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Company History

In 2007 the premises of ALL Power Labs was called The Shipyard and was an important art collective in the center of Berkeley, run by the founder of ALL Power Labs, Jim Mason. Here much of the most important pyrotechnic art for Burning Man was produced in the early years.

Clock Tower Project at the Shipyard

Entirely built out of shipping containers, it had been at odds with the City of Berkeley, to the degree that the City had refused to supply The Shipyard with electricity.

Jim Mason and Bear Kaufmann (currently CSO of ALL Power Labs) calmly retaliated by creating a microgrid on site and studying biomass gasification as a means for powering the facility without having to use fossil fuels.

When things came to a head and the city threatened to fine The Shipyard $2500 a day unless they immediately vacated, there was such a public outcry that the City of Berkeley chose to start ignoring the whole issue and the premises were secured for more creative undertakings.

In the early days Jim, Bear and a small team of enthusiasts carried out a great deal of experimentation and free sharing of information “Maker Faire” style. Prototypes were created and tested.

Next the GEK TOTTI was created (TOTTI stands for Tower of Total Thermal Integration). This was quickly picked up and studied internationally for its promising technological innovations.

By 2012 it became clear to Jim, Bear and a handful of others that biomass gasification could have important ramifications for people and planet. Jim personally funded the next steps; they onboarded Alejandro Abalos, ex operations manager who had led expansions at SunPower and Powerlight, gave shares to everyone who had contributed intellectually to the project, hired “proper” staff and looked at solving rural electrification in developing countries.

Shortly after the 10kW Power Pallet was launched, an absolute paradigm shift in the sector, which set off the first of the 11 patent applications

An Arduino based controller was added and the concept was to keep sharing information and make the machine buildable by anyone, anywhere where there was a hardware store available.

By 2014 the equipment had evolved to a 20kWe machine and it became apparent that ALL Power Labs had to create a fully industrialized, “plug and play” product if it wanted to really impact rural electrification. Important projects ensued in developing countries like Liberia or remote areas like the Island of Palawan in the Philippines.

By 2016 ALL Power Labs has sold hundreds of machine worldwide and collaborated with Universities around the world.

world map showing installed APL tech

Since inception ALL Power Labs had had a strong focus on carbon drawdown but there still wasn’t enough general understanding of the proposition to make it viable at a commercial level. Despite this in 2018 ALL Power Labs started the Local Carbon Network as a self funded CSR project to donate biochar to community gardens and organic farms.

As the world slowly awakened to the concept of Biochar production and use for carbon drawdown and soil restoration ALL Power Labs rose to the challenge and produced the Charpallet, a best in class gasification system which yields a 20% ultra high quality biochar that can compare its characteristics to activated carbon. It does this with a combined engine grade gas output that can be used for heat or power generation.

Charpallet with crew

In the past 15 years ALL Power Labs has gone from “Maker Faire” knowledge sharing, to solid products manufacturing and global technological leadership in the field of small scale gasification.

Ahead now lies the carbon drawdown challenge and the writing of the next chapter of the story

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