Super-Efficient Woodgas Enduro?

While looking up woodgas-powered motorcycles, I came across this enduro. The main thing that stood out to me is the economy: 20 miles per pound! That doesn’t make much sense to me, though. If a truck gets maybe 18 MPG on gasoline and one mile on a pound of wood, wouldn’t a 90 MPG (well, just to be safe) enduro get about five miles per pound at the very most?

Hello Jake,
This (The unit shown above) is probably running on charcoal. If you can find a drawing or other details on the construction, please post it. Meanwhile, here is a link to a charcoal gasifier unit mounted on a sidecar. It seems to have a cyclone, cooler, and filter.
Ray Menke

It says in the news article that it runs on wood. I can’t find much more about it. The only information that I can find on it is just copied or re-worded from the above picture’s text.

Hi Jake, would’t be the first time that a newspaper misquoted someone. Just based on the lack of secondary filters I would say it has to be a charcoal gasifier. For small engines like that under varying loads they are well suited. My unit burns 1.5 gallons of charcoal to run a 13hp engine for 45minutes at half load. Rolling very slowly not overreving the engine, 30mph tops, with steam injection to reduce charcoal use, they maybe could have done it. A lot of unknown variables and math fudging there and that assumes the subject wasn’t exaggerating to get his point across to the journalist.

Maybe they misquoted. Do you mean charcoal made from biomass? I think charcoal briquettes are made from compressed coal powder.

Yes I mean biomass burned down leaving charcoal behind. You could use coal as town gas plants used to but it contains contaminants you’d have to deal with. A Search of charcoal gasifier will give you more info. It’s a much easier unit but you have to make the charcoal. Fine for small engines but it gets logistically difficult the larger you go; better off with one of Wayne’s designs for larger engines…

Some good information. Thanks for the replies, David and Ray.

Hi David, so if your 13hp engine were a motorcycle, you could travel for 45 minutes using 1.5 gallons of charcoal. (As you stated…30 mph) Charcoal is very light…if you were to weigh your charcoal, it might weigh a pound or so? That would agree with the newspaper article. Ray

Hi DavidB.
You are Canadian. Is this “gallons” of lump wood charcoal measure tou are using the larger British Imperial gallon or the smaller US gallon?
Normally does’t matter to most except when they are 2 stroke engine fuel/oil mixing and skew themselves ~20% over/under oil and kill an engine.
BTW. OK as far as I am concerned to quote in liters. All here have pocket cell phones with neat easy to use calculator/converters even an old fossil like me has learned to use.
Steve Unruh

Hi Ray, I was actually trying to work out how the newspaper article could have figured out their math just listed my rough consumption as an example. No false promises intended just bad grammar on my part. :slight_smile:

Hey Steve that would be roughly 6 -8 litres of charcoal forgot you use the tiny gallon. I have no idea of the weight because lately I’m running hardwood and softwood so its all mixed up. I’ll get a good scale someday. Could you talk to the whole country and give up the gallon at long last? It’s really quite confusing for everyone else in the entire world you know! And farenheit and the pound and the inch… and the…
Best regards, David Baillie

Hey DavidB.
Now. Now. Someone has to keep at least a ghost of the old glory of “English” measures alive! Just a bigger gallon ain’t much remembering.
In the SI rest of the world it has been fashionable to change the power measurements foe any old reason in my lifetime. This confuses me mightily.
Learned as a teenager for you “metric” folk that calories 'ment HEAT power = to BTU. Just measured in Cen-i-grate and Kill-o-grams. Easy. Watts were ELECTRICAL power just like here. Amp and volts remained the same. SHAFT/mechanical power was PS - same idea as horsepower just not the same numbers. Then . . . cen-i-grate became Celsius. Why? Or is it the other way around? Well at least they both began with C.
Dynes replaced PS. Well OK I guess.
Then Joules replaced? the kill-o-dynes? and watts too? And now back to watts. With watts replacing ALL of the previous! Sorry my flexibility quits at a third fashion change.
So we will give up on our “small” US gallons ( much better than German m3’s in 0,01’s) and miles and inch fraction and our nice 180 degree scale thermometers versus a corse scale 100 degree one, just as soon as you’all will consistently at least quote Watts as kWme, kWel, kWth so we all know what the [email protected]@ is being compared and not some slippery slick salesman energy banana looking to strip us out of our pocket $$$'s.
Still friends man. We do both use logical 60 cycles per second ( yeah, Hertz’s now - see - Again!) instead of illogical, quaint 50 and 33 cycles per second. Yep. Next the SI folk will be Napoeonizing time itself, and getting us out of a 60 base system too, you watch!
SteveU. who owns and uses far more metric tools than inch standard.


Hey Steve,
All that you say is fair game. When I went to trade school for carpentry they had to teach us how to measure in inches. 8ths and 16ths seemed crazy then now its second nature. When you get engineered drawings on commercial sites here they are invariably in metric. Some will include Imperial measures with a disclaimer at the bottom saying they make no guarantees that the conversions are accurate. Fabricators work in metric, subtrades in imperial Then you have to go out to the lumberyards and purchase everything in Imperial even though most hardware is made in China which is metric but manufactured for the US market in imperial. We buy gas in litres but are more familiar with miles per gallon for fuel usage even if we are using a different gallon then the sticker says… Crazy crazy crazy. We have developed split personalities here about the two systems that sometimes drives you crazy.
PS> Ouch on the KWel, KWme it confuses me all the time. A weird world I guess.

Hey, the NOAA forcast for today includes a possibility of 1/10 to 1/4 inch of rain, What happened to 1/9 and 1/5??
Also, in Eugene, OR I used to drive by a Kingsford charcoal briquete plant all the time. They were making charcoal out of sawdust by the semi load.

It did run on wood. Pine lighter sticks. I saw this bike at my welding class one time. I asked the guy what was going on? was it burning pine tar? he said no. It was wood gas.Didn’t have time to explain and I had never heard of “Wood Gas” in 81 so I shook my head as he drove off thinking he had gas in the tank. He didn’t. and it ran off just like a bike should.

when I drove big trucks I used to figure out my fuel economy in miles/ US gallon, miles/ imperial gallon, L/ 100Km cause I knew someone would ask me one or the others depending on who I was talking to and where I was.