Biomass gasification has been receiving increasing attention as a potential renewable energy source for the last few decades. This attempt involved designing, developing and testing a small downdraft biomass gasifier JRB-1 (6-7 kW) at Durham University, UK. The gasifier was built of stainless steel metal & tested for wood chips and pellets. The main constituents of syngas produced include nitrogen (50-56%), carbon monoxide (19-22%), hydrogen (12-19%), carbon dioxide (10-12%) and a small amount of methane (1-2%). These results were used in EES software to obtain the lower calorific value of syngas (4424-5007 kJ/m3) and cold gas efficiency (62.5-69.4%) of the gasifier, which were found close to the calculated values. Again the thermal efficiency was calculated as 90.1-92.4%. Being comparatively easy to build, downdraft gasifiers like JRB-1 are likely to be the most appropriate technology for developing countries as a source of decentralized power supply and for development in agricultural sector.