1976 MGB Charcoal Powered NO DINO new build

Steve,

I’m afraid I won’t be much help. I only have about 100 total mile on this system, made up of short runs of 20 miles or less. Life was way too busy this past year for much driving on charcoal. I do have a pretty good supply of fuel stored for 2019, so I’m hoping for a little more road time.

Yes, I’m uncomfortable with very high exit temps and i also had a PVC elbow melt inside of my ammo can cooler when I let the temperature get up over 400.

I have a 2 inch layer of refractory insulation block in the bottom of my reactor and my nozzle openings are about 2 inches above that block.

I have thought about adding a hopper for more distance, but my current setup will do my daily round trip to work which is around 20 miles.

I’m very interested in learning from your experience. Where do you live and how can I see pictures of your setup?

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Bruce,

I am the one with the charcoal-powered Toyota Corolla. I haven’t driven a whole lot at this point either—probably 160 miles so far. The effort required for charcoal production will keep my trips short and few, I expect. I have several typical routine local trips I’d like to prove to myself I can accomplish with reliable success and then drives will probably be reduced to giving rides to interested people. We’ll see. Your setup is quite complex compared to mine. I’m determined to keep mine as simple as is functional, largely due to my low skill level as much as anything. I have tried drilling the nozzle holes a bit larger in an effort to lower the reaction zone and increase the run time. Not sure that has made any difference. I have replaced the two 5 gallon plastic buckets with one 7 gallon steel bucket with lever lock lid and am trying to determine how to get the maximum filtration I need within that 7 gallon container–any suggestions. I have no problem cleaning the filter after each 20 miles or so.

My last ride was to McDonalds for breakfast with other retirees from my church last week. I was quite pleased with the performance, but only a 6+ mile round trip. It was my first lengthy stopover (a bit over an hour) and restart for a return trip. Used the blower, but didn’t have to relight. Might have been able to start on gasoline and switch over for more convenience. I may try that on the next trip.

Thanks for sharing the latest with me.

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OK, I went back and looked at your vehicle. Yes, I forgot how similar we are. I use a spa filter covered with oiled unifoam for my filter. Maybe several inches of charcoal granules in your 7 gallon filter bucket would work? For granule size, use pieces captured between 1/8" screen and window screen. Use window screen and/or a disc of wool blanket to support granules up and away from your exit pipe. If gas enters from top you can skim or rake the top of the charcoal when it begins to clog. This works well on a small engine, with very little restriction. I don’t know how well it might work for 20 miles on a car. A 25 micron filter sock might work. Maybe surround the filter sock with charcoal or perlite. Wash out sock with oxy-clean. Let me know what you come up with. I hope to take my MG to some car shows this year. Lets keep sharing ideas.

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Bruce,

Thanks for your ideas. I’ll keep them in mind as I do further experiments. While on the subject of filters, what would you say is the easiest way to test the resistance of a filter to gas flow and what is a good performance indicator that there is not too much resistance? I believe you have vacuum guages before and after your filter. You have probably indicated it somewhere in your project description, but what readings do you look for?

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I am currently working on the same problem. I test filters with a shopvac. It pulls stronger thain the engine so it gives good indication if the filter is breathable. The sacks l use must not contract or inflate during the test and there must not be any pressure felt connecting the hose to the sack. But it doesent give numbers and it cant be used while driving.

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Here is the recommendation from a document about filters for the GEK gasifier:

char sieved through 1/4" and then 1/8" wire mesh (3 mm) appears to be a reasonable recommendation for the filter. It will reach a pressure drop of 6.2inH2O at 100 m3/hr. Finer material may be reasonable if flow rates are in a lower range, say 10-30 m3/hr.

Somewhere I got the idea that 4 inches of pressure drop across the filter (difference between filter inlet and outlet) is a good place to shoot for.

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Bruce,

Thanks for the information. What readings do you get on your vacuum guages during normal driving? Am I assuming correctly that these vacuum measurements referred to are all inches of water?

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Steve,
I can’t remember the vacuum readings. I think in the 3-5 inch range? They read close to the same because the filter is pretty big and still clean. Yes all of my vacuum numbers are inches of water column. This conversation is making me dream about summer. Today we are supposed to have freezing rain all day on top of our 6 inches of overnight snow.

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Bruce,

Thanks for the response. Yes, I know what you mean. I was going to drive to Lowes yesterday on charcoal, and even though I have always made it back home, I didn’t want to chance having to walk home in the cold. Also, it is not fun working in a cold shop. Summer’s coming . . . .

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When???
Twenty characters

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Winter just arrived yesterday Tom. 22 F this morning.

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So sorry about the long title to this category. Over three years now so not a “new build”.

Today was my first public showing of the MGB. A friend from church teaches auto mechanics at the local community college and invited me to bring the MG to his Performance and Diagnosis class. These graduating technicians had just finished a segment on alternative fuels and were duly impressed with this carbon neutral alternative.

I had a jar of charcoal and a jar of water sitting on the reactor lid when they gathered around. I explained that this car runs on these two simple substances. Then I popped a piece of charcoal in my mouth, chewed it up and washed it down with water. Their professor said, “Try that with gasoline!”

The forgotten technology part got their attention. However, they were most confused about how a pastor could build something like this in his spare time.

Here is a picture of the big mouth and the students still trying to wake up.

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I added a 12 volt hot water zone control valve to my EGR circuit so that I can turn off the EGR from the driver’s seat when I am running maximum water mist at WOT. I can’t wrap my mind around how much the optimum amount of reaction water will cool the reaction without flooding my coolers and filter. If I find that I still want some EGR with maximum water, I may need a by pass or some other way to adjust EGR while driving.

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I showed the MGB to my neighbor’s father and brother. The father has been a professional truck driver for 40 years and the brother teaches auto mechanics at a college. Neither had ever heard of running engines on gasified biomass. The professor took pictures. I told him to tell his students that I use the charcoal fines from my charcoal making as biochar in my garden. This practice sequesters atmospheric carbon and makes our wood gassers and charcoal gassers not just green and carbon neutral, but carbon negative.

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