Introduction: operation and definition of a gasifier
Keywords: gasifier, gasification, biofuels, fuel wood, motor plans.
The gasifier is a process for running any engine with wood or a solid fuel containing carbon.
It is based on an incomplete pre-combustion fuel resulting in a gas rich in carbon monoxide CO can be burned in an internal combustion engine.
The main advantage is to be able to use a solid fuel which is more readily available than conventional fuels (which is why it was invented during a shortage of liquid hydrocarbons) and, moreover, which can be renewable (wood).
The main drawback comes from its fairly low machine efficiency of less than 15% (a diesel engine has a yield that can exceed 40% today) on modern gasification units (we no longer talk about gasifier but gasification, wood for example). Such a low yield resulted in the consumption of a truck powered by a gasifier consuming about 100kg of wood per 100km.
However, the overall yield (from well to wheel) of wood gasification presents an interesting yield in cogeneration. But gasification units are rarely profitable without the use of wood waste (sawmill and carpentry residues, scraps, sawdust, bark, etc.)
Control the gasification process is quite complex and requires fairly heavy investments.
But let's return more precisely to the history of the gasifier and its technology.
History of the gasifier for cars and trucks
The first gasifiers were created at the start of the 1801th century. In 1810, the French LEBON files a patent for an engine based on the expansion of a mixture of air and ignited gas. In XNUMX, the Spanish De RIVAZ designed a vehicle with a gas engine.
The men of this century have all seen the steam engines run, the inventor of which is Denis PAPIN.
In 1839, BISCHOF built a gas generator.
At the same time industrial applications are produced in France and England. In a first furnace, coke is burned incompletely, subsequently, by reduction, is obtained from the fuel gas.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, invented the internal combustion engine:
- In 1860, Lenoir presented the first gas engine.
- In 1862, Beau de Rochas, developed the 4-stroke cycle.
- In 1886, Daimler and Benz produced the first 3-wheel car with a 4-stroke engine.
- In 1893, Diesel produced an engine running on heavy oil.
Here is a historical correction from a site visitor:
The first motor car was Cugnot's carpenter in the 18th century, it was driven by steam, it is exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris. (…) I do not know the patent numbers but I know that the DELAMARRE-DEBOUTTEVILE patent was deposited on February 12, 1884 and that BENZ did not deposit its own on January 12, 1886. DELAMARRE-DEBOUTEVILLE's vehicle was traveling for the first time in the Rouen region on the Route de Fontaine-le-Bourg in Cailly, a souvenir plaque of this first is affixed to the buildings of the old ROUEN LES ESSARTS racing circuit. In 1984, to celebrate this event, L'AUTOMOBILE magazine published a book entitled 100 ANS D'AUTOMOBILE FRANÇAISE. All automobile historians agree on the primacy of DELAMMARRE-DEBOUTTEVILLE over BENZ, it was Nazi propaganda in Hitler's time that tried to make believe that the first car was that of Karl BENZ just as it tried , with a certain success besides, to make believe that the cycle with 4 times had been imagined by Nikolaus OTTO in 1876, whereas BAU DE ROCHAS had deposited the patent 14 years rather, in 1862. A lawsuit brought by BAU DE ROCHAS against OTTO, both in French and German courts, found him wrong. It should be noted, however, that even today in Germany and in a certain number of countries, the 4-stroke cycle is called the OTTO cycle and that we continue to claim that the first car powered by a 4-stroke engine was that of BENZ. More than 60 years later, you are the victim of this Nazi propaganda. "
Diagram of a gasifier
- Around 1900, Riché managed, by the gasification of mineral fuels, to produce a lean gas that could really power an internal combustion engine.
- In 1901, Benz built the "Ideal" car with a gas engine.
- In 1901, Parker recommended a poly combustible gasifier capable of burning both coke and charcoal.
- In 1904, Gaillot and Brunet experimented with a barge, the engine of which was powered by a gasifier, and Cesbron fitted it with an "Alcyon" car.
- In 1905, John Smith traveled the roads of Scotland in a gas-powered truck.
- In 1907, Garuffo and Clérici each filed a gas generator project with two generators placed symmetrically on either side of the vehicle.
- In 1909, Deutz succeeded in building a gasifier combined with an engine developing 550 CV.
A car driven by a gasifier Imbert
We first think of using alcohol, the production of which is surplus in Languedoc, and that produced from sugar beet.
In some cases, acetylene is also used. In others, naphthalene, methane or ethylene.
Gasifier truck, extract from an artist's painting
In 1919, the first service stations appeared. In Diemeringen, in 1920, Georges Imbert began to develop the wood gasifier. In 1921, sixty vehicles equipped with a gasifier circulate in England.
France has fallen behind in basic research, which is why in 1922 a competition for gas generators was organized. A few years later, our country will be at the forefront of techniques in the construction of gas generators, thanks in large part to the inventor of Sarre-Union, Georges Imbert.
In the IMBERT installation, the vacuum in the engine, sucks in the required amount of gas and gives rise to the air intake essential for the operation of the gasifier.
The air is distributed by the nozzles around the hearth where the charcoal is placed and on top there is the wood.
Notice of Imbert gasifier of Sarre-Union
diagram of a gas generator
Conclusion; the abandonment of the gas generator after the War
In 1950, Georges Imbert died disinterested in everything, like many inventors in the field of energy.
It is the beginning of the end for his invention, abandoned for abundant and cheap oil. We will have to wait for the oil crises to bring up to date the principle of the gasifier now known as "wood gasifier".
The exhaustion of fossil fuels and the environmental problems linked to their combustion nevertheless seem to promise gasifiers in the long term in the future in heat and electricity cogeneration.
Modern wood gasification cogeneration facility