Hi all! I’m really excited to dive into learning about wood gas for vehicles, and I hope you don’t mind if I ask some newbie questions that I wasn’t able to track down through searching the forum.
First off for some background, my friend and I built a small gasifier as a standalone unit to power a generator. We’ve gotten to producing gas and successfully flaring it (yay!) but are still working out the kinks and honing our filtration so we don’t gunk up a motor. This is our first step, the next being applying it to our vehicles… which is what I actually want to ask about right now.
I’m planning on buying a used van and doing a camper conversion. I found Chris Seymour’s awesome trailer-mounted setup for the Ford Econoline, which answers my first newbie question of “can this be done to vans?”. Here are the rest of my questions:
Chris uses a charcoal gasifier instead of wood- what are the pros and cons of charcoal vs wood gas? Can you re-use the biochar from your wood and then re-burn it? As someone with a farm I plan on using the biochar agriculturally so I’m pretty set on wood, but I’m quite curious about the pros/cons of the two materials for vehicle gasifiers.
The big question: Is there a certain make or year of van (or specific engine) that is easier or harder to gasify? I’m mostly looking at extended Chevy/GMC, Ford, and Dodge vans from the 70s to the 2000s. Are carbureted engines better? Or vans without computers? I know Chris did the Ford van, and I know Wayne likes Dodges (Wayne- your trucks are incredible). Basically I’m wondering if its all a wash from a gasification perspective or if some manufacturers and year ranges are far easier or better to gasify. I’d like to be able to carry/haul a lot, and would need a v8 or v10. (I’ve been eyeing the Chevy 350 for parts availability)
I want this future ride of mine to be a home, a vehicle, and a showpiece for the incredible freedom and environmental benefits of wood gas. I do lots of teaching (sustainability and permaculture) so this will eventually get shown to lots of people- so I want to do it right! And the first step is choosing the right rig.
Any input is deeply appreciated, and I’m excited to get to know this wonderful community.