View Full Version : movie "The Black Book"

02-04-2008, 08:51 PM
We just watched the Dutch movie "The Black Book" by Paul Verhoven. It was a pretty good war/espionage type movie. My question is, they portrayed the rural Dutch as driving gasoline vehicles converted to burn fumes from some type of smoldering combustion chamber mounted on the back. This was way before my time naturally , but I sort of remember hearing of such conversions before. Has anyone else seen this movie, or know what I am talking about? I would like to know the name of this conversion, just for interest, not planning on converting my cars! Thanks, John

02-04-2008, 09:06 PM
It could be wood gas or coal gas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator, but I haven't seen this film.

02-04-2008, 09:15 PM
Yup,wood gas,several versions of the same flavor.There are still people fiddling with it and people actually using it daily.The magazine Farmshow has regular articles on people who are doing it.Last issue had a guy with a Ford 1/2 ton pickup he converted.It starts up and idles on gas via the regular setup and uses the wood gas as a suplimental fuel to run around the farm and back roads.On the interstate he adds about 5% of the gas throttle to maintain higher speeds.He claims 9,000 miles per cord of wood.

It's nothing new,won't save the enviroment,but does offer a good use for a common bi-product such as wood chips,old pallets,straw you name it.


Sign up for a free issue,somethings in there aren't to practical,some make good use of junk lying around and some are pure gold.

02-04-2008, 09:18 PM
Weird, a fellow Farmshow subscriber , cool .
I have been one since '99.

02-04-2008, 09:25 PM
I used to had to chop the wood for those burners in the place I worked.
1947 - 1950
In Germany we called those things Holz Vergaser. You filled it up wit 3" cubes
of Hard Wood. They took about 2 large burlap bags of wood, pine wood did not work.. We used mostly Beech or Oak. Also less mileage and power as regular gas. Also there was a conversion where as they used regular Kerosen to run a four cycle engine. You had to modify the carburetor. But this did not last that long. Next came bottle gas. Don' know if it was propane. In the 50s back to gasoline.
One bag of wood got you about 50Km, if you are lucky.

02-04-2008, 09:31 PM
Yep! It's also sometimes called 'producer gas'. Which sounds like an off-color joke waiting to happen! :D


Weston Bye
02-04-2008, 09:44 PM
Hey - I just watched that movie day before yesterday myself. I recognized the producer gas rig immediately. Mother Earth News had a how-to article years ago. I still have the issue, along with all the first hundred. Large displacement engines were perferred, as the horespower was greatly reduced.
Eating the smoke was hard on the engines, and frequent rebuilds were necessary. Expedient during war, it doesn't seem like a good long rterm solution.

02-05-2008, 01:22 AM
When I spent a summer working in the Ag Engineering department at UC Davis nearly 30 years ago (!), they were doing lots of experiments w/ biomass gasification. It worked pretty well if you cleaned ("scrubbed") the gases and fed 'em to a diesel engine w/ just a small amount of liquid fuel to set things off. The first load generator was a large watering trough w/ pallets and a grid; one could increase the load by adding salt to the water. Reducing the load was harder; it was easy to stall if you added too much salt.

Alistair Hosie
02-05-2008, 08:41 AM
I know that here in the uk we used mainly coal gas filled into a large home made bag fitted to the roof rack:D sounds stupid but it worked ok for the desperate.Alistair

02-06-2008, 12:43 AM
There was a lot of research on automotive gas producers in Australia during
Plough Books sell a booklet produced in 1940

Gas Producer How to build charcoal gas producer c. 1940 (photocopy)
This is a photocopy reprint of a small booklet describing the construction
of a basic Gas Producer. It includes plans and blue prints, and is
subtitled: For Cars, Trucks, Stationary Engines, Tractors, etc. Also for the
handy man who wishes to build one from crude oil drums and waste material.
Invaluable for Garage Mechanics and Engineers.
Sections include:
The Working Principles of the Producer
To Operate the Producer
Building the Producer
Building Dust Traps or Cleaners
Cooling System
How to Start on Producer Gas from Cold
Starting on Petrol and then Running on Producer Gas
To Stop Engine
Alteration of Engine
Building the Tuyere
High Compression Pistons
Making the Oil Cleaner
Making Mixing Valve
Building Producer for Stationary Engines Only
Building Producer
Making the Grate
How to Make Charcoal
Code No. 007436, 16 pages, $10.51


02-06-2008, 04:16 AM

A bit more information here:



02-06-2008, 06:03 AM
Another interesting page on that very topic. (Gas producers, not movies.)