The ‘Fusion Jr,’ is not a home nuclear reactor but it is still a clever invention working through a chemical process. By reading the literature on the Fusion Jr. you can also learn a good deal about wood burning stoves.
A gasifier is a device that burns unwanted materials such as trash and wood and turns them into something called syngas, which can be removed from the device and stored for use later. The gasifier works by burning these materials in an oxygen restricted environment, this causes an incomplete burning of the organic materials put in the device. Gasses produced include, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and hydrogen. Syngas can be used to power machinery and has proved particularly useful when petrol is in short supply.
Trevor Nestor built one of these devices with some old camping pans and a few steel cans. His gasifier does not try to store anything, it just burns it. Attached to the stove is a Peltier junction which can turn the combusted energy in the stove into electricity. Unfortunately, the Peltier junction is very inefficient, but using it does prove that his idea works. In fact, even with the inefficient junction his gasifier can produce cheaper energy than a solar cell.
The instructions he has assembled on how to construct the device are poor. Basic information on its construction are missing, such as how to wire the Peltier junction. He also leaves out important information on how much electricity the device actually produces. A claim is made that 2kW can be produced but this is unsubstantiated.
Despite the poor instruction the product is interesting and worth investigating further on the internet. There is a lot of information about gasifiers, both DIY and commercial types. The systems you can read about generally generate the gas and feed it to a normal gas generator. Another way is how the Fusion Jr. does it, by burning the syngas straight away. Instead of using a Peltier junction, a steam turbine would be more efficient. Another option would be using a scroll compressor run by a refrigerant.