Wood gas go kart

I have an idea for a wood gas powered go kart for a project in my high school shop class. I came across this site while researching my options. Ive seen tons of videos about imbert and downdraft designs, but most of them were running either cars or large generators, and all were much too big to fit on a go kart with a 5hp motor.

I have found a few videos, though, that are more like my idea.

The first one (link below) seems small enough to fit on a go kart if I play around with the setup, maybe putting the filtration system above the rider, mounted to a roll cage. The only problem with this design is that i don’t have any measurements, and as you can see in the video, he didn’t solve the tar problem. Does this mean his design is bad and its not getting hot enough to burn the tar before it comes out? If i could fix the tar problem would this be a good design for a my project?
heres the video

Now the second design i found is a crossdraft gasifier. This one also seems small enough to fit on the go kart, and the video goes into the design enough that i think I could build it. Would this design also be suitable to run the go kart? Are there any changes you would make to the design?

To conclude, i have an idea of converting a go kart with a 5hp motor to run on gas, and i am looking for a design that would be suitable to fit on the go kart, and also be powerful enough to run it. If y’all have any other ideas that you think would be better, I would love to hear them.

Thanks in advance!


My experience is with the Gary Gilmore’s SimpleFire which is a charcoal gasifier. He also shows how to make charcoal from wood to use as the fuel. The SimpleFire is very suited for small engines. I run a push mower with a small one, a grist mill with a medium size, and even a Toyota Corolla with a large one. Check out his video’s on YouTube. Also, there are many forum threads on this Drive on Wood forum dealing with the SimpleFire and Charcoal gasification.

Typically wood gasifiers work well with larger engines, but they are somewhat more complicated to build and operate. That is why I went with charcoal. Many others with more knowledge and experience than I have will chime in soon and give you more additional advice and information. You came to the right place. That will be a fun project. Good Luck!


Thank you, I’ll look into it!!


Welcome to the site stuski. As SteveB said. You are going to want to start with a simple fire charcoal reactor and I’d think about going with a flute nozzle. You can find all that on the site. A lot of us are running small gensets with those simple fires. Not hard at all.


Hi Steve,
I’ll chime in and agree with Steve and Tom. A charcoal gasifier is the easiest way to get started in my opinion too. I used @k_vanlooken’s ideas from Some school in Thailand.
I learned to make good charcoal in a TLUD (Top Lit Up Draft) when my neighbor said I could cut all the dead branches off his apple tree. I wanted it to use for grilling.

Making charcoal for the bbq.

My big TLUD makes about 30 gallons of charcoal at a time.

Charcoal from the big TLUD is fuel for my 3KW 1960s generator.

I also use charcoal in a make-shift forge. I really like the capability it gives me.


I’m currently building a raw wood unit for a smaller engine, but keep in mind it’s really more of a small engined tractor.

I would definitely go for a charcoal gasifier for a go kart. If you have a spare wood chipper you can use that to make really fine pieces of charcoal to run in the gasifier.

Biggest thing is to check for air leaks with soapy water while blowing air into the system.

Edit: here’s an abstract drawing I made for another forum for a motorized bicycle to give you the general idea of how its constructed.


For a gokart, l wuldnt think twice about making it charcoal powered. Raw wood gasifiers get complicated if you want to power wery large engines, but get SUPERcomplicated if you want to run small engines. Charcoal can power preety much as small engines as you want, l had a 50cc moped a while ago per instance. 2 stroke even! The gasifier is also much smaller and simpler


Just to show you what can be done with a “charcoal gasifier”. This is my favorite. I down loaded the picture but can’t remember any specifics on it. TomC


Wow, that would be perfect size for a go kart!


Thanks, The filter looks a lot easier than a wood gas setup!


Here is a video of the Honda cycle:


Now that is cool! Xr100 with a adult on it is pretty impressive. Makes ya wonder what a 600cc bike would do


It would go Brraaaaaapp! and then stop as you would be out of fuel!! lol


You could build this gasifier for your go kart. If you to youtube and go to my channel go to my videos and you will find the tutorials to build this.


High school shop class. Are you the teacher or the student? Either way it’s a great idea to get young people to understand that they don’t have to be totally dependent on outside industry for fuel. Make sure you keep us posted. A lot of people come here, get what they need and vanish. You should check out Jacob North’s thread, Woodgas 2020 again. He just graduated from high school and set out on a 7000 mile totally woodgas adventure. Just amazing.


Thank you Steve; I knew there was a video out with that picture but didn’t know where to find it. TomC


Hadnt seen this video in a while. Purrs so nice. With water injection instead of EGR it wuld be a rocket!