Greetings from Spain!. Woodgas tractor wannabe :-)

Hi there!. This is Lewis from Spain. Best wishes and happy new year.

Farming and Mechanical Engineering background. Have been in touch with gasifiers for a while but not for engines but for thermal usage, where , IMHO, is where they run better. All pains and troubles around gas goes away when you decide to burn the gas instead cool it and put into an ICE. I’ve tested and modified chineses JXQ-10 (or any clone) for running with straw, sawdust, and a custom mixture for a customer. The goal was just to produce gas from the worst possible source (low quality and humid “fuel”) and find a way to burn it cleanly.

A few clips:
First, unmodified-out-of-the-box JXQ-10, runing on barley straw, unprocessed, just for system testing purposes

Second: Gasifier feeding a modified natural gas boiler (idle speed). Boiler is depression type. You can hear the gasifier “breathing”, as it was the end of the test, not so much fuel left and probably some bridging due to long chips used.

Heavily modified jxq10, flow changed to updraft. Top plate is for testing purposes in order to establish the optimal blower pressure vs bed packing as a pilot for a further development unit. Fuel was cheap furniture sawdust stored uncovered, quite damp. --> beautiful tar making machine. Flame self sustainable and extremely powerful once smoke reaches the tar condensing temperature, slightly above 200ºC (sorry, I’m one of those morons who doesn’t understand imperial units… :-))

Anyway, now as a farmer I am seriously considering converting a good old diesel tractor a, fordson major clone- EBRO 160 (wich is basically a last model fordson major disguised in MF color scheme) to woodgas (appears in the very first video)

I have a almost proper workshop and should be able to make the conversion on my own, I do have the tractor and by now, is just sitting in the barn (we do have 3 other tractors, a kubota me5700, a JD 6110 and a Valtra N143 and just 3 pairs of hands in best of cases)

I’ve following for many many years the work of Mr Keith and have been inspired by its conversions. I’ve also seen over and over again the Johan Lynel videos, G3 gasifier, Drizzler, Vulcan… and feel it’s time to make something on my own.

I have some constraints so that’s why I’ve decided start this topic in order to find the best possible solution.

FUEL: should be wood chips. 35ha. (sth around 90 acre) of almond trees, which yearly produces a vast amount of wood (prune wood) wich now is burned year after year with any other usage. This type of wood can be easyly processed with a wood chipper but size will be small. Furthermore, it is easy to find in the market G30 woodchips (

Full electronic control. As tractor should be intended for “non woodgas trained” people, start, warm up and gas mixing of the gasifier shoud be 100% automatic (arduino/raspberry pi…).

POWER: Tractor should be able to do some “real” work, not just moving around. That’s why I’m considering scraping the old Ebro (4 cyl 57hp on diesel) and finding somethig like a JD 3130 (6 cyl 98 hp on diesel). Furthermore, I do adore the purr of that straigth six… but as trees grow, the smaller the tractor the better. I’m puzzled.
I’m even considering finding a turbocharged diesel tractor but converting to woodgas whithout the turbo (As turboed engines have less compresion ratio)

So, first two questions:
-suggestions about gasifier desing basis given the fuel available?
-estimated power loss on woodgas?

Thanks so much!

cheers! :beers::beers:


Good morning Lewis, Happy New Year and welcome to the DOW.

On the diesel tractors how are you planing the ignition of the woodgas ?. ( spark or compression )


Hi! Happy new year!

Plan is going “the hard way”, so spark conversion. Biggest issue so far with this Fordson engine are the injectors. They are placed inside rocker arm cover, soaked in oil, so spark conversion would need a whole new redesigned rocker cover in order to deal with this issue. I have a spare cylinder head, so probably I will try to prototype something before putting a spanner on the working tractor.

Furthermore, there is a lot of big mouths in my area, so a diésel ignited engine would make me give much more explanations about the working principle than desired/deserved. So, no fuel tank, no idiots messing around.

There was some funny “breeding” between Ford and massey Ferguson here in spain, both of them made in the same Ebro factory under licese, so you can find Fordson trannys with a 4 pot Perkins (ebro 470) and even a 6 pot Perkins 6305 (ebro 183) . This last model is very rare today as few have survived, Engine was too much for that tranny. Nevertheless, it is possible to fit that six to my Tractor in order keeping it powerful enough. But that’s another history…

BTW, I’d be interested in purchasing a copy of your book, but have seen is not available for sending outside US.



Welcome to the DOW LewisM.
Not to worry about being SI measurements preferring - we can convert. Be kind, though and clearly mark your temperatures as C, F, or K.

For diesel tractor converting and operating be sure and read the “Swedish Papers” in the DOW info library. Internet search up the David Brown conversion of Swedish ex-submariner, now father/farmer-man Johan Lindel. And a vineyard owner in New Zealand who’s name I cannot recall also did a diesel tractor conversion unit too using vine trimming.

Here on the DOW the actual gasifer system is not the importance for a tractor using your almond-tree hardwood sorted chips. Do only consider those systems already proven in working tractor engine service. Not the m-a-y-b-e s-o-m-e-d-a-y thought experiments.
Multiple almost good enough failures; be-better-next-time, loses interests in those around you fast. Helping hands, and money pockets will walk away to more productive projects.

Steve unruh


Are you familiar with writing code for Arduino and Python? If you share that part maybe make a thread specific for this, some of us here maybe of assistance to you. There are a few of us here that have experience writing code specific for gasification systems.


Yes, for sure! I use both Python and Arduino. (Offtopic - At my 40’s i’ve started a PhD in Model Predictive Control using Machine Learning, so C++, and mostly Python and Matlab are who are paying part of my bills now)

I am a Open Source kind of person, so everything will be shared. Won’t be a fast process, as the conversion will take some time, but, if there is some code done I can help others succeding.

I had a small Engineering company. We used to create custom machines using Arduinos and have tested them beyond its limits. As a quick summary, it’s still a toy. Analog readings are crap and cannot be used for controlling nothing serious (internal voltage reference is crap squared) i2c works fine but tends to freeze if some kind of disturbance is found… (I could empty several beers talking about things we discovered “the hard way”)

Thanks for the warm welcome! :beers:



Hi Steve, thanks for the welcome! :beers:

I followed Johan’s old volvo the David Brown conversion since its very begining, nevertheless, even I have searched all across the web (or at least that was my thought) is the very first time I hear about this NZ tractor. If you could give me some link I would be extremely grateful.



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O.K. here you go:
It was the New Zealand Wine Company Limited
Dave Pearce and Craig Fowles Sustainability Report.pdf

If this link does not work. Search up for pictures by “New Zealand vineyard tractor gasifier” Link form there on their blue diesel tractor with the unusual above the rear three-point platform gasifier assembly. They wanted full use of all tractor front accessories. Remain small tractor orchard/vineyard narrow. AND still have use of rear PTO three-point equipment.
Dual fuel diesel ignighted system.

Steve unruh


Good information and dialogue.
I hadn’t heard of “G30 woodchips” before now.
Here’s a link that helped me to understand about them:
Go to about page 7 to get to the actual specs.

Pete Stanaitis



If the injector lines spring a leak you can get a crank case full of diesel :disappointed_relieved:

I farmed with one of the old majors a few years .


Yes Lewis, it is a learning toy. I’m sure there are some affordable smart network-able i/o modules out there.


Hola, y bien benidos al grupo.


Hi again!

Let’s start with some pictures of the beast…
Google Photos
Old fashioned cab, no doors. Access … err… from behind… 4 brand new tyres, worth more than the whole tractor. Power steering.(aftermarket retrofit kit)

By now she works just a few weeks every year powering a PTO air compressor

The mighty cockpit…
Google Photos

Injector pump connection coupling. Swap from injection pump to spark distributor extremely fast and simple with a standard coupler. Sorry for bad quality pics but my phone cam is made by crapy crop inc.

Google Photos

I have a spare cyl. head.

Google Photos

Google Photos
that 's what I’ve commented: inner injectors… that’s the hardtest part of the conversion… keeping spark plugs and cables safe from oil…

That’s why maybe I try to find another Tractor …

Anyway… first steps will buying a wood chipper and probably building a test gasifier in order…




Topic: Steam injection.

I’m considering steam injection via a pulse pump (like the ones in a expresso machine) I’ve found models able of continuous duty up to 19 bar.
This pump would be controlled by the gasifier “brain” and the water (distilled water) would go through a Cooper loop heated by the engine exhaust. The main idea would be creating water gas.
I don’t know if someone here have tested this concept in a wood gasifier or is only feasible in a charcoal gasifier.
Any ideas/sugestions?


Hello Lewis . Hope all is well on your side of the pond.

Do you plan only running wood gas or are you planning to duel fuel with gasoline, diesel or LP ?

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Plan is 100% wood. Furthermore, woodgas is just a part of a much more ambitious wish: a fully driverless autonomous carbon neutral farming machine. Woodgas tractor is just one piece of the puzzle. Just something like this but doing also some “brute force” work. Edit: sorry for the misspelling. Writing from the phone


Good Morning LuisM
Deep well spark plugs have been done by many manufactures. Off of my head USChysler, Peugeot, Honda/Acura. Some of these uses an SS tube inserted into a machined head receiver opening. Others with reach-in tube o-ring compression fitted clamped down by the valve cover. And another mixs of systems.
Yep. They will all leak sooner-or-later. As a professional auto mechanic my pride was to make the leaking occur much later.

You will have the two injector hold-down bolts to work with. I’d suggest using on of these manufactures tubes with a two bolt eared flange to lower attract with.
Then just have the tube float up and out a hole cut in the valve cover . You want thermal expansion contraction capability at this point. These same manufacturers do have lip seal to install onto the inner valve cover.
If you use deep well spark plug boots on my own stuff I would cut back the top umbrella hat seal portion. THEN daily/weekly walk around inspection can catch any oil leakage.
Now your sparkplug fitting. The same two former injector hold down bolts could clamp down csat steel machined and inner threaded inserts. This below the sparkplugwell tubes. A cast insert could be o-ring grove on the top and bottom of the insert flange.
Too never-used, specialized to find off the shelf anywhere.
Hobbiest metal machinist just love to lath up cast iron and cast steel doo-dads.

Steve Unruh


Another little step done… increasing my library… ordered Wood gasifier builder’s bible… :wink:

Probably my design will include an external hopper with a conveyor and a “pyrotouch” device for feedind and avoid bridging.

here it is shown working nicely…

Good morning LuisM,
I wish to give you some alternative ways to view gasification of wood-for-energy that is not in any of the books.

First always accept that gasifiaction must follow the triad of factors of Time versus Temperature versus Turbulence.
(Ha! Winningly accept this or not experiences will teach you well to balance these!)

Next accept the true gasifaction conversion can only take place by flowing produced (call them unpotentualized not-free- energy gases) controlled flowed through a bed of energy releasing glowing wood char. And it is only this process that converts the pre-gasses as energy release capable later for down stream used like in an engine.

All gasifier designs bias just which ONE, Two, or all three of the big primary T’s they will favor at the expense of the others.
ALL gasifier designs will favor either a small char mass/volume area (G3, Drizzler), a medium char mass/volume area (Imbert and similar char bed volumes types like Mikonnens, BenP’s, Dutch Johns), or a huge deep bed char mass ( WK’s, Dobson’s, IISc).
The smaller the the char mass area/volume and more that system becomes a just-in-time super dependent with everything need to be absolutely correct all of the time, system. With fulfillments complexities, each with their own failures points that can bring the processes to failures.
The larger the char mass/volume the more heat&energy reserve at the core of things. The more time for things to glide along O.K. The far simpler the system can be. The more robust the system can be. Far cheaper to make. Far simpler to train and maintain. With a much longer usable service life.

Now some would maintain that big, dumb and “stoopid” cannot possibly be efficient. That big, dumb and stoopid cannot possibly make good clean gases.
That just is not correct.
Real world user performances now, proves this well. And this is the only true measure of worth.

Foods for your future reflections man.
Ha! No worries. Takes years to wear off the unusable “inspirations” down to practical for us brainacs.

Steve unruh