View Full Version : Planet Mechanics -Tree Powered Car

09-11-2011, 08:08 AM
Did any one watch this ..

if you didn't, then down load it from somewhere

it's about two guys building a gasifier on a Toyota pick up

it's quite informative ..follows them as they build the thing ..

The results are hard to believe ..a working car that makes less emissions than what it was making running on petrol .

The construction materials don't look like they will stand the test of time ..but they did it ..and did it well ..if you can believe it.

all the best.markj

09-11-2011, 08:52 AM
I have not seen it, do you have the link? I will do a search for it maybe I can find it.

30 years ago I made my 1976 Toyota truck run on a coffee can of saw dust. I mounted the can to the carburetor with screen wire in the bottom. I filled it with saw dust and put a few pieces of charcoal on top to get the saw dust ignited. Then I turned the key and the engine started. The engine sucked on the saw dust like a person sucks on a tobacco pipe smoke is about 80% natural gas. I drive my vehicle down the street and around the city block it picked up speed a little slow and top speed was 25 mph. I had no way to adjust the correct amount of fuel to the amount of air the engine as sucking in. At 25 mph it was sucking too much air and not enough fuel to go any faster. That was my one and only experement.

Here is a really cool wood gasifier camp stove. http://www.woodgas.com/

Al Messer
09-11-2011, 09:08 AM
It is my understanding that these conversions were quite common in Australia during WWII.

Ian B
09-11-2011, 09:16 AM
This the one?



09-11-2011, 10:25 AM
A friend of mine was the consultant on the program and I provided some of the salvage (the bladder tank in particular).

I worked with Jem on Scrapheap challenge and I've visited Dick's place in Cornwall.

They're just the same off screen!

Lew Hartswick
09-11-2011, 01:23 PM
This the one?


Ian, Is that Cyrillic or Greek?

09-11-2011, 02:00 PM
Those wood gas conversions have been a long time interest of mine.
They were very common all over during the war years. During the years when street and home lighting was done with gas, it was some type of producer gas that was used, NOT natural gas.
It would be an ideal set up for someone who lived in a rural area, it can be made from nearly any combustible material, wood and coal were used primarily because of availability.

Biggest issue for most is that it takes some effort to operate, it's not simple turn the knob operation. Next biggest is storage

I have made a couple very small versions using paint cans that worked very well to run a small B&S lawn mower engine for short periods, and unless it has pressurized oiling, a two stroke is out.

09-11-2011, 02:05 PM
I keep wanting to convert my truck to burn paper.

then, Just plan my route depending on what area of the city has thier recycleing out today. :P

09-11-2011, 02:05 PM
Why not go back to steam? It worked 150 years ago.

09-11-2011, 03:00 PM
Why not go back to steam? It worked 150 years ago.

I doubt that they were ever very popular around here. Water makes a lousy working fluid at -40.

09-11-2011, 03:03 PM
I doubt that they were ever very popular around here. Water makes a lousy working fluid at -40.

Closed system with a refrigerant working fluid?

09-11-2011, 03:05 PM
That is possible but much more complex.

09-11-2011, 03:19 PM
That is possible but much more complex.

Propane would be a good working fluid. Can get more cheaply, found at verious gas stations, Not too horrable to leak a little. And if you run outta fuel, you can drain your boiler to run the boiler. :P

Not sure what kinda expansion you get..

09-11-2011, 03:31 PM
WARTIME WOODBURNERS: Gas Producer Vehicles in World War II--An Overview.
By John Fuller Ryan.

Examines the innovative ways some people in Europe dealt with the unavailability of gas throughout the war years. One of the most successful innovations was the so-called "gas producer" vehicles that utilized the byproducts of solid fuel combustion, using such solids as coal, charcoal, turf and wood to produce fuel gas for a standard internal combustion engine. An overview of these vehicles is provided here. Well illustrated. 112 pages. Size 11 x 8 inches. Published by Schiffer.
Hardbound Current ISBN 0764332406
Item #7391722 at $21.95 on sale

Lindsay books has on occasion books dealing with thew gasifaction of wood products and charcoal. They currently have one by Richard H Buxton
Convert wood into charcoal and electricity.

lowtechmagazine (http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/01/wood-gas-cars.html)
wood gas cars.

Lots more @ wood gasifacation on google.

09-11-2011, 03:51 PM
I doubt that they were ever very popular around here. Water makes a lousy working fluid at -40.
Actually, with modern insulation, and electronics to monitor temps, it'd be possible to run a steam car in your neck of the woods just fine. You'd have to keep the pilot light burning (or install something similar to a block heater in a conventional car).

Producer gas, from what I've been able to find out, is one of those "better than nothing" solutions. Its difficult to keep everything tuned just right, the engine can easily get clogged with gunk from the gas, and often the amount of available horsepower is a fraction of what one can get from running the engine of a more conventional fuel.

Producer gas powered truck that uses coffee grounds as its fuel source. (http://gas2.org/2008/05/14/a-truck-that-runs-on-coffee-grounds-and-how-wood-gas-powers-cars-with-garbage/)

Brit coal gas powered bus from the early 1940s. (http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2007/10/13/gas-bag-on-roof-holds-bus-fuel/)

Wiki article on wood gas engines. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator)

Wood gas powered Yugo! (Somewhat unsurprisingly it performs better on wood gas.) (http://freeweb.deltha.hu/zastava.in.hu/wood-gas.htm)

Pics of a Citroen converted to run on coal gas during WWII.













Article on a Caddy test vehicle which burned coal in a turbine to run it. (http://green.autoblog.com/2009/01/06/its-not-clean-and-certainly-not-green-its-a-coal-powered-cad/) Me and a powerplant engineer I know ran some numbers comparing a coal powered car like that Caddy verses a typical gas powered one, and it looked like that the coal fired one came out slightly ahead of the gasser.

Weston Bye
09-11-2011, 03:52 PM
Producer gas for the long term appears to take some effort. The perferred engine was the biggest one you could lay hands on. Think a big ol' V8. Start with a big engine so that you got something from the reduced power the smoke delivered. The engine had a short service life running on smoke. Even with filters (extra work, changing and cleaning), the engines carboned up pretty quick. Frequent overhaul and cleaning was necessary.

An option though, in extreme situations. I hope we never have to resort to such again.