Wood gas tour bus

Hello there Wayne and the Drive on Wood Family,

Meet Omingnome, an environmentally conscious group of musicians seeking to be pioneers in the world of wood gasification for musicians. The band recently raised enough money on Kickstarter for a tour bus. Originally the band was going to convert their bus to run on waste vegetable oil, however after months of research they found that WVO and BioDiesel are really just band-aid solutions to a much greater problem involving our country’s dependence on fossil fuels and fast food.

Wood Gasification sparked the bands interest quite recently. Though some of the members, whom have been looking into WVO came across Wood Gasification on some alternative fuel websites and articles, the idea to actually pursue as a means to power their upcoming US tour it a very recent idea. Upon talking to a dear friend named Brian Winslette, whom started Blue Ridge BioFuels in Asheville, NC, the idea of Wood Gasification for a tour bus started to seem more real for the gnomes.

The band may come off a bit goofy being ‘gnomes’ - but the band takes their message very seriously and wishes to fulfill the role of the gnome as a protector of the forest or environment. The band will be embarking on a 10-week-long tour starting on November 20th, 2014 that will take them from their hometown in Savannah, GA, up the east coast to New York City and then across the entire nation, our to San Francisco and back around February 1, 2015. This tour is intended to not only spread their music, but mostly the message behind the music and by driving a carbon neutral vehicle, they feel they can truly practice what they preach. If all goes well with this tour and equipping their vehicle with a wood gasification system, the band would be more than willing to spread the good word of wood gasification to their fans and to various music festivals in Summer 2015 and beyond - through workshops, interviews, blogs, etc.

The gnome’s would love to speak to Wayne and the Drive on Wood family about installing a system on their bus. We would surely appreciate a response and we can send you more information regarding the make and model of the bus, our budget from Kickstarter that we have allocated to running on alternative energy, and more about what we can do to raise awareness in regards to the benefits of Wood Gasification.

Thank you,
Tyler Cutitta





Omingnome Kombucha Single Release - YouTube Kombucha

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCx2z9n3dGQ Promo


Hi Tyler,

Thanks for reaching out. Certainly an interesting idea, and kudos for your efforts to be green and reduce your footprint. I’ll help as best I can.

With the budget you mentioned, you may get the attention of one of our members, who can build you one.

A few caveats. Be aware that you’re on a pretty tight time frame. These builds take time, 250+ hours of labor, (also labor’s not cheap). Getting done before your tour will be a tight squeeze. Wood gasification is more complex than WVO, and more expense is involved with the build. For what you want done, and the time constraints you’re under, I’d budget at minimum $10K for the woodgas conversion. You’ll have to talk to whoever builds it and get a better estimate.

Diesel engines don’t convert easily, you’ll want a gasoline powered rig. Fuel economy may be an issue - a loaded bus will burn 2-3 pounds of wood per mile. If you pile on a lot of wood, you’ll lose storage space for equipment. Wood needs to be reasonably dry, you won’t be chopping up green limbs to feed your gasifier. Do you have a good source of fuel? You’ll need 6-10 tons of dry wood for the route mentioned (GA to NYC to SF to GA, 6500 miles). All must be processed into chunks about egg or fist size. It can certainly be done, Wayne himself did a cross country tour in a Dodge truck, packing all his own wood. Start cutting wood now, so it has time to dry…

Speeds will be lower, because engine power is significantly down (about 30%). You’re in a heavy vehicle with reduced power, it won’t go fast. You’re looking at 50-60 MPH tops, slower on hills. Is this acceptable for your tour schedule?

Good luck with your project!

Tight schedule is an understatement. What Chris described is only 25% of the process. One of Wayne’s common sayings (in case you haven’t already read it) is that driving on wood is 25% machine and 75% operator. If you could afford to take Wayne along with you on your tour, I’d say you’ve got a good shot at it. If not (probably not) there will invariably be things that come up that you won’t have any idea how to deal with. So much depends on things like fuel size, fuel moisture, surrounding temperature, humidity, etc., plus these systems can be just plain quirky at times. Want guaranteed results? Use spec fuel. Otherwise, you’re entering into a real adventure that you simply might not have enough clock hours to master between now and then.

One of our members, Dutch John says on his website “Over time, you will agree with me that woodgasification is female…”

Are you ready to “get married?”

(EDIT) On second thought, maybe you could take Chris along - he’s a decent fiddle player from what I’ve seen. :slight_smile:

Good point Alex. Without much experience operating it, you could easily wind up ruining your machine… it takes time and miles to learn the ropes. Miles you’ve got… time, not so much. Just reading everything on this site will take you at least 2-3 months.

You’ll definitely need the fossil fuels on board for a backup. Hopefully you won’t have to use them the whole way.

Not coming on the trip, sorry… sounds like fun though!

Tyler, Nice idea but you are planning on making your trip the worst time of year. Snow and sub freezing temps are the key issues … I have always wanted to convert a school bus to haul some of these local biker gangs to the casinos in the area … Too old to do it now … Regards, Mike LaRosa


Chris, judging from the two videos Tyler posted, you might be passing up on the chance at an interesting winter :wink:

Although, it doesn’t look like they have very many songs with fiddle breaks . . . .

Not to be argumentative but your mileage and speeds seem very optimistic for a bus don’t they Chris. Full size trucks aren’t doing that well are they? I think Henry said he was burning 4-5 pounds per mile If i’m not mistaking? would it not take two gasifires to even stand a chance on a full grown bus loaded with the weight of 2 Dakotas in fuel alone? I’m just trying to put this in perspective for my own needs as well

Jim, for some reason my truck sucked up a hopper in 30 miles on my weekend trip to the Fighting Bob Fest. I ran soft maple on the first leg. Lots and lots of condensate. On the way home I loaded all hardwoods first and then some Argos wood and then hardwoods … It did around 50 miles but I shut it down when I had to stop in town etc etc etc … It’s hard to figure. You need to pay attention to what is going on. Sue (wifey) kept reading me the temperatures so I could safely negotiate the hills and shift and adjust mixture etc etc. I got close to burn up temperature on one several mile hill. My meter in that truck is in centigrade so I had to have her read the conversion chart so we wouldn’t go over 457 F where the tape would start to burn … fun fun fun … I wanted to drive home on gasoline but she wouldn’t let me … I was pooped from a day on concrete … M

Thank you all for your responses - of course I wish the response was closer to making this a reality - but who’s to say that this can’t be one in the future.

Even though some of us are fairly mechanically inclined - this is surely new territory for us. Our rational in Wood Gasification was mostly comparative to WVO on the road. WVO is becoming further and further from free or cheap. Wood however, is usually available nearly everywhere on craigslist - and quite often free - especially for unseasoned wood (which to my understanding is ideal - 30% moisture VS seasoned dry wood). We figured with 6 or 7 of us on the road calling and finding solid sources as close to the highways as possible we would be able to locate a good amount of free wood - ideally not too far off route. We also were planning on building a Wood Chunker - potentially as a trailer to make stops for wood quicker. Basically though we would pay more for a Wood Gas Conversion (we were hoping to hear closer to $6k or $7k VS a high-end WVO [$4.5-$5K ] conversion - we would save money on fuel, hoping wood would be as available as we would hope and have found thus far.

I feel perhaps later next year, granted touring starts paying off - perhaps we will be able to bring someone with us to be a full time Wood Gasification Mechanic and also perhaps opt for a more ideal engine. Now we are working with a 1996 Frieghtliner Shuttle Bus with a 5.9L Cummins 12v with the Bosh P7100 inline injection pump (which is supposedly one of the best ever for WVO and BioDiesel) which also would lead to me believe it would be ideal for Wood Gasification as fas as diesels go.

Would anyone have any suggestions for larger vehicles - ideal engines / makes. Ford V10 Shuttle Busses? Gas School Buses even?

Thank you all!
Much Love,

Tyler, please read Chris’ response above again before you get too far in your planning. There are a couple things in your last post that might need re-thinking. First is that 30% moisture is not generally considered ideal. We like it below 20% or the drier the better, and second a diesel engine with more than 16 or 17 to 1 compression which most modern diesel engines are these days is also not ideal and probably will knock and pre-ignite on woodgas. Planning is fun but can also be expensive without the right information. Good luck!

Don, I am not a guru of woodgas, but I have read quite a bit on this site about it in the past couple months. These from folks with plenty of experience with it. I have read that 1)advanced ignition timing is better with woodgas. 2)the more advanced the timing, the better. 3)If you could start ignition the moment the intake valve closes, that would be ideal. 4)Diesel engines on woodgas require some diesel injection in order to compression ignite.

Now my thinker tells me that if a diesel engine has a compression ratio of 17:1, then that’s peak compression. So midway up the compression stroke, the ratio passes 10:1, the range for a spark ignited gas engine. If that’s where the woodgas would “pre-ignite” then that’s good; it would be a 90 degree advanced ignition timing. However, that doesn’t fit with point 4 that woodgas requires diesel fuel to compression ignite. The only situation where the pre-ignition would be bad is if the high temperatures inside the combustion chamber would cause pre-ignition before the intake valve closes, causing a backfire up the intake manifold. But again, that still doesn’t fit with point 4. If that were true, then point 4 would instead be, “Diesels cannot run on woodgas because the high temperatures in the combustion chamber will cause backfires up the intake manifold when the intake valves open to let in mixed fuel and oxygen.”

Not only that, but my seer saw and my hearer heard Wayne run a diesel engine on woodgas, So it seems to be possible to feed woodgas into the intake of a diesel engine and have it run. If you or someone else can help me understand this better, I would certainly appreciate it!

Diesels are hard, guys. You’re adding another 4-5K to your expenses doing a diesel vs gasoline. I don’t even know anyone off hand who will do the conversion. 5.9 Cummins won’t work without serious mods.

An engine swap can be done, to get you from diesel to gasoline/woodgas. A Dodge V10 will directly bolt up in place of the 5.9 Cummins. This is the motor Wayne’s running on his farm truck, which works quite well. More $$ going this route than just finding a gas-powered bus to start with. But will let you follow through on WVO for this season, and do woodgas later on.

Not sure who told you higher moisture is better, it’s not. Drier is better - always. You can’t use pure green wood with any gasifier I know of. You may run across dry wood on the road side, but I’d plan on arranging for all your fuel in advance.

If you’re looking at towable chunkers, here’s a very good off-the-shelf unit, with built in bagging. http://en.stepkovac.com/products/branch-logger-smh70/ It will set you back about $6,000, but will be fast and reliable. Not sure about importing it, more $$ there.

Jim, I think my numbers are accurate. Henry was getting poor mileage until he fixed some gasifier issues, but is now getting 1.5-2 lbs mile pretty regularly. About 16 lbs/gallon for a Keith gasifier, and a bus would get around 5-8, depending on the bus. Hence my number of 2-3 pounds per mile.


You’re missing one thing on the spark advance; the higher the compression, the less advance you need overall. So by the time you reach 17:1 (laboratory maximum for woodgas), the woodgas is being fired at only 6 degrees advance. At higher compressions you’ll get pre ignition even without spark advance.

Diesels these days are often 22:1 or higher; the 5.9 Cummins is exactly 17:1; theoretically this will work but I suspect it’s too high in practice. I’ve never seen one converted at this high compression.

What you need to do for a diesel is three things. Lower the CR a bit with thicker head gaskets; harden the valve seats (diesel lubricates, woodgas doesn’t), and add an ignition system, with timing control capabilities, via computer or mechanical advance.

The advantage to a diesel is the efficiency - you should see about 50% better economy and power. The disadvantage is cost and reliability.

Hi All
I keep hearing this woodgasing diesels spew too as duel fuel.
Of course it can be done - read the original Gengas for how many way they were forced to “needs-must” have to modify adapt.
Read the detailed later Swedish report on their long term use in the Ag tractor and Ag delivery truck. Each with a different injector system. Each needing a different modification solution - one suffered multiple injection system damage until they did get it right. In each case the hired farm workers would by-pass avoid using them in favor of easy-start, no-woodgas needed maintaineces and refueling needed, straight diesel tractors and trucks.
Hot ran loaded engine fueling 85% on woodgas with only very low “idle” levels of diesel injection systems flow tended to overheat/cook/coke up damage thier diesel fuel injectors.

Very telling that the outright very diesel expereinced engine manufactuers like Caterpiller, Cummins, Practash, Dresser-Rand subsidiaries, when they supply gasious intended fueled engines they ALWAYS spark convert their engines.
Reason? Precise ignition timing controllably. Compression ignition your ignition timing point will float around change as the engine heats being worked. Float some with different ambient air temperatures. Deisel with it’s high centane rating this can be handled. Put in a variable quality, non-spec gaseous fuel like woodgas and your ignition timing point is all over the board.
WHY India IISC abandoned duel fueling. Went to spark ignition engine by either Practash or Cummins-India.

Thanks for the clarification Chris. I would have never dreamed of that mileage moving that kind of load on wood at that speed. BBB

Heck I bought some gasoline today at the local pump and the octane must be tooooooo low. Good thing I had the timing control to retard the timing … It was way beyond what the computer could handle by itself … It was tough on the starter … M