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Any experience generating electricity with steam power for home use? Answered

In my region, there is neither enough sunshine nor wind to be completely off the electric grid. I don't want to use a gas/diesel powered generator. However, there is plenty of timber waste to use as fuel. Has anyone used a small steam engine - such as one for a steam powered car - to generate electricity?



1 year ago

Thanks so much for these speedy replies!

I get a very efficient burn with my rocket stove to burn both the solids and gasses. Plus, I get free wood from a local pallet maker and timber mills.

I've been experimenting for a while and have already gone through the gassified method (needs 2 loads of wood). The methane is too hardware/space intensive here as it freezes in the zone 4 winter.

I have experience with steam traction engines where the work line is open, but the boiler is closed. I'm wondering if a spiral-tube boiler has to be closed. Or, can it be open with a feed reservoir with some head-height?

I see the comment from iceng, "Speed will important to regulate your line frequency." Is that answered in the link's steps 4 & 5? I think that I can moderate the RPM with fuel control (with practice).

Anybody have experience with a spiral-tube boiler? I'm looking for any practical advice.

Thanks again!

Jack A Lopez

1 year ago

I am going to echo the same thing Steveastrouk said, except mentioning the phrases, "wood gas", and "gasifier".

A lets make search for "gasifer", reveals there are 'ibles here, on that topic.


The most impressive of these, in my opinion, is JimMason's, "Convert Your Honda Accord to Run on Trash", here,


and that 'ible is almost 10 years old, now.

I think today Jim, the author of that 'ible owns, or is part owner, in a company that makes and sells gasifiers,


And there are other companies out there doing similar things, e.g.


Also Wikipedia has articles for "Gasification", "Wood gas generator", and "Wood gas"





1 year ago

Steam boilers are essentially a bomb run under strict supervision. If your not prepared to spend all day tending your boiler then this isn't the technology for you.

Your human and animal waste can make methane that can run a standard gas engine. Methane generator information is all over the web.

You can cook down your wood to make wood gas (stil somewhat labour intensive though.) tar and charcoal so you still have a fuel as well as the gas.

You would need to arrange a good frequency stabilisation OR make DC and tun an inverter.

I suspect if your remote and wild then wind and solar power and batteries are a better bet.


Answer 1 year ago

Just as an aside in general to get energy out you must put more in than you get out. So if a home uses 4 Kwatts a day then your going to have to generate 4 Kwatts + the losses in the system, As steam may not be the most efficient use of energy your going to be burning a LOT of wood.


1 year ago

As for electricity, a vain impeller and any 3 phase electric motor with three AC capacitors will across the output leeds generate sine wave AC Power. Speed will important to regulate your line frequency.


1 year ago

You can make fuel gas to run a gas engine from wood. Steam engines, without a lot of very specialist engineering are not very effiicient