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Woodgas Questions for Ben Peterson

Posts: 6429
Location: United States
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What are the cheapest, safest, and most reliable materials that you have used to build a woodgas system for:
a) a car
b) a home
c) a workshop
d) anything else you can think of

How would you explain a woodgas system to a seven-year old?

How would you explain a woodgas system to a ninety year old?

How would you explain a woodgas system to your neighbors?

How would you advocate for woodgas systems in:
a) a rural neighborhood
b) a suburban neighborhood
c) an urban neighborhood

Have you ever gotten pulled over by law enforcement because they were curious what the stuff (woodgas system) on your car was? How would you explain it to them?

Are woodgas systems legal on cars and other vehicles? Are there restrictions on them?

What are the best ways to not build a woodgas system? What are some mistakes that people usually make when starting out? What are your tips on avoiding these mistakes? What are some early indicators that a woodgas system will not work and needs to be adjusted?
Posts: 49
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Thanks for your questions Dave.

Rapid fire, here goes:

A) For a car a stainless oil drum. Its strong and light.
B/C) Propane tanks, preferably new ones for the reactor and cleaner. 60 gallon air compressor tanks are also good thick scrap you can use for stationary applications.

7 year old- Take this ice cube. Feel it, it's solid. Now lets heat it up in a pan. It just went from a solid to a liquid. Now heat it some more and it turned from a liquid into a gas (steam). When we make wood gas, we do almost exactly the same thing, except wood gas burns like natural gas and steam doesn't.

90 year old- We rapidly heat a small amount charcoal from wood like a blacksmiths bellows and the oils and water vapor that are sucked through it are shredded down to their most basic molecules of hydrogen and carbon. It's molecular soup that can feed your engine flammable gas. Tasty!

When I talk to neighbors I tell them that I take the stored sunlight in wood and distill it into biogas motor fuel using heat instead of microbes.

A) Woodgas systems make the most sense out in the rural areas because that's where the tree waste is. Mount a machine next to a greenhouse or garage and hang a roof over it to keep the rain off. Keep it ventilated. If you mount it next to a house, then keep it away from windows because it can let off some smoke if you open it while it's hot.

B) Suburban neighborhoods don't generally like electric generators running and they have small garages. It could be made to work, but probably not ideal. Makes sense if you are a prepper, or have cool neighbors and available wood waste.

C) Gasifiers work best in an urban neighborhood at the local recycling center where there are branches that need to be disposed of.

I have not gotten pulled over by law enforcement, but I am not a big vehicle gasser. Driveonwood.com has the latest info on that. I have feared scrappers eying my machine in the back of my truck though!

Woodgas on cars is really a grey area. I don'tr think it's illegal, but it comes down to emissions inspections and not being able to modify modern cars. Plus insurance is an issue. You can make the system removable or put it on a trailer.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit
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