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Pyrolysis Oil - Free fuel from wood / plastic

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Hey guys,

Thought I would share my quick experiment with Pyrolysis Oil

I made a crude reactor just to test the concept..  Made about a liter of oil from a few handfuls of wood pellets

The listeroid ran on it for almost an hour

This spring I plan to scale things up..  I have access to a machine shop with a CNC machine.  I'm building a screw auger reactor out of stainless

We live on 10 acres of land with TONS of trees/brush..  My goal is to be 100% energy independent before the end of the year.

Right now I collect WVO but its becoming harder and harder to source for free

Next tests will be figuring out a good catalyst to improve the quality of the output.  As-is the oil is pretty acidic and will wear out the engine.  I may rebuild the fuel pump and injector with stainless and maybe get the piston coated..  But improving the oil will be better long term.

It is a carbon neutral process

I'll share more in a few months when I get back to it.  But so far its showing promise



Interesting. I have a few questions. How long time wise did it take to make the 1 liter of oil?
Also, how is the 'reactor' powered, and how much fuel was consumed making the liter of oil?
And how much energy and time would be spent converting your woods into pellets?
Not to mention the cost of the pelletizer, unless you have one already?


It only took about 15 mins or less..  plus I hacked that thing together in about 20 mins from scraps laying around

In the pictures there is a propane burner that it is sitting on..  cannot see the flame in the photos but I heated it up to about 550C

There is no need to use pellets - I just happened to have some and it was convenient.  Wood chips would be fine

When running full scale it would first start off with electric resistance coils to get things started..  then switch to the gas produced by the process (It becomes self sufficient)

The process generates roughly 1/3 condensible gas, 1/3 un-condensible gases (mainly carbon monoxide, hydrogen, CO2) and 1/3 biochar (Carbon black)
The biochar can be fed back to plants (making the process carbon negative) or burned as a source of fuel for heating, etc..  its basically charcoal powder that comes out

You basically heat up any carbon based material in the absence of oxygen and the heat will break up the carbon bonds into more volatile compounds

There are a ton of scientific papers out there that go over the process in detail..  Plastic is MUCH easier than wood..  but I have a lifetime supply of free wood

If you plant hybrid poplar trees - you can coppice them every 4 years right down to the stump and they will re-grow again in 4 years and continue to do so for about 25 years.  Plant 4 rows of them and harvest one each year and you are set for life

I have some parts machined for it already over at .the machine shop..  I'll take some pictures when I am there next week

I'm building a ground source heat pump from scratch right now so wont be working on the pyrolysis till that is done

Let me know if you have more questions..  happy to go into more detail and inspire others to follow suit.  Can easily become energy independent even if you only have limited space.  Look into hybrid poplars used in the paper industry



Very interesting. Will follow this thread for updates.

What you have is wood tar, your Lister will run on it but it's going to coke up the engine real quick.

Wood tar, liquid obtained as one of the products of the carbonization, or destructive distillation, of wood. There are two types: hardwood tars, derived from such woods as oak and beech; and resinous tars, derived from pine wood, particularly from resinous stumps and roots.

Wood gas is a syngas fuel which can be used as a fuel for furnaces, stoves and vehicles in place of gasoline, diesel or other fuels.

During the production process biomass or other carbon-containing materials are gasified within the oxygen-limited environment of a wood gas generator to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

These gases can then be burnt as a fuel within an oxygen rich environment to produce carbon dioxide, water and heat. In some gasifiers this process is preceded by pyrolysis, where the biomass or coal is first converted to char, releasing methane and tar rich in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.


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