All Power Labs
All Power Labs is the global leader in small-scale biomass gasification. We make biomass gasifier generators that are ready for everyday work, to serve real world distributed energy needs. Our Power Pallet and Powertainer are a new category of energy device. They combine the best usability features of diesel generators, with the clean running of typical renewables, with the potential for a carbon negative impact. Our project started in 2008 with the open source Gasifier Experimenter’s Kit (GEK), supporting research, education and DIY hacking in biomass thermal conversion. Seven years later the GEK has evolved into the Power Pallet, a full solution for commercial power generation via biomass. Today you can find our systems at work in dozens of countries around the world, and supporting research in over 50 universities.
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This company also provides solutions for other industrial applications.
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ALL Power Labs designs, engineers, and manufactures biomass gasification energy platforms. We create physical tools and information resources for people to be able to make and use renewable energy.
We believe that a bottom up, participatory ecology in energy is just as possible as it has been in computing. And we expect the impact of such creative self-determination in energy will be no less transforming than has been in digital realms.
The ALL Power Labs team is an unusual combination of experienced, hands-on fabricators and university-trained scientists and engineers. Imagine a mash up of the Bay Area California art/tech underground with Phd techies from Stanford and MIT. The result is a powerful combination of technical ability and physical know how for building real things in the real world.
We are a group not enamored with designy concepts and dead-end demonstration projects. Rather, we focus on that which can be effectively built and deployed, immediately and in volume, with broad impact and relevance.
Eight years after our founding we’ve grown to 35 full time employees, and support full engineering, design for manufacturing, and production manufacturing capabilities. Our facility is located in Berkeley California. You are welcome to visit next time you are in town.
With APL products, you can generate on-demand power for 1/4 the operating cost of diesel, at 1/2 the capital cost of solar. And while saving money, you can shrink your carbon footprint and contribute positively to global efforts against climate change.
Getting Energy and Climate Right
The stakes in getting energy and climate right are daunting. The shear volume of carbon we’ve dug up from ancient reservoirs since industrialization and returned to contemporary circulation is difficult to get the mind around–we’ve collected some of the details here. So far we’ve mostly been able to ignore the consequences of this tomb robbing, as the temperature rise from CO2 accumulation lags by decades, if not centuries.
APL Carbon Negative Machinery: Today and Future
The process of gasification is an incomplete one, and the leftover “waste” our equipment produces from making energy is a stable form of carbon known as ‘biochar.” Sequestering this carbon is what makes biomass gasification net carbon negative energy production.
While today’s APL Power Pallets produce a relatively small amount of biochar byproduct (around 5% of input mass), it is still enough for carbon negativity in the fuel cycle. The round rule of thumb numbers are as follows:
- 1 tonne of dry biomass in produces about 1Mw/hr of electricity and 50kg of carbon byproduct.
- 50kg of raw carbon once recombined with O2 is the equivalent of 185kg of CO2 in the atmosphere. (mass C x 3.67 = mass CO2)
- 1 tonne of biomass input to the gasifier can soil-sequester the equivalent of 0.185 CO2 tonnes in the atmosphere.
- Avoided CO2 emissions from not burning fossil fuel in the process are added to the wins above.
Future APL machines will introduce features that enable increased biochar yield of up to 15-20% of input mass, while still co-generating electricity. For now we are just using the post hearth char. You can learn more about our carbon analysis here. You can also read fantastic coverage of the run up to COP21 in The Guardian. And for an extraordinary insider’s perspective, we’re really enjoying the blog Winning the Carbon War by Jeremy Leggett.
Since 2008 ALL Power Labs has been gathering enthusiasts from around the world to advance the science of gasification, and the engineering solutions to implement it meaningfully for today’s users.
Our motivating goal is to deploy at scale a new type of energy product– a personal scale waste-to-energy appliance. Imagine a “PC of energy”; a machine which intakes the waste biomass all around us, and converts it to multiple forms of power and products, right where they’re needed. Instead of hauling the biomass to a central utility for conversion, we’re bringing the machine to where the fuel already is, right where the users and needs already are.
This emerging “magic box” of multi-mode conversion, we call the Power Pallet. The Power Pallet uses the GEK gasifier as its core technical component, but extends its functionality and features far beyond the basic gasifier. Like an engine alone does not make a usable car, a raw gasifier is far from a usable power generation system. These many details of “productizing” and “user interface” around the core gasifier are how we’re moving this technology from DIY curiosity to transformative energy appliance.
The Power Pallet of today outputs AC electricity, and can be adapted to PTO shaft power. Soon we’ll expand this list with additional outputs like heating (CHP), cooling/refrigeration, biochar, water purification, alternative char/ash based building materials, and in the much further future, liquid fuels. We’re stepping through the possible “Power and Product” output types in order of importance, technical difficulty, and where we find projects ready-to-go.
After five years of effort, the foundation is already in place and working. The Power Pallet generates electricity cheaply and conveniently, hour after hour, on biomass byproducts you already have at your site. Over the coming months and years you’ll see APL realize the rest of the “magic box”– mixed “bad things” in, to multiple “good things” out.
Step by step, the GEK project is solving the longstanding problems of small-scale gasification. Step by step, we’re making the “Mr Fusion” that actually works . . .
Mr. Fusion – Welcome to the Future
We invite you to join us for the ongoing collaborative process of refining GEK and Power Pallet systems, and proving small-scale gasification to be a uniquely powerful solution for “Transforming waste into useful Power and Products”.