TREMONT — The Seal Cove Auto Museum will host a demonstration of a wood-to-gas powered generator during the museum’s July “Demo Day” on Thursday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, rides in antique automobiles will be offered throughout the day, weather permitting.
Stephen Abbadessa of Northern Self Reliance LLC will demonstrate his biomass-to-fuel gas conversion system, which turns wood chips into combustible gas to power a four-kilowatt generator. Abbadessa will discuss what he has learned over his five years building such systems.
This system uses a process called gasification, used for fueling converted gasoline engines and generators. Gasification was very common in the early 1900s before natural gas became widely available. “It’s a miniaturized version of a Victorian era gas plant,” said Abbadessa. “During WW2, this system was used extensively in Europe to power cars, buses and farm equipment as a replacement for gasoline that was needed for the war effort.”
Gasification fast fell out of favor post-WW2 as the hastily designed gasifiers of the day tended to produce tars which could build up and seize the moving parts, not to mention the inconvenience of using bulkier wood as a fuel. However, today there is a renewed interest in gasification in response to the ever-increasing costs of and concerns about energy use. It provides clean carbon-negative energy while producing biochar, an effective fertilizer.
This wood-gas generator demonstration was rescheduled to the July 16 Demo Day from its originally scheduled date of June 18. The event is open to the public with admission to the museum of $2-$6.