Cellulose Gas

[ Dr Tom Reed sent me this, I’m reposting it here on his behalf. – Chris]


Dear Keith and All: Running cars on WoodGas is a done deal. However, there
is another greener option. In our WoodGas stove, (Toplit Updraft) the
cellulose in the pellets is volatile and evaporates…

C6H10O5 + 1/2 O2 ===> 6CO + 5H2 (Cellulose Gas)

Which is a much cleaner and more powerful gas than WoodGas (280 Btu/scf vs
150 Btu/scf). The 20% lignin in the wood is converted to charcoal/Biochar,
useful for enhanced agriculture and carbon sequestration in the ground,
rather than more CO2 in the atmosphere.

I hope to convert a small truck to cellulose gas and drive cross country.
Comments to [email protected].

Thanks -Tom Reed

Hi Tom
Is this cellulose gas produced but breaking down the cellulose with sulphuric acid about 8 % solution the neutralizing the acid and fermenting to produce cellulosic ethanol ?
Or to break the lignates with high pressure and temperature then fermenting?

Thanks Patrick

I hate being stupid, but can someone tell me what Dr.Reed is talking about ?


Cellulose is a sugar. Wood is a big chunk of mostly carbon.
Sugars have a bunch of oxygen and hydrogen atoms hanging off of their carbon chains.
Wood is a bunch of carbon atoms hanging onto each other.
Basically we are talking about making producer gas out of predominantly cellulose (sugar) containing materials instead of predominantly carbon containing materials.
The extra oxygen and hydrogen in cellulose makes a richer producer gas.
Check out ‘straw gas’ its been brought up here before.

In this case i am confused to…
6 CO and 5 H2 is nothing more then a mixture of CO and Hydrogen… in the engine with a correct stoichiometric mix it produces same or less power then the gas from my charcoal gasifier…
The sequestration of carbon is not an option, it would be a waste of energy…
Rather use the carbon in the gasifier to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere :wink:

In this case it would be the same as using only the volatile fumes from wood, but not the char in a raw wood gasifier …

The only products that should be leaving a good working gasifier are woodgas and ashes :wink:

Hello Tom Reed,
I’m glad you are still at it. I was never able to log into the bioenergy forum as I could never get a “memebership” there so I could post replies. I tried many times. I gave up a few years ago. I built my first gasifier in 1977. I started building again in 2005. One of the things I have found is that I can run about anything provided I have a good glowing charcoal base to start with. When I run variety materials I try to load some wood (usually hardwood to make new charcoal) and then layer the other materials (chips, grasses, magazines, etc.) so they have a good layer of glowing char to be cracked and reduced. Do you have any suggestions that gasify at the vehicle driving level to use some of this other stuff ?? I have a pile of walnuts to get to one of these days. I hope to see 300-400 btu gas out of them with their oils. I have already dripped water. Works great until things cool down of course. My first vehicle gasifier ran crushed tumbleweeds in an updraft. 1.5 miles on a hopper. Not very useful but it worked …
Regards, Mike LaRosa (Linden, Wisconsin) http://www.intergate.com/~mlarosa/images/woodgas/?M=D

Good info Mike.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose wood is 40 to 50 % cellulose any way. I can easily get wood for free, where would you get cellulose?

More info on this would be great.


A little hard to read, page 808, cotton lint cellulose is better on hydrogen than wood. I need to find a cotton gin!!

definitely a good serious subject.
However, on the lighter side I think I will start saving navel fluff when I wear cotton shirts : -)

that would be a good fuel for a battleship Wes. the farm down the road grows sugar beets and pickels, i wonder if i could get them to dry out?
for that matter has any one used corn on the cob ?

I’d lean more toward things like cotton or cat tails - - goes against my principles to take something that could be food for man or beast, and use it for fuel. But that’s just me . . . .

Lets face it. We are a tree’s nightmare alien monster. The trees know that we gasifiers will boil its beautiful long chains out of its body and disassociate every molecule and atom into a fiery plasma…and then kick what’s left out with an explosive blast from an engine cylinder. The trees know all that…they just can’t run.

Did you read “Secret life of Plants”?
Screaming trees… Yup they can scream but they can’t run :slight_smile: