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Citizen
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Hi Folks,

Is it reasonable to think you could use a wood gas system to run a car?

Is this just too impractical?

What other alternatives do you suggest for making your own fuel that would work in an average car?

Thanks for any insights!

Bill
 

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Retired Army
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320 Posts
There was a program during WWII promoting the use of woodgas vehicles in the USA. At an auction I purchased an original set of plans that the program office would send out on request for free. They apparently worked. There was more use overseas during and after WWII in Europe of similar devices.

Since I am not mechanically inclined, I filed them away in my apocalyptic library. Thanks for reminding me.

I'll pull them out and get my webmaster to post them for me.
 

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www.veggear.blogspot.com
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MEN has the old plans somewhere on their site. There are newer plans with some upgrades floating around and plenty of youtube videos about them. If you have access to an unlimited supply of woodchips, go for it. Most guys build it into a small pick up because you need the room in the bed. I've seen old photo's of them hanging off the bumpers on cars, but I don't think you'll get away with that in most places today.
You'll need a lot of wood because it has much less btu's per unit compared to fuel.
 

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Reverend Coot
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FEMA has a pamphlet out fer buildin a wood gas generator, I don't have a link handy, but google it an ya should find it perty quick.

It can be done an I plan on makin a conversion on one a my generators so it will run on wood gas. They will also work on dried manure as well!:eek: Apocolypes Penn show built one that ran on horse droppins, weren't real popular in town!
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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4,288 Posts
Wood gas can be used for a motor fuel, but it would need to be a last resort fuel, it is lower in power out put by a longways , it has to be cooled and cleaned before it goes into the engine, it would prolly be good for a stationary application especially if the "waste" heat could be recaptured for something like warming a green house, it should be an ideal fuel for a post oil saw mill, cause tha fuel would be a waste product anyway. Gasoline and diesel will always (in a semi functional society) be just a little cheaper than the work involved to make "alternatives" worth it for for most people.
 

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www.veggear.blogspot.com
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Gasifiers are better for vehicles than for stationary motors because they have a shaker tray for the ash (unless they've changed in recent years). You might get enough vibration to shake down the ash if you connect a solid rod from the motor of the genset to the skin of your gasifier. If not you to build something to shake the tray every now and then. Think about a timer and an electric motor with an off balanced wheel or a saws-all bolted to the skin, anything to cause vibration.
Plenty of guys are using them. Some are capturing the gas in a bladder like an old waterbed and using it later to cook. A small weight on top of the bladder makes enough pressure to move the gas to a turkey fryer or grill. Other guys don't like the idea of having 100 cubic feet of explosive gas sitting in the backyard.
Alternatives make sense for many people as long as you have a good source of fuel. I looked real hard at gasifiers, but I went with wvo because I can get plenty of it around here. A gasifier is great if you have access to wood chips or sawdust. Maybe a friend or family member has a tree company, a construction company clearing ground or a lumber yard.
There are a few guys converting the old listers and listeroids to run on woodgas. They're adding a spark plug and ignition system to them with pretty god results. Woodgas burns very clean like LP. Your motors should last longer.
A chp system is great, but not really needed especially when your fuel is nearly free. I've been collecting the parts for a small wvo powered welder/generator while I wait for my back to get well enough to build it. I might run the exhaust through an old ng fired water heater to scavenge some waste heat for the garage, but it's just gravy. I'll be happy to have free (almost) back up power. If you invest a lot of money you pretty much need to build a chp system to help break even. Guys have hung large car/truck radiators w/ electric fans inside their buildings and ran the exhaust through it to make use of the heat. Just remember if you collect too much heat and cool the exhaust too much, you'll start to get a lot of condensation in the smoke pipe. If your exhaust is above 300f you'll be good.
 

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www.veggear.blogspot.com
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This guy wants to sell you his kit, but it does give you a good idea how it works.
Most guys build them from things like 55g drums or old LP or water tanks

 

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Apocolypes Penn show built one that ran on horse droppins, weren't real popular in town!
I saw that on Apocalypse Penn, That old truck was way under powered but it got them there and back. I watched two shows and then it wasn't on any more, sucks:mad:
 

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Hi Folks,

Is it reasonable to think you could use a wood gas system to run a car?

Is this just too impractical?

What other alternatives do you suggest for making your own fuel that would work in an average car?

Thanks for any insights!

Bill
i just watched the colony the guys used wood smole as fuel to run the generator. also saw last yr a tractor running off wood smoke. I;m not technical to figure it out. hope some one has some tips on it.
 

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www.veggear.blogspot.com
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Jbill, You pipe the gas to get sucked right into the air intake. The gas is flammable, so it explodes when the spark plug fires. The more gas you feed it, the faster the motor turns. Just like running a motor or LP. I have run my log splitter and lawn mower on LP by just piping the gas into the carb. It's a near free LP conversion and works great for any motor with a fixed rpm. It gets more expensive if you need to throttle up and down like you would for a vehicle.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Jack of all trades?
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Picture this...

I've seen old photo's of them hanging off the bumpers on cars, but I don't think you'll get away with that in most places today.
You'll need a lot of wood because it has much less btu's per unit compared to fuel.
I would love to see the reaction of the clerk at the DMV when you go to register a wood burning car,:confused:... and the reaction of the guy who does the emissions inspection! :gaah::dunno::D
 

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I invented the internet. :rofl:
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