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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines Antique steam engines, their boilers, pumps, gauges, whistles and other related things that make them run.

Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines

Pioneer Stoves


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  #1  
Old 02-11-2009, 05:54:04 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Pioneer Stoves

There is a new Amish/Plain Folk community in central western Kentucky that has a manufacturing shop by the name PIONEER STOVES. They make wood fired cook stoves primarily for the American Amish/Mennonite/German Baptist/Plain Folk market, and ship everywhere. This shop operates 5 to 6 days a week, and is steam powered. I do have permission to post information and photos and give out information, but for now I'm going to keep the town location to myself in order not to stir up a wave of steam tourists and protect their privacy. Maybe in the future.....

Over the past year, I have been involved in getting their boiler up to acceptable code standards, and am happy to report that they are doing quite well. This past Monday, several people converged to help with some final inspection and tuning of their steam power plant. Included were myself and the Kentucky Chief Inspector, Bruce Babcock, and Matt Callahan and Walter Clement from Alabama and Tennessee.

The stove shop is run via a lineshaft powered by a steam engine which receives steam from a modern 4 pass Scotch Marine boiler. They fire the boiler with a wood gas producer which converts wood chips/sawdust into a gas, which is then mixed with air and burned in the furnace.

The steam engine runs the lineshaft, which in turn powers several things including the presses and associated shop equipment, air compressors, 24V DC generator, 300V DC main generator, boiler feed pump, and shop heating water circulating pump.

There is no AC electricity from "the grid", and only the DC power generated in the shop is acceptable. Battery and air tools are standard, and many devices have been converted or built to be powered accordingly. There is an air powered travelling bridge crane. The welding area is powered by the lineshaft driven 300V DC generator which then stores charge in 25 deep cycle 12V batteries. Overall, it is too much to list. The building is conventional construction metal with concrete floor, and is approximately 50' by 150'.

There are about a dozen families/houses, and horse and buggy and traditional plain folk attire is standard.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:59:05 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

The wood gas generator receives wood chips/sawdust into the large cylindrical hopper. A 24V motor turns the auger, which moves the chips to the wood gas generator. Other motors operate the combustion air fans and then blow the wood gas and air mixture into the Morrison Tube, where it is burned. All is controlled by the modified pressure controls on the boiler, using the 24V system. Other electic switches operate compressed air pistons to open and close damper doors, etc.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:04:09 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Boiler feedwater is automatically controlled via the 24V system through two McDonnell-Miller floats. When the float calls for water, the electric circuit actuates an air clutch. The air clutch engages a centrifugal feedwater pump. The pump kicks out when the float is satisfied. The backup system is a Penberthy injector recently rebuilt by the famous injector fixer of Pawnee Steam School fame. I could not get a good photo of the lineshaft driven pump.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:09:45 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

One of the McDonnell-Miller floats controls the feedwater pump, and also has a low water circuit. In the event of low water, it shuts down the gas burner, and actuates a 24V emergency strobe and siren/horn (usually used as a fire alarm) in the shop. It will get your attention.

The second McDonnell-Miller is simply a secondary low water device to actuate this system for redundency.

Additionally, the water column is set up with an internal float which is attached to a steam whistle valve. If the water is too low, and the primary and secondary float 24V system fails, the screeching whistle will also get your attention. The whistle is shown at the top corner of the water column.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:15:26 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

The upright steam engine is in the center of the photo. There is a larger, newer engine behind it (behind the people), which is servicible, but not currently used. In the foreground to the left of the engine is the (green colored) 300V main generator.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:19:43 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Bruce Babcock brought his small Prony Brake, and an indicator with associated fittings. He set up to take cards to attempt to gain some insight as far as horsepower and steam consumption. I'll let Bruce tell the challenges of trying to take indicator cards at 425rpm.......
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:12:13 PM
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Mark,

Is there any special reason they went "high tech" with the boiler, instead of just using a hand-fired boiler?

And, as they are Amish, do they have a steam whistle on the roof?

David
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:23:38 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

They were originally hand firing a similar boiler with slabs. They did not have a good experience with steam output, and hence added a home made watertube firebox. I certain boiler inspector (who shall remain nameless) said that they couldn't make modifications / alterations using non-certified welders and non-code pipe (what they did requires an R stamp). They were not happy with the amount of attention the hand firing took, and wanted a more automated system so they would not have to dedicate labor to the boiler. They chose to install their "other" boiler, which is in better condition. The wood gassification system suits their needs perfectly.

They have now become a bit more fancy (at the urging of the nameless inspector) and added a whistle outside. They haven't figured out what to do with it yet, but they like it's sound.

Mark
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:33:27 PM
Glenn Gieszler Glenn Gieszler is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Mark

Not knowing your local requirements I have a few questions reguarding this installation compared to our state

I do not see how you provide an airlock between your fuel source and the gasafier

did you require a fusible plug incase you abruptly loose power with fuel in the gasafier

I assume they remove the ash in the front before the boiler how long can they go before cleaning, I see they are monitoring overfire and outlet temps

A 4 pass boiler will have quite a draft loss,how are they over coming that,do they have a tall chimney or fan boost, as well I saw no barometric on the outlet of the breeching

we require two LWCO for steam and they must have a seperate water connection but a common steam connection is approved

Our EPA regs are tighting up particulate matter with a .032 PM requirement and less than 20% opacity by 2010 are they tightening up as well in your state as well?

How well are the tubes holding up I believe this boiler would have a dry back, if so are you seeing wire drawing on the rear tubes, as the circulation slows down and the refractory still holds heat at the rear tube sheet
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:54:41 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Quote:
I do not see how you provide an airlock between your fuel source and the gasafier
There is no airlock. There are some bugs to work out. Sometimes the "fire" will try to sneak back through the auger to the fuel bin if the boiler is idle. The auger is fed by a "sweep" in the fuel bin. Current thinking is to disable the sweep and provide a discontinuity feeding the auger, and let the auger run "dry". All of us are learning as we go.......

Quote:
did you require a fusible plug incase you abruptly loose power with fuel in the gasafier
No. I seriously considered a fusible plug, but as the flame is a gas, and not a solid, I requested other means of shutdown. The redundant floats activate the combustion air dampers to close, and there is a yet to be built bypass direct to the stack from the gasifier. All is wired to default to shut down if power is lost. Again, we are learning about wood gas....

Quote:
I assume they remove the ash in the front before the boiler how long can they go before cleaning, I see they are monitoring overfire and outlet temps
So far, very little ash (as we all know it) to speak of. Don't know how long it will go between furnace cleanings. They are getting a really strange clinker out of the gasifier.....looks a lot like coal clinker.

Quote:
A 4 pass boiler will have quite a draft loss,how are they over coming that,do they have a tall chimney or fan boost, as well I saw no barometric on the outlet of the breeching
Combustion air fan at gasifier. Tall stack. Induced draft fan on top of stack.....all fans interlocked with pressure control switch. Turn on and turn off when gasifier kicks in and kicks out.

Quote:
we require two LWCO for steam and they must have a seperate water connection but a common steam connection is approved
Yes. Third is the steam whistle (separate).

Quote:
Our EPA regs are tighting up particulate matter with a .032 PM requirement and less than 20% opacity by 2010 are they tightening up as well in your state as well?
So far, so good. This is in the country where the regulations are a bit relaxed.

Quote:
How well are the tubes holding up I believe this boiler would have a dry back, if so are you seeing wire drawing on the rear tubes, as the circulation slows down and the refractory still holds heat at the rear tube sheet
It is dry back. So far the tubes look OK. Have no idea what the future holds.

Mark
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:06:23 PM
Emma Emma is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L. Jordan View Post

They have now become a bit more fancy (at the urging of the nameless inspector) and added a whistle outside. They haven't figured out what to do with it yet, but they like it's sound.

Mark

Lunch whistle?
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:26:26 PM
Glenn Gieszler Glenn Gieszler is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Mark

Thanks for the info, I have a few more funny questions

At what pressure are they running?

What is the actual rated pressure of the vessel?

How did you do the lbs/hr Calulations for sizing the capacity of the relief valves and the existing opening capacity incomparrison to the heat output of the gasafier and the pressure of the vessel

Clinkers, are they using a choke ring in the morrison tube, possibly are they not firing in suspension

The 24 Volts has me pondering how would/could you provide isolation and grounding in order to prevent a hot leg searching to ground and holding the loads to be powered even when the safety's are satisfied
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:29:00 PM
Jim Mackessy Jim Mackessy is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Thanks for the info on this innovative set up. The Ames engines at Cowee Forest Products were run off of two boilers fired by wood gas coming out of a gasification bed. I don't know much about the technical end of it, but it did have a bunch of motor drives controlling the auger feed rate. These were 1930's vintage HRT's converted over. They also had problems with glass-like klinkers in the gasification units, which was attributed to silica in the wood chips from dirt, etc..
What are the limitations on the use of electricity in these sects? It seems that in some, no electricity is allowed, in others some is. I can see the logic behind using no electricity, but don't understand how it's ok to use some but not ac. It's gotten me curious as to the logic behind the restrictions. - Jim M.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:34:42 AM
Bruce E. Babcock Bruce E. Babcock is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

I am going to let Mark focus on the boiler and the gasification unit, I will address the engine.

The work on the engine was accomplished by Walter Clement, a retired engineering professor from Auburn, Matt Callahan, the President of Southland Flywheelers of Huntsville, several Amish gentlemen, and me.

The engine is vertical and is from a General Electric 17.5 KW marine generating set and has a bore of 8 inches and a stroke of 6 inches. The generator has been removed and replaced with a multiple groove V-belt pulley. The engine runs at 425 rpm.

On Monday, February 9, after weeks of preparation and a delay because of a severe ice storm, we had an opportunity to take indicator cards from this engine.

Prior to arriving at the engine, I had made a larger wooden pulley and a split sleeve to go over another pulley to get the reducing motion to handle the 6 inch stroke. The shortest stroke that my reducing motion could handle with the stock pulleys was 10 inches.

The indicator was a Robertson-Thompson with a #80 spring and an Improved Victor reducing motion.

Prior to arriving at the engine, I had also preassembled the piping to fit the 8 1/4 inch spacing between the indicator taps.

We installed steam gauges on the steam line and on the exhaust line, and I had adequate help to manipulate and/or monitor all of the devices.

I even took my small Prony brake so that we could show the operation of the automatic governor. We belted up the brake and determined that it would provide an adequate load, at two different levels.

When we proceeded to take the first card to check out the indicator, problems suddenly became apparent. I had been aware that we might have problems, but assumed that we would be able to overcome them. The main problem was that the engine runs at 425 rpm. (I have never before attempted to take cards at a speed greater than 300 rpm.) First, I could not keep the string from stretching from the severe "yanking." I was using waxed linen, which has been completely satisfactory in every other instance. Next, the indicator began to fall apart in various places. Once I got most of the stretch out of the string and all of the loose connections tightened up, the indicator began to seize up. When we stopped, the reducing motion would not turn and the paper drum did not turn easily enough to be of any use. The friction had heated the paper drum to where it was almost too hot to touch. With my tail between my legs, I packed up my equipment and headed back to Ohio.

Possibly the only significant accomplishment for the day was the realization that the steam gauge on the exhaust of the engine was showing approximately 10 psi of back pressure. I suspect that it would have been even more at higher loads.

My Amish friends were most gracious. I had forewarned them that I was concerned that the speed might be too high for my equipment.

They have a larger, horizontal, engine that runs at 250 rpm installed beside the one we were working on. I am going to do some research because I suspect that the larger engine may give them better economy than the smaller, higher speed engine. The larger engine has not been in use for quite some time.


Humbly,

Bruce E. Babcock
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:03:44 AM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Quote:
Lunch whistle?
No, not sophisticated enough.

They already have a 24V beeper system interlinked with a clock. Morning coffee, Lunch, end of Lunch, afternoon cake & cookie break (their women take good care of them!).

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:13:23 AM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Quote:
At what pressure are they running?
140psi more or less

Quote:
What is the actual rated pressure of the vessel?
150psi. Safeties set at 150psi (new safety valves....dang inspector again)

Quote:
How did you do the lbs/hr Calulations for sizing the capacity of the relief valves and the existing opening capacity incomparrison to the heat output of the gasafier and the pressure of the vessel
Minimum relief valve capacity stamped on ASME stamping on boiler. Original data plate agrees with stamping, and is for natural gas firing. Wood (or wood gas) has less btu's and therefore less than original firing rating. I used the original rating, knowing it would be larger then wood gas.

Quote:
Clinkers, are they using a choke ring in the morrison tube, possibly are they not firing in suspension
The actual prelimiary combustion of the wood chips occurrs in a small box just outside the Morrison Tube. The clinkers are occurring there. The actual Morrison Tube has no modifications.

Quote:
The 24 Volts has me pondering how would/could you provide isolation and grounding in order to prevent a hot leg searching to ground and holding the loads to be powered even when the safety's are satisfied
Can't answer that one yet....still debugging.

Mark
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:41:56 AM
pvtschultz pvtschultz is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Wow, this is where the "modern" traction engine/factory mill engines would be if they were still in existance and natural gas ran out. I think that I am partially qualified to answer some of the gasifier questions.

If the gasifier is anything like what was used during WWII in Europe to power internal combustion engines, it is a downdraft where the hot coal bed pyrolyzes the solid fuel above it (in the absense of oxygen) and frees the hydrocarbons in the wood. These gases are then pulled through the coal bed where the complex HC molecules are cracked into carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), and a few other gases. Also, any moisture that is in the wood will be drawn through the coal bed which will strip an oxygen atom from the water molecule to promote cumbustion leaving additional CO. This gas is then mixed with oxygen and burned to heat the boiler.

The "clincker" is probaby an area where the heavy hydrocarbon molecules are allowed to cool above the coal bed and form a heavy tar.

Particulate emissions are very low for gasification based boilers since the "smoke" is drawn through the coal bed and is ultimately burned. In a classical hand fed boiler, the wood above the coal bed is pyrolyzed just as in the gasifier, but a lot of the "smoke" is allowed to go up the stack instead of being fully combusted. There will be very little ash from this process.

If anyone else in interested in learning more about this process, there is a group on Yahoo called "WoodGas" located at the link below:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WoodGas/

There is another group on Yahoo that is pretty young yet called Gasifier Heating:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/GasifierHeating/

I am a member of both groups and am currently in the process of welding up my self-designed gasifier heater for my garage. I'll be posting initial construction photos soon. The WoodGas group might be infinately helpful in debugging the boiler for this outfit and I will post a link to this thread there as I am sure they'll be interested in reading about this.

Thank you for the great pictures and starting this thread. It is a good mix of using old and new technology for living "off the grid".
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:20:35 PM
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Gary K Gary K is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

I hope Mark will give us more information on how they fire the boiler with a wood producer gas that converts wood chips and sawdust into a gas? Also, why there isn't much ash? At this time, I'm assuming it's carried off as particulates . . . I could be wrong, and it won't be the first time?! Does it have primary & secondary chambers, where the wood burns under starved air combustion on a grate or hearth, which receives from 40% to 70% primary air. Then 30% to 60% of secondary air is injected at some point downstream of the primary combustion zone to "finish off" the combustion reaction. (carbon, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, etc.)

That brings me back to the "fixed carbons" that remain after the volatile material is consumed, which will only burn as a solid . . . like charcoal. (Fixed carbon burns at a slower rate than volatile matter and requires a longer residence time)

Volatile matter is the combustible part of the fuel that will be driven off when heated to a standard temperature (950 deg. C / 1,742 F.). This material is composed primarily of hydrocarbons and other gases that result from distillation and decomposition.



When Glenn mentioned about Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) tightening up on Particulate Matter (PM) . . . that they did, as they tightened up on all solid fuel burning plants (wood, coal, garbage). In Minnesota it's illegal to burn your garbage in a burn barrel, or wood stove . . . it must go to a land fill, recycling center, or incinerator!

For those not familiar with Particulate Matter, or Opacity as mentioned by Glenn . . . Particulate Matter (PM) - - also known "total suspended particulate" (TSP) -- is defined by MPCA as any non-gaseous material emitted by combustors. (This can be combustible material that did not fully burn, fly ash, chemicals that have been injected into the flue gas, vaporized metals, etc.)

Opacity refers to emissions that are visible to the naked eye. Smoke is a good example, but more specifically, opacity is a lack of transparency that occurs when light cannot pass through a stack plume. A percentage scale ranges from 0% (no opacity), to 100% (total obscurity).

In a solid fuel boiler plant (wood, coal, garbage) it'll most likely have a CEMs panel (continuous emissions monitoring) that may display opacity, O2, CO, CO2, SO2, NOx, etc. MPCA will place limits on said plants, such as, CO may be limited to 50 or 100 ppm, opacity at 10%, ESP inlet temperature at 500 deg. F., or less, steam flow at 15,000 lb./hr., and so on.

Carbon Monoxide level is corrected to 7% O2, or 12% carbon dioxide (CO2) in Minnesota. If a combustion upset occurs, the engineer better do his math, unless a database does it for him, to find out if the excess air he may have added, is acting as a diluent or a reactant?
Example:
12 divided by "x", times CO ppm = corrected CO
or
14 times CO ppm, divided by (21 - % O2) = corrected CO


To improve the combustion process, lot's of plants have added refractory to their furnaces to increase combustion temperatures, otherwise waterwalls absorb too much heat lowering this temperature. Higher combustion temperatures improves this process, but also increases the slagging problem! Chuck Sindelar found out when he placed a brick arch in his 9 h.p. CASE, and the straw burned so hot, it formed slag. (Chuck told us about that a couple of years ago!)

Gary K

Last edited by Gary K; 02-12-2009 at 08:44:33 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:48:24 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Quote:
What are the limitations on the use of electricity in these sects?
Each sect, or group, has it's own rules. Because of strict (or lax) rules, there have been disagreements amongst the "Plain Folk". New communities spring up made of refugees that have split from other older communities. The new community decides what is best for it, and creates it's own rules. Because of this, what may be "standard" for one Amish community may not be "standard" for another just down the road. These differences are not immediately seen by us non-Plain Folk.

The use of electricity and other technoligies is generally OK if it does not: 1) Cause dependence upon something outside of the community. "The Grid" is therefore off limits. 2) Invade the house/home. Use in the shop or the barn may be OK, but not in the house. The house is kept off limits from the outside world. It is to relax and be with the family. 3) Split up the community. Grandparents, Parents, Children, Grandchildren, etc. should be a close family. If they live 300 miles apart....well, that doesn't happen. That is why horse and buggy is used....do keep the community close. You can't wander off too far.

MJ
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:50:52 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Pioneer Stoves

Quote:
I hope Mark will give us more information on how they fire the boiler with a wood producer gas that converts wood chips and sawdust into a gas?
I'm learning here. If I open my mouth at this point, I'd say something really, really stupid..

Give me a bit more time to understand this process.

MJ
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