A Miniature Gas Plant (Jan, 1932)
A Miniature Gas Plant
IF YOU happen to live outside the city and do not have access to local gas mains, you can nevertheless enjoy the use of gas-operated equipment by constructing the miniature gas plant pictured here. The amount of gas constantly “on tap” will depend on the size storage chamber built. Coal, corn cobs, or similar fuel is used as a source of the gas.
The drawing explains the elements of the gas plant clearly. A tin can of gallon size with a tight-fitting cover is used lor the retort. As shown in one of the detail drawings, this retort is connected by means of a rubber hose to a water filter which removes any tar from the gas. This filter is simple, consisting of a jar three-quarters filled with water, through which the gas is forced, to escape through a second tube in the top into a purifier.
The purifier is made of a tin can in which a wire screen has been mounted on wire legs a couple of inches above its bottom. A mixture of iron sulphate and lime is then poured onto the screen for a depth of an inch or more, and an outlet connection soldered into the top of the can, with a similar joint at the bottom to receive the gas from the filter.
Next comes the construction of the storage chamber. This is made of two tin cans with their tops cut off, one can sliding inside the other, much like the large gas storage chambers used to keep gas under pressure in cities. Water is used as a seal to prevent imprisoned gases from escaping. The sliding top of the chamber is provided with a counterbalancing weight working over a series of pulleys on a wooden framework. This weight must weigh slightly less than the section of the can which it moves, in order that the gas, when it enters the chamber from the purifier, will be able to push the top section up by its own expansive force. The gas is thus kept under a slight pressure which will force it through the take-off tube. Fuel from which the gas is produced is heated by an alcohol or canned heat burner. Experiment will show how much fuel is necessary.