The first internal combustion engines were fueled by town-gas. Which can be made from coal, wood (chips, or small cubes), or even waste. The technology is getting popular again with automated systems for feed-in, gas-producer, cooling, mixing, electricity generation and heat-recovery (and logging, remote monitoring and fault-diagnosis of course).


Images in [gallery] (keep this page small so they can edit quickly via GPRS mobile internet).


Engine running

Engine is running. Injectors (or even fuel-tank) are not connected, as this engine runs on combustible gas. The Crysler V8 makes a nice sound after we strobed the ign and set TDC appr 50 degrees after trigger when falling/falling edge is selected.

The 20 kW syncronous-generator first didn't excite itself. The remanent-magnetism was lost after long shelf-time.

We made a 20kW powerplant that runs on wood !

With strict separation of phases, we can produces low-tar (blue flame) gas with almost no filtering.

The gas producer is not as sensitive on biomass moisture and size like all the picky Imbert clones (like GEK, or Fengyu) are. And not as tarry as FEMA.

A 80 kW plant is on the way (the bigger the easier).

VemsTune install: [download latest]


V3 and round firmware was modified to control mixture via PWM-solenoid (there is also a manual valve in parallel so the PWM-valve need not be too big even for bigger engines) to reach lambda-target

Other (simple) features like "time-relay" for the ash-removal screw or shaker (often windscreen-wiper motor) could be useful.

Why gasify solid biomass?

For farmers, to use the sunflower seed (in oil form) as heat-engine fuel (for tractors, water-pumping, grinding, heat-pump, generate electricity or other shaft-power) is suboptimal. They have the stalk, straw and weed. The intelligent and environment-friendly choice is to use these growing (CO2 neutral) fuel instead of depending on fossile.

A 100 kW genset generates appr. 400 EUR / day electricity PLUS 400 EUR / day heat (partially warm water, partially exhaust that can be used for absorption heat pump also: for even higher heating value). Appr fuel cost is 200 EUR / day when purchased (only appr 130 EUR for many farmers that have the straw anyway, just need to feed it to the gasifier). ROI (return of investment) could be ~ 1 year or lower.

Combined cycle - brainstorming

There are several choices.

Links, videos

More links and images [here] (Hungarian. We will continue in English here)


[1.6L opel 8 valve engine] (C16, or X16SZR) with central injection (the gasoline injector is very low impedance, and 6R8 series power resistor is too high for it, max 1-2 Ohm is OK). Not a very good choice for producer gas (the valve stems are too precise, gas must be cleaned from tar very well).

Other trivial improvements and dropped plans

temporarily dropped: using the wood-gas in radial-compressor gas turbines and MembersPage/MarcellGal/DetonationCycleGasTurbine (way too loud)

Use the VEMS Round to control the clean air feed "throttle" of a gasifier in order to improve the output

Stepper would be nice. Unfortunately round does not have enough outputs to control 4 wire stepper.

We have a v3 with blue LCD inside - mounted on a standalone 1.6L 4 cyl engine. The LCD equipped genboard v3 looks very cool TODO: photo, video

For a smallish 20kW synchronous generator we used a Crysler 5.2L V8 magnum engine from a Jeep Cherokee. Even with a low CR (around 9.5?) the engine is oversized.

The weird thing about the engine are the fuel railS.

Custom HALL setup

90,90,180 crankdeg crankwheel on a 4cyl (1.9liter VW diesel converted to spark-ignition) using [1GT101DC]


The HALL sensor senses OD=12mm steel (no stainless steel). Bolted on the crankwheel with allen bolt. (Some installers make the HALL sensor sense the hex-head of M8 bolts.)