A gasifier is a furnace that burns wood in a lack of oxygen. This generates syngas, a fuel similar to natural gas, with many applications for combustion. This company had designed and built one. A few of us students doing our vacation work there, restored this machine and tried to get it to work. Sealing the furnace, preventing air from entering, was quite a challenge. This prevented us from being successful during our 2 weeks there. The furnace ran, but it didn’t produce any syngas because of the sealing issues.
Auger pyrolysis research project: This system is similar to the gasifier mentioned above. It also produces syngas. The difference is that it uses sawdust. Sawmills produce a lot of waste sawdust which could be used to produce useful fuel using this system. The group of students doing vacation work there was tasked with conceptual design and feasibility analysis of such a system. We developed a conceptual design, but ran out of time to come up with a full plan for implementation.