How Nanotechnology Could Reengineer Us

from Keithly:

Nanotechnology is an important new area of research that promises significant advances in electronics, materials, biotechnology, alternative energy sources, and dozens of other applications. The graphic below illustrates, at a personal level, the potential impact on each of us. And where electrical measurement is required, Keithley instrumentation is being used in an expanding list of nanotechnology research and development settings.


anonymous asked:

I think oil pipes lines are important to a degree. Like if it's going to danger the environment and people then no. But if we can as safe as possible make a pipeline then go for it. Opinions?

First let’s address the fact that even if you could ensure that pipelines would not endanger the environment and people through spills, then it would still be the wrong choice. A safe pipeline is still a pipeline adding millions more barrels of production capacity to the oil industry and increasing greenhouse gases in the climate. If we have any chance of limiting climate change to 2 degrees of warming, the maximum to prevent catastrophic loss of life, then we must immediately start reducing our fossil fuel use significantly. This requires that we start right away building infrastructure for and promoting alternative energy sources and reducing our fossil fuel use and infrastructure.

For example, the Line 3 replacement which has just been approved would be a great opportunity to replace an aging pipeline with a massive investment in solar, wind, or any other technology. Instead of twinning Kinder Morgan we could do something similar. What is happening here is that the government is choosing to increase fossil fuel production rather than scale it down and transition away. This is a binary choice, and any new fossil fuel project is a commitment to the wrong direction.

That addressed, let’s respond to the idea that the pipelines being built are safe, something every government is at pains to reassure us, that these pipelines are “state-of-the-art” and that oil companies are extremely careful about monitoring them.

This is a lie.

Pipelines leak all the time (let alone the tankers that carry the oil). The companies that build these pipelines face extremely low fines when this happens, incentivizing them to respond after the fact than to protect against spills. 

If you look at the history of oil companies and specifically the two who have had their pipelines approved (Enbridge and Kinder Morgan) you’ll see that there really isn’t such a thing as a pipeline that is safe for the environment or people


“Over the last 20 years, pipeline incidents have caused over $6.3 billion in property damages. On average during this time period there were more than 250 pipeline incidents per year, without a single year where that number dropped below 220. During that time, more than 2.5 million barrels of hazardous liquids were spilled and little more than half of those spilled amounts were recovered in cleanup efforts.”

Kinder Morgan:

On Trans Mountain: “Since Texas-based Kinder Morgan bought the line in 2005, there have been 13 oil spills totalling 5,628 barrels of crude”

“US regulators have documented over thirty significant accidents and violations in the country associated with Kinder Morgan’s operations. Kinder Morgan pipelines have exploded causing disasters and death. They have paid out millions of dollars in fines and settlements.”

“Here is a list of incidents involving Kinder Morgan’s BC operations in the past several years:July 15, 2005: About 210,000 litres of crude were released into the area surrounding the company’s Sumas Mountain storage facility in Abbotsford, making its way into Kilgard Creek.July 24, 2007: An oil spill occurred along the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Burnaby when a construction crew inadvertently hit the unmarked pipe with an excavator. Almost 250,000 litres (about 1500 barrels) of oil shot out of the ground, soaking a residential neighbourhood and seeping into the Burrard Inlet. At least 50 homes had to be evacuated. (Click to view the BC Ministry of Environment Incident Report)May 6, 2009: A sizeable spill was discovered at the company’s Burnaby Mountain tank farm, with almost 200,000 litres leaking out into the facility.January 24, 2012: A pipeline rupture at the Sumas Mountain tank farm spilled an estimated 110,000 litres of oil. Local residents reported health problems including nausea, headaches and fatigue, and schoolchildren were kept indoors for fear of airborne toxins.April 3, 2012: Another spill in a “containment area” at the Abbotsford Sumas Mountain facility caused nuisance odors and air quality concerns in surrounding communities.June 12, 2013: A leak was discovered on the Kinder Morgan pipeline near Merritt, BC.June 26, 2013: Just two weeks after the spill near Merritt, yet another leak was discovered – this time spilling 17,800 litres of oil at a site near the Coquihalla Summit, about 40 km east of Hope, BC.”


“Using data from Enbridge’s own reports, the Polaris Institute calculated that 804 spills occurred on Enbridge pipelines between 1999 and 2010. These spills released approximately 161,475 barrels (25,672.5 m3) of crude oil into the environment.”

one incident among many: “2007 (November 27th) – Clearbrook, Minnesota – killed two employees. Enbridge was cited for failing to safely and adequately perform maintenance and repair activities, clear the designated work area from possible sources of ignition, and hire properly trained and qualified workers.”

“The year 2010 was a bad one for Enbridge. The total number of barrels of oil spilled was 34,122, the equivalent of more than one million U.S. gallons, including the 20,000-barrel Marshall, Mich., incident in July. Just six weeks after Marshall, another major spill occurred along the same pipeline, Line 6B, at Romeoville, Ill. In that spill, 9,000 barrels, or more than 250,000 gallons of crude, poured into the town’s industrial sector.”
Report: World can Rid Itself of Fossil Fuel Dependence in as Little as 10 Years
A new report looks at the proliferation of nuclear power across Sweden and France, two of the international leaders in the nuclear power movement.

As we race against time to implement alternative energy sources, a new report published in the journal PLoS One suggests that the world could completely replace fossil fuels with nuclear power in as little as a decade.

shotafiction-blog  asked:

No disrespect intended but the pipeline means jobs and no more drilling in the Middle East , I want our country free of Middle East drilling and start drilling in our own land X.x it would fix our economy , why are the native Americans against jobs and saving our country of the Middle East Debt ? Can you explain ? Do they have a solution idea instead ?

There’s a lot more to the situation than jobs vs no jobs. The expansion of alternative energy sources would create jobs as well and sacred lands, homes, and precious water sources wouldn’t have to suffer in the process. Also, from what I’ve read and researched the DAPL wouldn’t create a substantial number of jobs anyway. Our natural resources and our native peoples are much more important than jobs that could be created in a way that benefits the country, the people, and the environment.

An innovative idea for a magnetically controlled battery

We are used to electric batteries consisting of electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Now, the researchers led by Yi Cui, Professor at Stanford University, have built a battery containing a magnetic fluid that can be moved in any direction by applying a magnetic field.

The magnetically controlled battery concept could be especially useful for flow batteries, where it could eliminate the need for the pumps that are typically required for moving the electrolyte from an external storage tank to the inside of a power stack to provide electricity.

Flow batteries are being actively researched as large-scale energy storage devices for power grids, where they could store energy captured by intermittent alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.

“The greatest significance of our work lies in the innovative idea of using a magnetic field to control and enhance the mass and electron transport in a battery system,” lead author Weiyang Li, previously at Stanford University and now at Dartmouth College, told read more here

image credit: Li, et al. ©2015 American Chemical Society

Plants Are Far More Intelligent Than We Ever Assumed

Like higher organisms, plants appear able to make complex decisions. A new study shows that plants may be able to initiate a survival mechanism by aborting their own seeds to prevent parasite infestation.

Plants have previously been shown to draw alternative sources of energy from other plants. Plants influence each other in many ways and they communicate through “nanomechanical oscillations” vibrations on the tiniest atomic or molecular scale or as close as you can get to telepathic communication.

Plants exhibit intelligence with an intrinsic ability to process information from several type of stimuli that allows optimal decisions about future activities in a given environment.

Stefano Mancuso from the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology at the University of Florence, Italy, and his colleagues are starting to apply rigorous standards to study plant hearing (Trends in Plant Sciences, vol17, p323). Their preliminary results indicate that corn roots grow towards specific frequencies of vibrations. What is even more surprising is their finding that roots themselves may also be emitting sound waves. For now, though, we have no idea how a plant might produce sound signals let alone how they might detect them.

Scientists from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Gottingen have now shown from their investigations on Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), that it is is able to abort its own seeds to prevent parasite infestation.

The results, as reported in a news release, are the first ecological evidence of complex behavior in plants. They indicate that this species has a structural memory, is able to differentiate between inner and outer conditions as well as anticipate future risks, scientists write in the renowned journal American Naturalist — the premier peer-reviewed American journal for theoretical ecology.

The European barberry or simply Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is a species of shrub distributed throughout Europe. It is related to the Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) that is native to North America and that has been spreading through Europe for years. Scientists compared both species to find a marked difference in parasite infestation: “a highly specialized species of tephritid fruit fly, whose larvae actually feed on the seeds of the native Barberry, was found to have a tenfold higher population density on its new host plant, the Oregon grape”, reports Dr. Harald Auge, a biologist at the UFZ.

This led scientists to examine the seeds of the Barberry more closely. Approximately 2000 berries were collected from different regions of Germany, examined for signs of piercing and then cut open to examine any infestation by the larvae of the tephritid fruit fly (Rhagoletis meigenii). This parasite punctures the berries in order to lay its eggs inside them. If the larva is able to develop, it will often feed on all of the seeds in the berry. A special characteristic of the Barberry is that each berry usually has two seeds and that the plant is able to stop the development of its seeds in order to save its resources. This mechanism is also employed to defend it from the tephritid fruit fly. If a seed is infested with the parasite, later on the developing larva will feed on both seeds. If however the plant aborts the infested seed, then the parasite in that seed will also die and the second seed in the berry is saved.

When analyzing the seeds, the scientists came across a surprising discovery: “the seeds of the infested fruits are not always aborted, but rather it depends on how many seeds there are in the berries”, explains Dr. Katrin M. Meyer, who analyzed the data at the UFZ and currently works at the University of Goettingen. If the infested fruit contains two seeds, then in 75 per cent of cases, the plants will abort the infested seeds, in order to save the second intact seed. If however the infested fruit only contains one seed, then the plant will only abort the infested seed in 5 per cent of cases. The data from fieldwork were put into a computer model which resulted in a conclusive picture. Using computer model calculations, scientists were able to demonstrate how those plants subjected to stress from parasite infestation reacted very differently from those without stress. “If the Barberry aborts a fruit with only one infested seed, then the entire fruit would be lost. Instead it appears to ‘speculate’ that the larva could die naturally, which is a possibility. Slight chances are better than none at all”, explains Dr. Hans-Hermann Thulke from the UFZ. “This anticipative behavior, whereby anticipated losses and outer conditions are weighed up, very much surprised us. The message of our study is therefore that plant intelligence is entering the realms of ecological possibility.”

But how does the Barberry know what is in store for it after the tephritid fruit fly has punctured a berry? It is still unclear as to how the plant processes information and how this complex behavior was able to develop over the course of its evolution. The Oregon grape that is closely related to the Barberry has been living in Europe for some 200 years with the risk of being infested by the tephritid fruit fly and yet it has not developed any such comparable defense strategy. These new insights shed some light on the underestimated abilities of plants, while at the same time bringing up many new questions.

By: April McCarthy


July 15th 1979: Carter’s ‘Crisis of Confidence’ speech

On this day in 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter made a televised address that has become known as the 'crisis of confidence’ or 'malaise’ speech. The address came during an energy crisis which had its roots in the 1973 oil embargo, which led Carter to conclude that America needed a focus on conserving energy and the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Carter also encouraged people to be more responsible in their use of gas and electric. It was in this environment that the President made his July 15th speech, which he had spent many weeks preparing at Camp David. He identified a 'crisis of confidence’ throughout the nation in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. The reception to the speech was initially favourable, but came to be seen as a scolding lecture where Carter was blaming the American people for the crisis in his emphasis on over consumption and consumerism. The address has since become identified with the general period of 'malaise’ that characterised America in the 1970s, with a flagging economy, uninspiring politicians, heightened racial tensions and seemingly endless war; however Carter never actually used the word in his speech. Jimmy Carter lost his re-election bid the year after this speech in 1980 against charismatic Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.

Today President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinpeng agreed to some pretty dramatic carbon emission cuts.

The global phenomenon of climate change is often cited as being the #1 problem facing humanity by scientists. The two largest polluters (and hence causers) are America and China.

This is extremely promising because instead of cutting down on America’s promise of cutting carbon emissions 17% by 2020, we’re now promising to cut by 26-28% by 2025. He ramped it up.

Why is this typically such a scary subject for scientists?

Firstly, the scientific consensus in the U.S. often goes ignored on this subject. The “climate denier” group is prolifically loud and often partisan which is shameful as this issue is grounded in science, not political loyalties.

Overall however, this seems to have been one of the best deals reached thus far on climate change.

I’m curious to see whether or not EPA restrictions on polluting parties will be supplemented with increased funding in alternative energy research.

Alternative sources of potentially safe, green energy are:

  • Solar power
  • Wind
  • Hydro power
  • Nuclear Fusion research has potential
Assembly of First Nations to host national energy forum in February
The future of Canada’s two largest pipeline projects hinges on the cooperation of First Nations throughout the country. by Christopher Curtis, Montreal Gazette, July 8, 2015 With billions of dollar...

With billions of dollars and swaths of aboriginal territory at stake, the Assembly of First Nations will try to leverage their legal rights and force a negotiation with Canada’s energy producers and the federal government. AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Tuesday he plans on hosting a national energy forum in February with the goal of getting big oil, Ottawa and First Nations at the table.

But some say the pipeline issue can’t wait until next year and that aboriginal chiefs have to unite and resist the expansion of Alberta oil sands development across Canada. The debate illustrates the complex relationship between the federal government, First Nations and natural resource exploitation.

“Yes we want to have a dialogue, a dialogue about pipelines and mining, about alternative sources of energy,” said Bellegarde, speaking at the organization’s general assembly in Montreal.

“We need to bring everybody together and find that common ground because right now (the discussion) is all over (the place). This is really too important to not bring people together to dialogue: the industry, the private sector, the public sector, First Nations governments, environmentalists, all these people will come together to find that common ground.”

Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would transport Alberta oil to the West Coast for shipping to Asia, while TransCanada’s proposed Energy East project would connect new and existing pipelines to transport oil to refineries on the East Coast.

There is concern among First Nations people that an oil spill could devastate traditional lands.

As a result, Enbridge and TransCanada are facing injunctions from band councils and environmentalists across the country and some activists have threatened to physically block the construction of a pipeline through their reserves.

In Kanesatake — a Quebec Mohawk community near Montreal — opposition to the Energy East project could also play itself out in the courts. The proposed pipeline would pass through the northern edge of the Mohawk settlement.

“We won’t roll over for anyone,” said Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon. “Your pipeline violates my community’s laws and if you want to take me to court, go for it, the judge will get an earful. … We can’t stand alone, we’re forming an alliance with the (Quebec) Innu and communities in British Columbia. Let’s form a vice between east and west and let’s start squeezing them in.”

Simon has previously said his people will form barricades to prevent construction of the pipeline.

Meanwhile, a separate battle over indigenous land rights and energy concerns is playing out on the eastern edge of Quebec. With the provincial Liberals set to lift a moratorium on oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a First Nations coalition wants to stop the project in its tracks.

They claim a comprehensive, 12-year assessment — one that would include Quebec and the four Maritime provinces in the gulf — is needed before any drilling can take place. For centuries, the Mi’gmaq, Maliset and Innu have relied on Atlantic salmon stocks to preserve their way of life. The salmon fisheries account for about $10 million in annual revenues for the Listiguj Mi’gmaq First Nation.

Read more

Twofer: Using Algae on Wastewater Aids Cleanup & Produces Biofuel

This is fantastic, and frankly, I’m surprised this kind of research wasn’t investigated further till now. Seems like they could be a perfect marriage, especially as society pushes for alternative energy sources and sustainable practices. 


In one of the first studies to examine the potential for using municipal wastewater as a feedstock for algae-based biofuels, Rice University scientists found they could easily grow high-value strains of oil-rich algae while simultaneously removing more than 90 percent of nitrates and more than 50 percent of phosphorus from wastewater…

Wastewater treatment facilities currently have no cost-effective means of removing large volumes of nitrates or phosphorus from treated water, so algae production with wastewater has the potential of solving two problems at once, said study co-author Evan Siemann, Rice’s Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of BioSciences…

Bhattacharjee said more research is needed to determine whether wastewater-based algaculture will be cost-effective and under what circumstances. For instance, the algae in the Rice study was four times more effective at removing phosphorus than were the algae in the Kansas study. She said that could be because the Houston test was performed in summer and fall, and the tanks were about 30 degrees warmer on average than the tanks in Kansas.

“Using wastewater would be one of the best solutions to make algaculture sustainable,” she said…

Visit RealCleverScience.tumblr for more awe-inspiring science stories, news, and musings
Republicans Slam Stimulus On Fifth Anniversary — But Most Took Credit For It Back Home

Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus stimulus package that invested in everything from infrastructure projects to electronic medical health care records and alternative energy sources. Every single Republican in the House and almost every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — voted against the measure and today the GOP continues to deride the law as wasteful an ineffective.

But as ThinkProgress reported throughout 2009over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington D.C. Below is a list of the top 13 stimulus hypocrites:

1. Paul Ryan requested stimulus funds for jobs in his district.

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The Wall Street Journal reported “Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a ‘wasteful spending spree’ that ‘misses the mark on all counts,’ wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, ‘intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs.’” Ryan also wrote letters to the Secretary of Energy requesting stimulus funds for a local energy company in 2009. Ryan repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

2. Eric Cantor held a job fair with organizations that received stimulus funds, supported using stimulus funds.

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As the Washington Post reported, “nearly half of the 30 organizations participating in a job fair Cantor is holding Monday in Culpeper were recipients of the stimulus.” That summer, Cantor also “came under fire after he talked about his support of using stimulus money to build a rail project from Washington to Richmond.” Cantor repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

3. Mitch McConnell bragged about stimulus projects, requested more money.

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McConnell and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) toured a construction site at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky. McConnell quickly took credit for the new construction, noting that he and Chandler had inserted an additional $5 million into the 2010 budget. McConnell bragged: “This is going to be a source of significant employment. At the peak, we could have up to 600 people working on this, and we believe the substantial majority of those workers will be Kentuckians.” However, McConnell conveniently forgot to mention that even more additional funds for facility construction were awarded through the stimulus. A Defense Department report states that $5,876,000 has been allocated from the Recovery Act to the Blue Grass facility for repairs. (Chandler voted for the stimulus.) McConnell repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

4. John Boehner admitted stimulus funds would create “much needed jobs.”

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Despite repeatedly voting against the American Recovery Act, Boehner thanked federal officials for stepping in and ordering the state “to use all of its construction dollars for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.”


9. Phil Gingrey handed out giant stimulus checks in Georgia.

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Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) appeared in the city of Cedartown, Georgia, to present a giant check of $625,000 in stimulus funds to the city commission to help fund the the city’s Streetscape project, which will install new sidewalks and infrastructure. Gingrey repeatedly voted against the stimulus.


11. Louie Gohmert signed a letter requesting stimulus funds for NASA.

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According to the Houston Chronicle, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) penned a letter arguing that stimulus funds for NASA would “secure good jobs and stabilize our economy.” Gohmert repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

12. John Cornyn wrote two letters asking for stimulus funds.

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The Wall Street Journal report: “The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of [stimulus] grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston.” Cornyn repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

13. Lindsey Graham claimed it would be “crazy” not to accept recovery dollars.

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During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was asked whether South Carolina should “take the [stimulus] money,” to which he replied, “I think that, yes, from my point of view, I — you don’t want to be crazy here. I mean, if there’s going to be money on the table that will help my state, but I’ve got a job to do up here, and that is to try to help people and not damn the next generation.” Graham repeatedly voted against the stimulus.


I was reading through the comments on the announcement that Marvel made about their new Thor production thing because I’m apparently masochistic and actively seek to cause myself pain at the stupidity of the world when I came across this gem. 

“If only we could harness pseudo-fanboy outrage as an alternative energy source, then we’d be free of big oil.”

You speak the truth, brother. You speak the truth. 

Why are conservatives so staunchly opposed to clean energy tho? Like okay let’s just pretend like the 3% or whatever of climate scientists are actually right and global warming is a hoax, sure.

Why is investing in renewable energy such a bad idea? Like in the long term it will pay for itself anyway. There is literally no reason not to use it other than to be stubbornly opposed to liberals. Just let people use and invest in alternative energy sources mate. Why are you so fuckin pigheaded that everything has to be either coal, oil, or nuclear for EVERYONE? Chill.

Tales of Xillia 2 ‘Jude and Leia’ footage and screenshots.

From Gematsu:

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Bandai Namco has released new footage and screenshots screenshots of Tales of Xillia 2 ahead of E3 next week, highlighting characters Jude and Leia.

Both Jude and Leia return from the original Tales of Xillia and befriend main characters Ludger and Elle as they make their way to the Land of Canaan.

Here’s what they’ve been up to:

Jude Mathis

Much has changed for Jude in the past year. In a world where the schism—which previously divided the worlds of Rieze Maxia and Elympios – has been dispelled at last, Jude toils endlessly in his research of spyrite: an alternative energy source which could replace spyrix and solve Elympios’ energy crisis without the expense of the spirits. If he could perfect it, spyrite could be the key to eliminating the tension between the two worlds and truly uniting their people once and for all—but there are those that would try to stop him.

Leia Rolando

Leia has always been energetic and inquisitive, and this nature of hers has led her to become a reporter for a local newspaper in Elympios, as she aims to promote cultural understanding between the two nations through the articles she writes. Her editor isn’t so easily impressed, however, and she works hard endlessly in pursuit of a story that’ll warm him up to her writing. For better or for worse though, she may get the scoop of a lifetime sooner than she thinks.

Tales of Xillia 2 is due out for PlayStation 3 on August 19 in North America and August 22 in Europe. Watch the footage below. View the screenshots at the gallery.



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How To Build a Wood-Gasifier (Power for when SHTF)

How To Build a Wood-Gasifier (Power for when SHTF)

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Image by tatebullrider/

Whether you want to be off the grid or simply prepared in the event of a sustained power outage, you are going to need an alternate source of energy at some point.  A generator would seem like the practical solution to the energy problem, but what if you don’t have access to fuel?

A wood/biomass gasifier can be the solution to this problem, and there is a great step-by-step tutorial on building your own gasifier.  If you re-purpose metal scraps and improvise, this can be a fun, low-cost build.  My generator is pretty minimal at 15 hp, but if you follow the guidelines in the tutorial you could build a gasifier to power a 160 hp engine. This instructional has plenty of tips for a successful build, as there aren’t a lot of different parts to a gasifier, just careful (and airtight!) assembly. Fun fact: this tutorial was put together by a 15 year old!

How To Build a Wood-Gasifier (Power for when SHTF)

How To Build a Wood-Gasifier (Power for when SHTF) was originally published on SHTF & Prepping Central