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Fuels and Alternative Fuels Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Fuels and Alternative Fuels

Running an engine on wood


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  #1  
Old 01-09-2008, 12:00:04 AM
Kelley Hulsey Kelley Hulsey is offline
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Default Running an engine on wood

I know that during WWII there were conversion units that somehow used wood to produce a burnable vapor that would run a conventional engine. I've seen pictures, but really have no idea how it actually worked, only guessing that it is a gassification process of some sort. Can anyone tell me how it works or where to find out about it? I think it would be fascinating to run one of my old engines that way.
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2008, 12:10:16 AM
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John in Maryland John in Maryland is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Google wood gasifier, you'll find all kinds of links.

J.I.M.
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2008, 12:10:47 AM
bruce burgess bruce burgess is offline
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Default Re: running an engine on wood

hi

i have heard of this method i belive its called PRODUCER GAS

try a internet search.

bruce
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2008, 12:17:19 AM
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Reference material:

http://www.old-engine.com/gasbook.htm
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  #5  
Old 01-09-2008, 12:42:20 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Running an engine on wood

Producer gas was made from the gassification of coal. You heat coal in a sealed container. It made 3 products - producer (sometimes called CITY GAS), coal tar, and coke - the type you burn, not snort! General production stopped in the US of A, when large deposits of ground trapped natural gas were found, and tapped, in the mid to late '20s. The same process could be used for wood. Not as effecient, made a lot of soot and smoke,along with the gas, and left you with charcoal. If you watch the movie Thunderdome, you see yet another process, using fermented waste and heat. The cars used in the movie were actually used during WWII, in Australia, when gasoline was scarce. A few cars were still actually still being used! Others were found and restored for the movie, and a few were faked repros. Wish I had one of those cars
Andrew
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:32:44 AM
Inter Bloke Inter Bloke is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

The gas producers out here in Australia during the war mostly ran on charcoal, some could run on wood ,but if you used wood the unit had to have a "scrubber" fitted. I havn't looked at the links the other blokes have posted but in a nutshell they work by partialy burning charcoal in a sealed container that the amount of air entering can be controlled. The small amount of air burns some of the charcoal and the resulting heat gasifies the unburnt charcoal making a gas that can be drawn out of the container into the engine. As it leaves the container it is heated in, it passes thgrough a series of pipes that form a cooler. It is very hot being heated to gasifie the charcoal, so once it is cooled a little, it is passed through a filter, during WW2 usualy a calicoe bag in a chamber that would catch all the cinders and other rubbish held in suspension in the air. Sometimes these also had felt or coconut fibre in them to filter the air a little. Those that were better built, or intended to run on fuels other than charcoal also had a "scrubber" so that they could take out the gum and tar that is in unprocessed wood, basicaly a water bath air filter similar to the old air cleaner on early tractors (like F Fordsons) where the gas is drawn down under the water and the particals are trapped in the water. If you ran a car on wood that didn't have a scrubber it would sieze the engine in a very short time because of all the gum that was in the fuel. I know of one instance when one of the locals who had to travel to Perth (our capital) in his 36 chev 6 didn't have any charcoal so he put "barley" it the producer and ran it on that, it only made about 70 miles bufore the engine got glued up and siezed. He was able to repair it but it meant dismantleing the whole engine.
After the gas had gone through all these sections of the gas producer it is mixed with fresh air and burn't in the engine in the normal way.
Most gas producers back then were started on petrol and then switched over onto gas when they were hot. It would take about 10 minutes of winding on the handle of a small forge blower atached to the side of the unit to get the fire hot enough to create enough gas that the engine would run. When they were running on gas they were absolutly guttless, but they would let you get around, when there was no fuel available at all.
I never operated one but my grandfather had one fitted to a chev 4 truck that he used all through the war and what I have said is just my recolections of what he told me and what I have learn't off other old blokes in the district that used them. I have an old Dodge 4 with part of a gas producer on it and have thought it would be a good project to try sometime, but it will be a fair way down the line.
I have a small pamphlet put out by the Vacume oil company in 1942 with a bit of information in it about gas producers, if you would like I can scan it sometime and send it too you.

Graham in OZ
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:41:25 AM
KidDynamo KidDynamo is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Back in about 1999, I saw and talked to a guy driving a Toyota pickup truck that ran on CO produced from woodchips. He built his gas producer from plans he found on the internet site of a federal government agency that was unknown to most people: F.E.M.A. !!

I went to the website and found the plans but haven't been back to that site since. FEMA was generally thought to be a well managed, non-partisan agency but that all changed after the next presidential election when the professional managers were canned and replaced by unprofessional cronies.

His rig worked really well but the gas producer took up about half the space of his pickup's bed.....maybe a little less. He had driven it about 50 miles to the city park where I saw him and was full ready to drive back, too. Besides the producer, some ducting and a few cable controls was about all there was to it.

It was nothing expensive or fancy and while he was certainly a clever fellow, no extreme skills were employed building the thing. I found it very interesting for a niche technology but maybe not for the average commuter.

Last edited by KidDynamo; 01-09-2008 at 08:48:24 AM. Reason: add detail
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:03:10 AM
Patrick McNallen Patrick McNallen is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

There is a long article by an Australian about running a vehicle on wood in the real world at www.utterpower.com. It gives a good picture of what you are up against when operating a wood/coal/etc. gasifier in a road vehicle.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:54:39 AM
Inter Bloke Inter Bloke is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Your dead right Kid,
There is nothing complicated in the old ones they used here during WW2.
A lot of those units were built in local garages by amateurs even in the 40s. The profesionaly made ones probibaly worked better but its only welded pipe and a bit of sheet steel bent into shape, nothing real complicated.




Graham in OZ
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Old 01-09-2008, 11:02:00 AM
Sky Pilot Sky Pilot is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

A buddy of mine fought in Europe during the Second Disagreement and he told about French buses they called "Charcoal Burners" -- much as have been described above -- he referred to them as "Gutless Wonders" and I think he meant the buses, not the French.
He told about the passengers having to get out of the bus on the up grades and how they had to push just to get it to the top of the hills.
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  #11  
Old 01-09-2008, 12:18:59 PM
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Exclamation Re: Running an engine on wood

lled POOP GAS , has links to A LOT of this stuff do a search np POOP GAS
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:08:25 PM
clintonv clintonv is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Running an engine on wood

You can probably find a lot by searching, but at one time back in the 80's Mother Earth News was selling plans for this, you might try looking there. I have the article where they made a truck that ran on wood, I think it would be a very good idea if you could build it, or even have it done.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:03:31 PM
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ListerDiesel ListerDiesel is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Lots of older engine books (1910-1930) have information on Producer Plants, and there was a trailer-mounted unit, with engine as well, at the Nuenen show back in May:

http://www.oldengine.org/members/die...8/Nuenen18.htm
or:
http://www.stationary-engine.co.uk/N...8/Nuenen18.htm

There are a couple more pictures of that unit elsewhere in the series of pictures.

If you can find a copy, "Modern Mechanical Engineering", Gibson & Chorlton, Gresham Press, 1923, has an excellent article by G A Burls on Producer Plant, describing many types of plant and giving a lot of detail.

There is also a picture of a National 5hp @ 400rpm gas engine on a trolley, complete with producer plant as well (now added below) which ran on wood waste products.

If I get an hour or three one day, I'll scan that article and put it up on the websites.

Peter
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2008, 11:50:22 PM
Richard W. Richard W. is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

I think this is what you want to read.

http://www.gengas.nu/byggbes/index.shtml

Richard W.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:22:18 AM
Tom Crenshaw Tom Crenshaw is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Fema published a paper with plans drawings etc..I found it on the internet and down loaded a set for free,,I have an old farmall H that i am going to run off wood..Theres a guy Here in Alabama that has converted an old dodge pick up to run on producer gas.I have ridden in it and it works well
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:59:35 AM
Farquharman Farquharman is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Lindsay publishing sometimes has books on this subject, http://www.lindsaybks.com/ and Farm Show magazine also has articles from time to time about people who have done it.
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:57:21 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Farm Show magazine had an article in it a few years ago about a tractor in Siberia or someplace like that, that ran on "wood gas". Since then there have been another 8-10 articles on several people in the USA converting their pickup trucks to run on wood gas with a firebox in the bed and probably 30-50+ feet of tubing running back and forth around the truck bed as a cooling radiator before plumbing it into the engine. One of the owners was quoted as saying how many 'miles per cord' he got instead of miles per gallon, but it's been long enough ago I don't remember what his milage was.

If you want to see first hand how this works just open the lid on your barbeque grille after it's been shut a while and the cinders are just glowing a little. That sudden flare-up is from the gas buildup mixing with incoming air.

I read somewhere years ago, that wood doesn't actually burn(?), it just gives off gas that burns.... watch your fireplace or fire pit in the back yard sometime and look for the little jets of flame coming out once in a while when 'pressurized gas' comes shooting out burning like a little blow torch.

If I understand it right, these wood burning vehicles are lighting the wood and then when it gets hot enough the cut off the air supply so the gas doesn't burn at the source (wood) but is still smoldering hot enough to keep giving off gas that they then plumb into the intake manifold. You can't just light it and go, you need a good bed of hot embers.
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:50:35 AM
rainycoastguy rainycoastguy is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

In the 1960's and 70's a fellow in Fort Providence, North West Territories (where the ferry and the ice road used to cross the McKenzie River) ran his motel and greenhouse using a 12 cylinder tank engine running on wood gas. The engine ran a generator which supplied the electricity and the waste heat warmed the rooms and the greenhouse - which in turn supplied the restaurant! No idea what ever happened to the set-up.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:45:32 PM
G Willikers G Willikers is offline
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Default Re: Running an engine on wood

Try this one on for size - Post #20:
http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showth...335#post435335
And you could own it as it is coming for auction on Aug 29!
G.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:59:13 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Running an engine on wood

That would be a similar setup as the one I mentioned earlier in the thread that was written up in the Farm Show Magazine. I'm pretty sure it was from Russia, Siberia, or somewhere over there around the World War II timeframe.

Thanks for the link to the auction. Too far away for me, but it would be interesting to see what the stuff goes for.
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