History Channel Inquiry

Hello All,

I had conversation with Mr. Lee Robinson about helping with details and construction of a gasifier to power a truck for an upcoming series on the history channel. As much as I would like to help I have too much on my plate for the next several months . I hope to get caught up and spend more time on the DOW with building and experimenting and just can’t take on any new projects at this time even as much as I would like to. I mention to Mr. Robinson I felt like we have several experts on the DOW site that might be interested. Below is a summary of our conversation and contact info.


Greetings Wayne,

And thanks again for taking the time to chat earlier. Just to review, my name is Lee Robinson. I’m a television producer working on behalf of the History Channel- One who thought he’d seek your expertise on a potential need our latest project has brought up. For an upcoming shoot this winter, we are entertaining the notion of converting an old pickup into one that runs on wood gas. As a result, I’m now on the lookout for individuals who have experience in that area and who would be interested in traveling to North Carolina to consult / convert off camera. Naturally, we would compensate them for their time and handle their travel expenses. I certainly understand that you may be too busy to work on the project yourself, but wondered if there might be anyone else you would recommend for the job. If there is, I’d be delighted to speak with them further about what we’re up to.

Very Best,
Lee Robinson
Story / Field Producer
Warm Springs Productions
820 West Spruce Street
Missoula, MT 59802
[email protected]

Well… Hmm. Would a person contact him directly with the info provided here or through you?

What an honor, History channel knows who go too! Too bad your busy, I can’t think of anyone better to represent the community than WayneK!

Hello Eric,

I think you can contact him direct by email of maybe through his company . I did delete his phone number from the info. I would hate for a lot of people to be trying to contact him from different time zones . However if you have trouble with contact just get back with me .

Hey Chris , Thanks for the kind words sir but I already have obligations to the DOW site, family and farming and just not getting as much done as I could a few years back.


Wayne, from talking to you in person, you’re a mentor from either one to one or a group standing around a truck. I think your satisfaction comes from eye to eye contact and converting disbelief into either acknowledgement that there is another motoring fuel or making an excited follower. Can’t get that from mass broadcasting. I like you just the way you are.

my question would be who’s design are they looking at building? Are they looking for someone to consult/build from the side line… or for something more?

Wow Wayne!
Sounds like a great opportunity. The man to bring wood gas awareness to the rest of the US. There hasn’t been one person I have talked to that has heard of making gas from wood, but most are interested. I’ve directed a few people to this site already. Although there are other qualified people on this site, I’ve watched many of your videos and I for one would like to see you represent the wood gas community.
Whoever it is that opts for this opportunity, I think should make the History Channel aware that it’s not just vehicles. We have people on this site that provide businesses and small communities with power. There are the micro gassers for personal use.
This is my 2 cents worth from a newbie.

Take care,
Bill Schiller

Hi Wayne & gang, Lee contacted me also but hasn’t responded to my reply to him. I explained my age and that winter is no time to travel the over 1000 miles each way on those mountain roads. If I flew there I couldn’t even bring a knife and you should have seen the riot act they read Ron Ohler in San Fransisco when he tried to board the plane with his calipers and machining tools. It is snowing here right now. They said less than in inch but we have had over 3. It will stick this time probably. My little red truck spins it’s wheels by itself so forget a trailer … Stay well amigo(s) … Mike PS, if he is in Montana, I suppose he is seeing white stuff too. North Carolina can get feet of snow, especially in the Smokies.

Hello Bill and Arvid,

I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the history channel or the particular show that was mention . However I discovered it is a very popular show that my son knew all about and my brother knew all the characters by name . ( he ask that I refrain from naming the show on the web site , don’t know why but I will comply )

The filming will be done in the NC blue ridge mountains. The shows character ( survivalist type person ) will be shown building and operating an old gasified truck. I was asked to consult and build ( off camera ) the system in two or three days , but it must appear the character is building.

My reply was sorry it takes me 250 hours to build a truck that I am familiar with and have built several. To try to condense a several week project into a few days with an inexperienced operator I see nothing but failure. On the series there may be an expectation of humor and drama so I’m sure any malfunctions , explosions, CO risks, smoke , etc might be highlighted .

If a gasifier can be built and operated properly I am all for it but anything less I would like to stay clear.

On the same note several years ago I got a call from the Jimmy Kimmel Live show asking if they could schedule a satellite truck to come out and do a live interview ( 11 PM at night ) and I agreed . In the meantime hurricane Katrina hit and all the satellite trucks in this area were tied up but I had a chance to find and watch the show which I never had. I realized quickly I would be portrayed as an backwoods Alabama, uneducated , overall wearing, tobacco chewing redneck that thinks he can run his truck without gasoline ( which is mostly correct ). When they called back to reschedule I ask for 45 seconds to show the truck in actual operation and this was considered too much time and they cancelled.

In short after realizing this was a comedy show I felt like this interview would be a negative to gasification , If this had been a documentary, scientific or educational show I would have participated ,



How bad do they want you? Are they open to bringing their production crew to Alabama for a few weeks? Seems like having you in person would be worth sacrificing whatever they gain from being in North Carolina.

They could probably bring along a young Montana fellow with them that knows how to feed hay in the winter, and drive a tractor. Shouldn’t be too hard to find . . . .

EDIT - Just read your post above - sad that they are only wanting to “use” you rather than glean the deep well of wisdom that you’ve got.

Wayne & gang, Winter in the smokies, forget it … 2 or 3 days, forget it … I’m shivering right now. Headed to swipe the insulated bibs out of the red truck … brrrrrrrr … Guess I’m going to really have to wear a coat as well … SNOW and wind … Mike

That would be an excellent idea have them come out help Wayne on the farm as he works on the build!

Not to be a downer, But i’m a litlle concerned about this going big so fast nationally. My concern is then our wonderful government will take notice and start banning this or regulating it,thus screwing it up. I think that spreading the info like DOW has been doing is better. Just my thoughts, but I know how the government is. Dan

Hey Wayne, that is what i expected… and i agree with you, it wouldn’t necessary put wood gas in a positive light.

I can envision government regulation in two possible scenarios:

  1. Woodgas user numbers become big enough to significantly cut into the profits of whoever’s energy product is being subsidized, thereby making lobbyists demand that the government pass a law to make it illegal.

  2. Some catastrophic accident occurs that draws national attention, and is blamed on someone making and using woodgas.

I don’t think being a part of some reality show puts wood/charcoal gas in any danger. Anything they depict on this show will be regarded as a caricature, rather than a reflection of reality.

Good Morning All
Very astute wisdom WayneK.
JohanL’s other-side-of-the-story on the UK International Geographic woodgas in a Toyota pickup, time-lapsed conversion in days, he did the actual off camera designing and building is the eyeopening of what really happens. Promoted as “easy”, “pleasie”, anybody can do it, why do our Gov’Mints overlook this. They did not even name credit him at all in the broadcast credits.

Ben Peterson very named credited in his Mechanics Illustrated “Backyard Inventor” contest article was very pissed how he and woodgas was made to appear as an all solutions trash eating system. And they DID on location film. Then the best filmed he says ended up on the cutting room floor.

He, I, and most serious others actually hated the too easy, bad light that “The Colony” engine woodgas in a can smoke gas system protrayed. I spent years on forums after that explaining realities to shallow attracted folk who never would make up a proper REDUCED and filtered woodgas engine fuel system convinced it was “unesassary”.

It is my strong opinion that the serious will become actual using woodgasers willing to source, process the thousands of pounds of real fuel wood needed for even a 3-5 kW/el off-grid home power system will find the good info sources without having to be “entertained” into it.
Woodgasing ain’t for the shallow faint of heart. Takes guts, grind-it-out, gitter-done and stick-too-ive-ness to see you through to long term success.

Popular media you have no control. That dog will bite you just for the entertainment of the cake eaters.

Beware fellows of those 15 minutes of fame offered. Takes LOTS of 15 minute sound bites to fill up the 24/7/365 of todays info/entertainment beasts. That 15 minutes of mis-representation will be repeated back at’cha’ for years and years and years. A “no comment”, or simple “No” will be forgotton in days as they troll on for a sucker to bite for the fame.

Been bit’ once Steve Unruh - never again since.

Wayne & gang, Lee e-mailed me back today (Monday). I left him a phone message (actually 2) … Steve U, Johan got the screw on what he did. At least he could take the gasifier and rig it to that tractor that he converted from diesel to spark ignition. His site is http://www.vedbil.se/ for those who are not familiar with him. He has an english site you can find from there. Last time I wrote with him he was doing ethanol but as a potato farmer, I can’t blame him. Mike L

I didn’t know it was for an already existing show. You’re right, I too would leave it alone.
The points the others made about exposure and the Govt getting involved would also be a high probability.
Bill Schiller

I believe I know what the name of the show is and the fellow in the Blue Ridge mountains comes across as a simpleton as do the fellows over in Montana and Maine although the trapper in Alaska has some credibility. I think any serious input would be distorted to fit the bumbling theme of the show.
It would be great to see a proper woodgas documentary one day.

I agree Paul