Gasifier for a motor-bicycle?

With all the response, I hope you understand how happy we are to have you on this site.

Your last response was not knowing where to get fuel for a charcoal gasifier. For all of us fuel is a bridge we all have to cross. Even with wood, it is NEVER given to us in the exact form we can use. Chips are readily available in many places but unfortunately, they present problems that are greater than most can overcome. So we have developed many methods to make the “chunks” out of wood that is available.

This is true for charcoal also. The stuff you purchase for your barbeque is not usually satisfactory for a charcoal gasifier. You will have to go to youtube and look around besides what is on DOW to find a method that will work for you. I do not know what circumstances exist where you live, so will not go into a dissertation on charcoal production. Just another part of running on wood, that you will have to research, and decide what to doTomC

One good thing about making charcoal, is that there are so many ways to do it, you’re bound to be able to find a method that works for you. You can have a dedicated outdoor retort, a small retort you can insert in your wood heat stove, or maybe as a by-product of cooking on a TLUD stove. Since you are heading into winter, you will likely have to heat something in the coming months, so with a little planning, you should be able to incorporate charcoal making into that process.

One thing is fur sure, you can definitely build and operate a bicycle-sized charcoal gasifier a whole lot easier than a raw wood one.

Check out Martin Payne’s charcoal powered Honda motorcycle

AT in TX

Your advice is very much appreciated. I suppose I was having myself a nervous ‘wobble’ over the fuel dilemma. From what I’ve found out so far I can see that a motorised bicycle with a wood gasifier would end up with so much plumbing and cylindrical objects attached to it that it would be impossible to ride. The obvious simplicity of the setup on that vintage two stroke bicycle is very plain to see and it is that which has helped to persuade me.
Sooooo charcoal it is then.

Does anyone want to buy a 2 inch Tee fitting ideal for a Constance? I suppose it will make a nice paperweight (Ha ha).

And yes Tom I do feel very much welcomed as a new chum to the forum. Already the knowledgeable advice I’ve received has guided me into the correct approach for my project and has saved me from months of unnecessary expense and frustration.


Hi Anne,
Welcome to the site. I see from your posts that you certainly have done a lot of homework. I’ve built an imbert type stand alone unit hopefully to power an emergency generator in 15-20 hp range.
I stand with Tom Collins on store bought charcoal. Briquets are practically useless for anything except to burn hotdogs. Watch my video on fuel analysis.

I threw in some leftover briquets as a test and they seem to go through the system practically unchanged! Huh! was my first reaction. Brickettes, I say! That Texas made real wood stuff is a little better, but sold by weight it is not fully pyrolized thus keeping it “heavier” along with the price. Also some initial heat from the burn will be used up (wasted) finishing the pyrolysis process and possibly introducing some tar effects to the system. I never followed up with Part 2.
Here’s my process for making charcoal. It uses heat from my house stove to pyrolyze the wood and burn the gas at the same time adding to house heat.

I had planned on making several of these tin can gas logs for a more or less constant process. The tin can logs or the charcoal “must” be kept in an airtight container. One spark and you end up with ashes the next day. Hmmm, wonder how I know this?
I like your spirit and sense of humor. Good luck with your build. Feel free to pick our brains.
Darn, You’re just starting winter…aggghh!
Regards, Pepe
My avatar pic was taken on top of Whiteface Mountain looking down on Lake Placid, New York.

I found this video on charcoal making an interesting option. Cone pit method.

Your method looks to be really interesting Pepe and I’ll give it some close study. When I started to look around for charcoal options I discovered that it’s possible to buy high quality culinary charcoal here of the kind that’s used in posh restaurants, but of course the price put it very much out of the running.

I have a very good house stove fortunately so at least I’m a step on the way to being able to make my own charcoal. That was what had me worried as I live in a small 1930s cottage on a not especially large patch of land amongst other residential houses and any method involving smoke and flames would soon have my neighbours complaining.

And yes it’s very important to have a sense of humor, - life would be very boring without it.


If I was still living on a 10 acre rural block like I was some years ago Andrew I would be quite willing to give the cone pit method a go, but with neighbours close by where I’m living now I think they would complain. Not that they’re unfriendly neighbours or anything, but building smoky fires in a pit on my small patch of front lawn might just be a step too far.

Cheers, Anne.

Well…charcoal is great…however wood doesn’t take as much preparation. Wood has water (hydrogen) in it which will give you the energy for performance.You have to add steam to a charcoal to make hydrogen to get proper engine pop. Hydrogen burns VERY fast and CO burns kinda slow. I believe the Hydrogen is the valued fuel. I am new to this but from my constant studying having to add water to a charcoal unit to make hydrogen is less desirable than getting the Hydrogen and CO from the wood pyrolosis and reduction process. Having to clean and cool the gas is more difficult tho… Charcoal burners seem to run OK but all the prep and energy loss in the prep to make charcoal has made me a “wood gasser”. I would think a narrow trike that would fit a small wood gasifier would be better than a charcoal gasifier bicycle. I’m just saying? You are the final builder but remember wood is everywhere and charcoal…well…not so much. Plus I think people would be much more amazed at seeing a bike run on scrap biomass from anywhere than Charcoal. I will be in deep sheep doodoo for this

…Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I just can’t live with the energy loss of making charcoal…

As a keen old bike enthusiast I own a considerable amount of bicycle parts and I do have enough parts to hand to build another trike or even a sidecar so please don’t tempt me away from my decision Gordon. I think it would be good for me to build a charcoal gasifier bike first so I can learn how to run a gasifier even if I’m buying posh restaurant grade charcoal to start with. Once I feel confident about riding a gasifier bike and being able to maintain it I might have a go at building a Constance later on.

I have a two large stainless steel boiling pots that I use to make soup, but really I only need one so the spare might become the basis of my charcoal gasifier. I’ll have a closer look at it and measure it up and we shall see what can be done with it.


You will need to use Google Translate, but here is the webpage for the interesting vintage gasifier motor-bicycle Don posted.

Welcome on the dark side :wink:

If you have any question about one of my experiments, feel free to ask me.
Most of my progresses are results of good and solid advices from the other members here.
The good thing about it… ? It will work… any gasifier with some technical skilled operator will.
I am all ears for your experiences

That is a real cool bicycle on that link. I will just shut my mouth…cheers!, Gordon

might be relevant …

Hi Mike, I just got a BIG warning from McAfee about that link. Big red X

sorry it got posted 3 times … getting used to a new browser … there are several photo links on the page , Don’t know why it would get flagged as a problem … It’s been there for many years …Mike


This is what I would do if I already had a small engine like you do to play with. I would build a Gilmore Simple Fire charcoal gasifier on a bike trailer with the engine on a centrifugal clutch with just a throttle cable running to the bike for control. This would be an easy setup to get you started with minor modifications to the bike. To keep it really simple and get you going quick you could use a rub wheel on the engine shaft as friction drive to the trailer wheel.

Gordon, McAafee and Norton are viruses as you will find out … I will never install them again … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ is all they are after … fee is the key word … I’m flagged as a bad link and all my web pages have been wiped out … Trust your gummit … M

Yes Mike I believe you are right. The only time my hard drives have crashed is when I didn’t pay them…I do want to check-out that site. My gummit says… go for it.

I checked out that interesting link Mike posted without any problems at all. I use Panda Cloud anti-virus by the way, - it’s free, it works and it’s good.