Reasons for Power Reduction on Wood/Chargas?

??? I don’t know why water would foul a plug. I suppose you might be able to inject too much and misfire and stall. All I know is racers and old piston engine fighters did it.

Not selling anything, but there is a lot of good info here.


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How about spraying some light oil on the wall of a slighter oversized cyclone, collecting at the bottom and pumpin it back upwards to spray it again ?
The walls would become oil-sticky to catch more dust. I have the tools to do so, but not the time…
( feels as my mantra, i have the idea, but lack the time :grin: )


Yeah!!! Let’s do that. :crazy_face:

Hi Koen
it sounds like a great idea

Oversized the cyclone why?

Thanks koen time too test and test we have been relying on a few, you being one of the concept teachers by testing and doing, makeing prof for teaching, That type might be good at just the right place, most my plumming is damp, last time i cleaned my cyclones they were only fine dust but damp packed. By the time it gets through the hay filter it is still a few drips of water just before the flare fan. I thouhjt about makeing a chanel filter so the stickys in the gas could stick on the way through a tunnel exchanger with fabric through out the chambers.I think another straw filter would be the same effect.

only slightly to avoid more drag / pressure drop.
But using any cyclone with oilspray works just fine.
a mixture i used before was from the car junk yard, the mix from diesel and gasoline , drain from the old car’s,
works a a charm and if the gas flow is hot, it carburates the gas towards the engine.
This however requires some thinking about filters used…

remember…; only your imagination is your limit…


Thats seems it would help with more of the char dust than a dry cyclone i agree. And the waiste oil would be getting used oiling the cool rack and powering the motor, my cyclones running about 4 too 6 hundred on hot days likely. By the time it leaves the hopper heater its down about 250f in 70 degree outside temps so far tested.Then the cooling rack stays about 150 f at the half way down the cooling tubes, mine are virticle on this unit. Since were on the subject of power lost with wood, cooler wood gas has more power than hot wood gas from more condence out and dryed fuel.

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I think the easiest way to get the power back would be forced induction. 7-10 psi roughly doubles the airflow through an engine, and wood gas is very high octane so it’s a good match. Lots of work and/or money to do it though.


Al Frick seems to have solved the problem. See [Woodgas a 98 Ranger questions.]

I think the 2" ceramic blanket inside the firetube (HOT) and and the tar still form Terry Grzyb [First Ranger drive!] work together to make as much power as if he were gasifying plastic.


Hello RindertW,
I have been reading with interest you belief that really thoroughly insulating a gasifiers hearth core with kaolwool (spun alumia-silica batting) will zoom-zoom up the system performances.
True. True. But not with quite as dramatic positive benefits as you expect. And Not without some negative created that then need to be engineered/designed around.
This is from my real on-hands experiences with Ben Peterson from 2009-2011.
I maintained before that; and still; since that an engine fuel powering gasifier was not a-make-heat-stove; but a fuel gas maker. So ANY heat wasted out of the gasifier core system had to be unrealized, lost, not-made, potential power-gasses.
BenP had just converted to using hearth cores of all stainless steels. THAT was like adding insulation with SS’s lower thermal conductivity. Hard ran I still complained that the hearth cores were still too hot to touch. He added even more inner hearth core wraps in his change over from his OffGridders series to his Victory hearth systems. Better. But still lost some wasted heat-energy. He then added more internal systems layer of insulation wraps as in his then new HOT-Watt systems. Three separated gas pathways insulation layers to the 3rd evolved generations of those. The last with a whole outer (fourth layer) wrapped system insulation. Then redesigned his Victory Hearths for the added insulation’s released as Victory XL models.
The retained inside heat mostly helped in fuel use economy. Engine power of the gasses blend was improved some. This was by less atmospheric air having to be introduced into the oxidization-burning zone with it’s nitrogen dilution by not having to so over-burn to make the extra initial process heats that had been previously been wasted out and lost.
Side benefits were much quicker up to making goodgas from cold startinup times. Much longer sitting hot non-used restarting up times. Almost total doesn’t matter the local weather climate operating conditions.
The retained heats internally early on was killing any still carbon steel hearth components. Killing what had been previously OK system gas-tight joints seals. Cooking-out the flange joints sealants.
On The XL and on like his last fully integrated VictoryGrid all SS systems he redesigned drop-in&out replaces able SS core components. Redesigned his system joints father away from the hottest active hearth zones. Went to using exclusively thick fiberglass rope controlled-compressed hearth joints seals.

I can talk about this now as he has layed most of this out in step by step pictures in his reverted back to carbon steel D.I.Y. Ben’sBooks systems. These do have internal and external insulation’s and selective heats recycling, retaining in enough hearth heats for realistic usable performance. But let out enough heats to let carbon steel use live again reasonably.

Honesty for DIY made woodgas you can quickly reach gas maker diminishing returns on efforts/costs/complications.
The extra overboard gasifer putzing around will give better returns of efforts by redirecting back to the gas-use engine systems side of it.
This how Wayne Kieth has become the fastest, longest distance, year-around-user, woodgas driver. Balanced approach.
Just been my experiences.
tree-farmer Steve unruh


I can deffinitely see how you can reach a point of diminishing returns by fine tuning and in the process making things more complicated, been there done that. I think this ceramic blanket errrrr thingy is as radical a change to the WK gasifier as Wayne’s sawblade cooling fins were to the FEMA gasifier.
The woodgas vehicle could become generally known to the mainstream of American society, just as it stands right now.

Another of Mr Wayne’s important words of honour comes to my mind here, and that’s Driving Habits.

I’ve been doing at least 95% of my daily driving on 100% wood for two years now. In total about 15k miles. When I built my gasifiers I put quite a lot of effort into heat recovery and metal heat accumulation for safe idle purposes.
However, I see myself doing 95% of my driving within half an hour trips (1/2 hopper). The gasifier seems to always be performing at its best at shutdown and at least 25% of my fuel is wasted whithout the wheels turning (preheat areas cooling down + wood shrinking). Real on-hands, every day experiance :wink: in conditions varying from snowy -20F to sunny 90F.

When/if I’ll do another build I think I will too try a light weight, ceramic blanket version with moderate heat recovery but try put some effort into more responsive engine exhaust to air heat exchange.

I don’t expect to get a lot better performance but to trim some complexity fat off the build and at the same time make things fit my driving habits.


Jan, I agree, most all my trips are about 15 miles round trip. That’s what makes it hard to answer ‘‘how much wood per mile do you use?’’ I can only give a wild guess, because I think almost as much wood is burned at shut down as we do on the short trips.


I guess when my truck was running, I was never a true woodgas driver. If I wasn’t going to drive for 1/2 hour or so, I wouldn’t bother going through the time to get the gas production up enough for highway driving. Carl for one has spent time making an exhaust preheat system, but I don’t think he ever judged the value of the system from the point of faster start ups and short trips. I for one certainly need to improve my start up times. TomC


I am not that much of a true wood gas driver either, thats what happens when wood gathering out weighs are old life of cheap gas VS chunking wood or filling the tank and working elsware.I gess we been much luckier than other countrys for cheaper gas, if our dollar value dont go any lower from the inflation rate of basic needs. any way power loss of wood gas VS GASOLINE, is all pretty close too at least 30 power loss for gasifiers as far as full power under load goes. The wetter the wood the more power loss up too ware the wood is too dry, and thats highly unlikely under normal shed drying of wood stock. Is what i have gathered.Unless you live in texes or mexico arizona dry summer weather.?


Good day,
Re-reading my last post I come off sounding like either a know-it-all; or a done-it-all.
On my own personal efforts I wasted at least two years with all of my decades of wood stoving experiences believing that using hundreds of pounds of core system thermal mass would be a jump-ahead inspiration. After all I was dedicated stationary-use so I could afford the space and weight to do this.
Well, yeah. High amounts of process carrying forward thermal mass would have been fine on a 24/7 need gas producer! Like the old town gasplant systems. The IISc 1990’s to current evolved systems!
Personal use for small generating engines it was an input fuel-use hog!
I actually needed quick to heat-up to good gas making in a true 2-4 hours a day stints; twice a day done, to match our home energy use needs.

Overlapping with this was my two years efforts wasted (again from my woodstoving experiences) insisting that I could-too make 18" long split/cut stick form fuelwood imputs work. Ha! Skip right on past all of that labors intensive wood chunking.
Well, yeah. Stick-form can be made to work kinnda’sorta. Turns a fellow into a system babysitter keeping those burn-heat devolving sticks to char-chunks release, with minimum fines, and settle into a non-bypassing upper system gasses converting glowing char bed! A few hard limb knots in the stick-splits and you are screwed with irregular formed bed included bypassing lumps! Or, bed flow choked from the breaker-barred off char-fines!

So actually rather amazing that the different waves of actual needs-must gasifier system users in the late 1800’s into the pre-WWI early1900’s; then the later vehicle guys 1930’s into early 1950’s with their made mobile books, summary’s, had the Middle-Way to get’r-gone already mapped out.

I am not alone in wasted times efforts. Some (like I was) thinking their in-depth real-life experiences will lead to a zoom-zoom up in performances. Like process plant levels of electronic control systems experiences. Like actual Nuclear-plant capable certified welders. Like degree’ed, actual Engineers. Like too many I-WannaBee-Believers of many different stripes.

Inline with some of the advice’s given to this topics originator:
Pick a different engine applied-power combo, that will be more able to use what fuel-gasses you can make, for the working purposed you want to put it to work for.

Different way to view this make-woodgas-the-same-capabilty-as-gasoline is to realized WHICH gasoline? Gasoline has evolved too over the last 150 years. Been re-formulated for specific needs and purposes. So . . . comparable to . . .
Current day 10% ethanol clean-air made to work with high pressures EFI gasoline?
Post WWII very high 9toxic) lead doped high compression-able gasoline?
Before the late 1920’s no-lead “natural-distilled out” non-reformulated but wildly variable, from pump-distributor to pump-distributor gasoline?
Bush-made, from crude stolen out of the pipeline, “Nigerian” bootleg gasoline?
IC piston engines: and engine gasoline fuel mixture system can be made for any of these widely variable gasoline’s. But not for all of them with the same setups. And certainly not live long life’s ran outside to their spec ranges of gasoline’s fuel purpose designs.
Think not?
Go try running a can of white-gasoline stove fuel in any modern gasoline engine. Engine working. Loaded down. Pre-ignitions misfiring and pinging. Backfiring. Overheating.
Early EFI systems in the 1960’s required large capacity, expensive, micro-fine gasoline fuel filters to not waxes clog up the fuel injectors. What changed? The delivered spec’s for pump available gasoline!

Ha! Woodgas can run all of the decades gasoline/gaseous fueled engine combinations. So what’s a little power loss. You have power loss with spec grade propane and methane too. Too much equipment usability set back losses with these fuels and you just need to up-size the engine to make the power that you do need to get the work done that you need done.
tree-farmer Steve unruh


Thanks Steve another great explanation about true wood gasifing engines from real off grid experiance, and auto technition background too. Its nice haveing experianced folks like yourselve in these feilds. Larger motor more wood gobleing, or smaller 4cyl truck and a little hybrid driveing seems too be working as well that way


i have found that the foremost reason for power loss is the simple fact that the engine has to suck on the gasifier it self and that is not as easy to breath in on as a air filter or open carb so the less filters you can get away with the more power you get…i have found =) also when driving on it there isnt a accelerator pump witch is the reason for slow pick up =)


Very true words from Steve Unruh

One needs to remember we are operating a fuel refinery and driving at the same time.

In my day to day driving of the dakota I am more concerned about over doing the speed limits than lack of power .

Here is a video that Koen recorded . 360 camera . The camera can be pointed to Koen face to see SWEM


Al Fricktrikebuilder57 May 16
First drive on wood, was dumbfounded, it ran as good as petrol, the only thing I see that is off, not getting much of a vac reading on hopper gauge. Rail vac is good. Drove about 25 miles, wood consumption is a lot less than the black 1/2 ton 4x4. Lemons please!
It seems to me that some folks have hit on combinations of features that give them equal power to gasoline.
In this case I think its a combination of a tar/water still and a 2 inch ceramic blanket inside the the firetube.