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DIY natural gas generator (convertir de nafta a gas)

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ADVERTENCIA: luego de varios intentos, aún no he podido hacer funcionar el generador a gas, bajo carga. Me parece que lo mío es como lo de la fusión en frío. Una posible solución me fue sugerida por liquidhandwash, y consiste en adelantar el encendido.

Hace unos años, debido a que en mi ciudad hubo un corte de suministro eléctrico que duró tres días y me obligó a tirar a la basura los alimentos que teníamos en el freezer, me compré un generador eléctrico. De esos chinos, barato, pero funciona muy satisfactoriamente. Naftero, cuatro tiempos, 5.5 HP, 2.2 KW máx, 2 KW medio, salidas de 220 y 12 V, arranque manual a soga, fácil de usar. Consume aproximadamente 6 litros de nafta por hora de funcionamiento. Lo he utilizado dos o tres veces solamente, para mantener la heladera, el freezer, la TV, la notebook, el WIFI y alguna luz. También es útil para recargar los celulares, y me permite usar el abreportón automático.

Pero nada es perfecto en este mundo: cuando se corta la luz, las estaciones de servicio de la zona se quedan sin surtidores, o sea que no puedo comprar la nafta que usa el generador. La solución sería tenerla guardada en bidones, pero resulta que luego de tres meses de guardada la nafta empieza a degradarse, y no conviene usarla en esas condiciones. La solución a esto es ir reemplazándola cada tres meses, echando al auto la que estaba en los bidones, y comprando nueva. Un engorro, desde donde se lo mire.

Para tratar de dar un corte a todos estos problemas, se me ocurrió que sería conveniente hacer funcionar el generador con gas natural, y a continuación detallo el proceso y las dificultades que enfrenté durante la conversión, para ayudar a otros que intenten lo mismo.

ADVERTENCIA: este relato es MI EXPERIENCIA PERSONAL, no me haga responsable de su propia decisión, sobre todo si le sale mal. Con el gas no se puede jugar, salvo que usted sepa lo que hace. En caso de duda, contrate un profesional.

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WARNING: after several attempts, I could not run the generator under load, on gas. I think mine is as cold fusion.
A possible solution was suggested by liquidhandwash, and consists in advance the ignition.

A few years ago, because in my city there was a power outage that lasted three days and forced me to throw away food we had in the freezer, I bought an electric generator. Of the Chinese, cheap, but it works very satisfactorily. Gasoline engine, four-stroke, 5.5 HP, 2.2 KW max, 2 KW average, outputs of 220 and 12 V, manual rope start, easy to use. Consumes about 6 liters of gasoline per hour of operation. I've used it two or three times just to keep the refrigerator, freezer, TV, notebook, WIFI and some light. It is also useful to recharge cell phones, and allows me to use the automatic gate opener.

But nothing is perfect in this world: when the power goes out, the gas stations in the area run out of suppliers, meaning that I can not buy the gasoline used by the generator. The solution would be to have it stored in drums, but it turns out that after three months of stored gasoline starts to degrade, and you should not use it in these conditions. The solution to this is to go replacing every three months, fueling the car which was on the drums, and buying new gasoline. A nuisance, from where you look.

To try to cut all these problems, I thought it would be appropriate to run the generator with gas, and then detail the process and the difficulties faced during the conversion, to help others who seek the same.

WARNING: This story is my personal experience, I do not take responsibility for your own decision, especially if it goes wrong. With gas you can not play unless you know what you do. If in doubt, hire a professional.
 
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naplatki1 year ago
Congratulations, you were able to happily fix the problem and run the generator.
rimar2000 (author)  naplatki1 year ago
No, Polish friend, I could not fix the problem. I warn it at introduction an at end. After more than a month of changes and tests I got tired and gave lost the attempt.
heathbar641 year ago
I'm happy to learn that you have finally found success! I knew you would if you kept at it.

Estoy feliz de saber que por fin has encontrado el éxito. Yo sabía que lo haría si seguía intentando
rimar2000 (author)  heathbar641 year ago
No, heathbar64, lamento no haber sido lo suficientemente claro. Acabo de repetir al final la advertencia que puse en la introducción, avisando que NO PUDE LOGRARLO.
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No, heathbar64, regret not being clear enough. I repeat at the end the warning I put in the introduction, warning that I COULD NOT DO IT.
akhan741 year ago
we are using "Natural Gas Kit" For These gasoline generators and it works fine.
check it out (http://karachi.olx.com.pk/honda-generator-gaskit-for-sale-new-iid-331800258)
rimar2000 (author)  akhan741 year ago
Thanks, akhan74. I think these kits don't exist in Argentina, where I live.

Anyway, I wanted to do it as a personal experiment.
Hola!
muy buena idea de hacerlo funcionar a gas el equipo generador.
Hace poco en mi trabajo tuve el problema de que se cortó la luz y no había nafta de reserva para el generador, y por supuesto las estaciones no vendían.
Pero hay un inconveniente.
Si el corte es masivo y de larga duración, las bombas que le dan presión al gas que llega hasta tu casa que son eléctricas dejarán de funcionar.

¿Pensaste en proveerle el gas desde una garrafa de gas licuado?
Con un pequeño regulador podrías bajar la presión, y si mal no recuerdo, cuando baja a determinada presión corta el flujo de gas.
Si bien el gas licuado es mas caro que el gas natural, debería solucionar perfectamente el inconveniente de la variación de presión.
Lo otro que se me ocurre es que solicites en la empresa proveedora de gas, que te ponga un medidor/regulador mas grande y que modifiques la instalación para un caudal mayor. El inconveniente de esto es que a veces demoran mucho y lleva un gran tramiterio.

Bueno, desde ya te agradezco por la idea, que estudiare para sugerirla en mi trabajo y por las otras que publicaste que son mas que interesantes!
Saludos desde Mar del Plata
Sergio
rimar2000 (author)  tete_sergio1 year ago
Hola Sergio, gracias por tu comentario. Ayer estuve considerando la posibilidad de usar una garrafa de propano o butano, pero son un poco caras y antes tengo que lograr que funcione bajo carga. Tengo que aprovechar a hacerlo en el verano, que la presión del gas natural es alta. Supongo que pasar de uno a otro debe ser tan sencillo como cambiar el agujero por el que pasa el gas, como pasa con los demás artecfactos. Lo de pedir el cambio de medidor de gas no lo veo muy factible, me van a querer cobrar tarifa industrial por el solo hecho de tener el medidor instalado. Pero es una alternativa a considerar, no la había pensado.
Hola!

sigo pensando en esta idea
¿ seria muy arriesgado saltear el regulador del medidor y colocarle un regulador de equipos de GNC? digo, solo para probar

El regulador del medidor te mantiene la presión constante, y cuando aumenta la carga del generador no varia el caudal del gas.
En cambio, un regulador de GNC vehicular si lo hace, ¿será muy loco hacer esta modificación de la instalación de gas, solo para probar?
rimar2000 (author)  tete_sergio1 year ago
Probablemente tengas razón, Sergio, pero no tengo a mano ningún aparato de esos, que son carísimos.
Dr Qui1 year ago
Bravo, once again an excellent piece of work.

Have you considered building a methane digester to use you own household waste to supplement the gas supply?

On a side note about the storage of fuel, my father serviced and repaired small engines throughout his working years and always said that more problems where caused by storing fuel in unsuitable plastic fuel drums than by fuel that had gone dead from being stored to long, he always got cranky and cussed allot when he had to dismantle and clean out carburetors on lawnmowers and chainsaws that had become gummed up by plastic residue that gets dissolved into the fuel stored in drum not designed to be used with gasoline.
rimar2000 (author)  Dr Qui1 year ago
Thanks for your comment, Dr Qui.

I have not considered to make a methane digestor, my backyard is too little for that. Besides, we are olny two persons, then our waste is very little.

Another person said the same about plastic containers, it seems they are not the best choice to keep gasoline. But they are so cheap...
Yes the plastic containers are cheap, but cheap and nasty. My father cursed the day that oil companies stopped making 1 gallon oils cans in metal and replaced them with plastic ones that are OK for engine oil but are slightly soluble when used with gasoline, that's when he started to get so many gummed up carburetors.
You can still get them. They're commonly used for aviation turbine oil, and if you look for aviation maintenance companies (or ask around the companies at your municiple/local airport they're almost certainly just tossing them out, and you can use normal can openers to remove the lids.
In the UK we used to have square metal half gallon and one gallon cans with screw caps which where perfect petrol cans once empty, these old tin cans are now very collectible. in the mid 80's they where replaced by cheap blow molded plastic containers that are not good for storing petrol in. The US style cans that you pierce the hole in that you mention never seemed to catch on over here and I don't think I have ever seen any of that type for sale of in my dads garage.
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rimar2000 (author)  carpespasm1 year ago
Thanks, carpespasm. Here in Argentina there are a few metallic containers for gasoline in Mercado Libre, but they are expensive. An old used costs around 25 dollars, and this is too much to pay for it.
rimar2000 (author)  Dr Qui1 year ago
Some days ago I put a little of gasoline in a expanded polystyrene container. After a few seconds, it melted and the gasoline spilled. I think polyethilene is a bit similar, it does not melt but surely some components dissolves.

My tests of the generator under charge were FAILED. Olny very little charges were supported, like manual grinder or dril, but when I applied force ti the grinder, the motor died. I am thinking to delete this instructable, I am ashamed by my hastiness to publich it before the correct test.
You do not have to worry that you've published the idea. The important thing is to discuss on this to improve it. I think that is enough test the materials used by you. In the final you should already be applied materials resistant to natural gas and gasoline. As for the valve from the washing machine it has a small capacity for gas flow therefore is poor performance. Appropriate should also be wire. An internal combustion engine to sweep the same efficiency needs two times more gas than petrol. Propane-butane gas, natural gas is less, efficient energy.
rimar2000 (author)  naplatki1 year ago
Thanks naplatki, you encourages me. I will follow the advice of liquidhandwash, to advance the ignition. It will be another task, but it seems indispensable.
I found this Web page may be useful to You. Description refers to propane-butane, but may allow the solution of your problem. http://www.ircongas.com/index.html?msgOrigen=6&CODART=ART00049
rimar2000 (author)  naplatki1 year ago
Thanks, naplatki, I will analize it.
No don't unpublish the instructable, you have show how to convert the generator to operate on gas, and you even said that the natural gas supply pressure is sometimes not the best at times but you still have managed to get the generator running on gas and this is a major achievement.

If anything just add an update that points out your problem with natural gas.

Many people look at this with the idea of using bottled gas which would have the pressure needed to run the generator under load and because of this your instructable is perfect.

The post i did about seasoning wood turning blanks failed in the long run, but when I knew what had gone wrong i made an update to the post. I have updated several of my posts when a problem I had not though of crops up.

Its far to good of a post to remove just because low gas pressure is your problem. I'm sure that with some tinkering you will improve performance.

Keep up the good work.

rimar2000 (author)  Dr Qui1 year ago
Thanks Dr Qui, you encourages me. I will follow the advice of liquidhandwash, to advance the ignition. It will be another task, but it seems indispensable.
nzqwack1 year ago
Most interesting thank you for posting.
rimar2000 (author)  nzqwack1 year ago
Thanks, nzqwack.
rncbme1 year ago
Great Work Rimar! Once again I am in awe of your inventiveness. You do not mention if you ran the generator under the load of the refrigerator or not. Have you tried the natural gas fuel with the generator under load?
rimar2000 (author)  rncbme1 year ago
You are right, rncbme. I did not tried it. Although the motor runs stable, I have a little fear to do the test. This days in my city are very hot, 38-40°C (100-104°F) and radio and TV they advice don't make outdoors efforts. Then I exploit it to do "dolce far niente" or web surfing. When the evening falls, maybe I rise to the roof to repair some tiles, but if and only if the temperature downs too.
I may be wrong Rimir, but I am wondering if your carburetor will receive enough vapor to keep up with the demand the generator will require to operate under a full load. There is a large difference of energy required to run an engine full throttle with a load as when a load is not present.
Roger
rimar2000 (author)  rncbme1 year ago
Yes, it is as you say. Tomorrow I will do the test with normal load, or freezer, refrigerator, notebook, TV, WiFi and one or two lights.
rimar2000 (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Rncbme, you was rigth! the engine died when I applied a charge. I will follow the advice of liquidhandwash, to advance the ignition. It will be another task, but it seems indispensable.
rimar2000 (author)  rncbme1 year ago
I have the same fear, rncbme. Today I want to test it with normal load, ie freezer, refrigerator, laptop, TV, WiFi and one or two lights. The problem is that the weather is very hot, and surely my wife will not want to be without air conditioning during the time duration of the test.
We must keep our wives happy If we want to be happy (:^>. Maybe she will decide to go to the market !! Good Luck. Roger
naplatki1 year ago
Super idea. I also have a generator as a source of energy. I will not have to have a large reserve of gasoline.
rimar2000 (author)  naplatki1 year ago
Thanks for your comment, naplatki.

But wait until I can do the test under charge. Maybe the engine dies when I put a load.

Today was a very hot day, and besides I had to do a little travel. Maybe tomorrow I will have time to do the test.
blkhawk1 year ago
I tip my hat for you! Great Instructable! Thank you very much for sharing this information.
rimar2000 (author)  blkhawk1 year ago
Thanks, blkhawk! Tomorrow I will do the test with normal load, or freezer, refrigerator, notebook, TV, WiFi and one or two lights.
DriX1 year ago
Muy interesante el instructable Osvaldo. Me sorprendio mucho el gran consumo que tiene el motor. Lo pudiste probar con diferentes regimenes de trabajo? Yo siempre quise hacer algo parecido, pero me preocupo el hecho de que el motor consuma diferente cantidad de gas a diferente regimen de trabajo y que la mezcla pueda quedar demasiado pobre o demasiado rica en algun momento.

Ah, si queres pegar vos mismo la lona, podes usar adhesivo para pvc, la pega perfecto a la lona, yo he emparchado piletas con ese sistema y aguanta perfectamente. Tenes que aplicar el pegamento en ambas caras y dejarlo secar un poco ya que funciona disolviendo parcialmente la lona.

Saludos.
rimar2000 (author)  DriX1 year ago
Gracias por tu comentario, Drix. Leete lo que le contesté a rncbme, por favor.

El generador tiene una sola velocidad (en realidad dos: lento y parado ;), pero consume más o menos según la carga. Cuando arrancan el freezer o la heladera pega una aceleradita que dura una fracción de segundo. Tal vez me decida a probarlo bajo carga en cuanto baje un poco la temperatura ambiente. Tengo un poco de temor a que bajo carga no dé abasto. Realmente me sorprendió muchísimo la cantidad de gas que traga el motor, pero pensándolo bien es bastante lógico, no es lo mismo mantener una llamita en la cocina que todas esas explosiones sucesivas. Lo consulté en un taller de GNC y me confirmaron que es así.

Gracias por la idea del adhesivo para PVC. Justamente la costurera abre dentro de un rato y yo pensaba llevarle a que me cosa la funda, pero ella se suele tomar una semana para hacer esas cosas. No es que yo tenga apuro pero me gusta sacarme de encima estos trabajos, ya hace casi dos semanas que estoy con el generador y quiero dedicarme a otra cosa.

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Thanks for your comment, Drix. Read what I said to rncbme, please.

The generator has a single speed (actually two: slow and stopped;), but consumes more or less depending on the load. When starting the freezer or the refrigerator it makes a quicken lasting a fraction of a second. Maybe I decide to try it under load as soon as the ambient temperature drops a little. I have some fear that under load it will not work well. Actually I was very surprised the amount of gas that swallows the engine, but on second thought it is quite logical, is not the same to keep a small flame in the kitchen than all these successive explosions. I consulted a CNG shop and they confirmed that it is so.

Thanks for the idea of PVC adhesive. The seamstress just open in a bit and I think to bring her the cover to sew, but she usually takes a week to do those things. Not that I have a hurry but I like to get me off these jobs, and nearly two weeks ago with the generator and I want to do something else.
DriX rimar20001 year ago
Claro, pero a medida que va teniendo mas carga, el carburador va abriendo más la mariposa para matener la velocidad constante (ya que sino variaría la frecuencia de la tensión). Mi preocupación es que al exigir el motor, entre mas aire pero no más combustible, empobreciendo la mezcla y sobrecalentando el motor. Podés hacer la prueba moviendo manualmente la mariposa del carburador, normalmente están accesibles (cuidado de no mover la regulación). Los motores que usan gnc, tienen un regulador, que va enviando más o menos gas según el vacío que haya en el carburador.


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Right, but as the generator loads gets higher, the carburetor opens more to keep the rpm constant (otherwise the cycle would vary). My concern is that if you put load on the generator, it would allow more air to get into the cylinder, but not more fuel, making the air-fuel mix poor, thus overheating the engine. You can test it by manually moving the carburetor lever, they're normally at sight (whatch out not to change the factory regulation). Engines that run out of propane, have a regulator, that sends more or less gas as the vacuum on the carburetor changes.
rimar2000 (author)  DriX1 year ago
Sí, es como vos decís. Mañana voy a hacer la prueba con carga normal, o sea freezer, heladera, notebook, TV, WiFi y una o dos luces.

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Yes, it is as you say. Tomorrow I will do the test with normal load, or freezer, refrigerator, notebook, TV, WiFi and one or two lights.
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