Series product line. The Evolution Series however, will not cease to evolve and brand new development is on the way. Though this will not affect the current core designs of these products. They were specifically designed to adapt to the new development that is on the way. We promise upcoming developments will be ground breaking and never seen before. One new development all 2017 machines will receive, is our new advanced controller systems. These systems will feature a 7” touch screen with automatic run modes; web monitoring will come later along with cell phone apps. On machines with inverter systems the machines will have autonomous operating capability. This will allow the machines to turn on and off with no intervention from the user. They will be able to detect when the battery banks are low and initiate the ignition cycle, once its up to temp then it will initiate engine/generate run modes. Once the batteries are topped off the machine will then move into a shutdown mode until called upon again. This will make the machines extremely more efficient than any machine currently on the market, you only need to make the power you need.
What will happen to our other products? "Thrive Off Grid" will be our marketing base and this company will carry all products we offer. This is including the Evolution Series for US Markets. Thrive Off Grid will also soon add on other products related to anything that is Off Grid. If you would like to visit the Thrive Off Grid store please see the dealer directory here on this site.
Thrive to Evolve!!
CEO Thrive Energy Systems / Thrive Off Grid