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How to Convert Wood into Charcoal and Electricityby Richard H. Buxton
Synopses & Reviews
If you put wood into a pipe and heat it, gas, tar and water vapor will be driven off. You can pipe this gas around into the fire that is heating the pipe. When the whole unit cools, you can extract high grade charcoal. And we're talking about charcoal noticeably superior to the grocery store variety you use on your grill.
If you route the generated gas through a series of primitive, low cost, easily made filters, you end up with a fuel that will power a law mower engine. You can use that engine to generate electricity with an alternator to charge batteries. In other words, you can make electricity from wood!
Buxton will show you how it's done. He'll show you the unit he built from common brick, a piece of well casing, old plastic buckets, heater hose, an old Chevy truck radiator, silicone adhesive and so on.
His main goal was to melt metal. He had built Stewart Marshall's cupola, but just didn't get the results he expected. He traced the problem down to the coke he was using. After he started using his homemade charcoal instead of coke, he started melting iron like crazy! You can do the same.
The author lives in the Appalachians and has access to a lot of hardwood. You may want or need to consider making charcoal from hardwood scavenged from pallets. And last I heard, scrap pallets "grow" almost everywhere. Making charcoal is essential information for the foundryman.
The homesteader and survivalists will find the idea of turning wood into electricity a valuable skill. You can generate gas from any old wood, not just hardwood, and in fact, I wonder if you could convert brush, leaves, maybe even grain to electricity. It's an idea to try. True, you're only generating small amounts of power, but it's enough to power lights, radios, refrigerators, etc like those used by campers. And if those dipstick terrorists disable the power grid in your part of the country for six weeks at a time, this machine might just save your sweet rear end!
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