Greetings from Spain!. Woodgas tractor wannabe :-)

Sure! 100% Agree!. I’ve failed so many times and so miserably, losing vast ammounts of money that I’ve becomed nr.1 fan of K.I.S.S methodology (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Unfortunatelly for me, appears Mr Keith book is no longer available for selling overseas. I’d be glad to buy a pdf copy if available,

Plan is cloning as much as possible from proven designs, but with my fuel limitations…hard woodchips and eventually, almond shells so unfortunatelly for me, some research will be needed. I guess gasifier behaviour won’t be the same than a woodchunk gasifier, as contact area between charcoal and “air” will be much greater but the “air” passage channels between “micro-chunks” will be much lower. My guess is effective charcoal contact area / total charcoal volume will be greater with woodchips than woodchunks but, as mentioned above, charcoal chunk “life” will be much shorter.
I am considering some ways of moving without needing a full reassembly the nozzles number and position in order to find the best possible setup for my fuel, but by now, it’s just a forming idea in my head.

As told before, automatic feed should be almost a “must”, or at least, having a hooper good enough for 4 to 6 hours of continous operation (start in the morning, stop for lunch, me and the tractor and then return until dusk)
Pyrotouch system or something related (an external electrical shaker via a rotating counterweigth) could be a good method to avoid bridging issues or even grate cleaning.

Thanks again for the feedback and advice!




The old saying, “fat, dumb and happy” hits the nail on the head.



who’s calling me ? :grin:


Hi LuisM,
Actually fruit pits and stones like peach, apricot, plumb and cherry have been found to be the Ideal shape volume for excellent gasification. These only point of contact touch. And leave excellent gasses and heats flow exchanges pathways.

These are the shapes that should be emulated in a ground-up, densified, formed, fuel pellet. NOT a round rod tube pellet.
Look into maybe converting your almond shell crush into these.

Your almond tree limb/branch pruning trimmings look into the pinch-snip “Rebak” north-eastern European systems versus rotary grind chipping. Too much power to chip. Too many made fines.

Steve Unruh


Unfortunatelly, there is no comercial avalable “rebak” chipper systems here, and thus, I have to test with what is readily available and reasonably priced.

I’m expecting having this sort of fuel.

Probably would need some classification before puting into a gasifier, but at least, woodchips like those are what is needed in biomass boilers.

Disc chippers seems to be mechanically simpler than a bucket hinge and are pretty affordable (about 1200USD this one…)

Wood chipper manufacturer claims 20hp needed, so, it is possible to move even with my “soon-to-be-gasified” fordson major clone, and even in the case would not fit, can be reselled with a minor loss.

More updates soon…

PS: Learning a lot and enjoying (green with envy) with a lot of incredible projects here…

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Hi Lewis,
Sounds like you are on your way. As for fuel, chipwise it looks pretty good.
However, I would weed out the longer pieces to help reduce the chances
of them matting a blockage. Save them and run them through the chipper again.


Not to be “Mr. Obvious”, but wouldn’t it be simpler to find a spark-ignition gasoline/petrol/benzine tractor to run on producer gas? Diesels are more valuable as an unmodified diesel here. I know of several spark-ignition tractors converted very successfully, without major modifications to the engine. :upside_down_face:


Unfortunately, gas prices in this side of the pond have alwais been highly taxed. (Current gas prices are about 1.3-2 usd/liter, liter, not gallon…). Have always been this way. This taxed prices and having a less taxed agricultural diesel made gasoline tractor something extremelly rare here. It is posible to find some but they are a) crap for being left rust or b) museum pieces beautifully restored and so, awfully expensive.

Furthermore, gas tractors are small and technologically primitives (not even drawbar force/deep control), nor power steering, nor double plate clutch… resuming, not able of doing some “real work” for me.
Diesels are much more common (1000 to 1 or even more), so the offer and the availability of spare parts are way better.

I fancy withthe idea of higher compression ratio of diesels makes them ideal for woodgas conversion…

BUT! if I can find a flathead V8 and can make the swap to my fordson major clone, as a petrolhead… (sorry… wooodgashead… :sweat_smile:) I’d go for it …



Thanks! Learning new things every day! :grin:


One of the great old tractors!

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That tractor can move fast down the road.


Also, eating the raw bitter seeds inside them have been shown to prevent cancer in humans and to promote longer life span.


Good to see you here and chirping Steve , you are a living legend of woodgas…
Glad you are still at it…
Tom Lambert.
Wandering River. Alberta


Exercise caution there. There is naturally occurring cyanide in the pits and some other toxins, even apple seeds have toxins, but in small doses. Crushed cherry pits smell like almond because of tye cyanide.
This may not be an argument against the medicinal properties, maybe an argument for. But dicey.


Thinking about this… That Ford Fergie has a flat-head V8 kit installed, from a long time ago. I have seen one up close at our local Indiana, USA tractor shows. 99.5% of those have a 4 cyl. gasoline engine. That gas tax thing explains why all European tractors seem to be diesel, now. In the USA, the small diesel tractors bring a heavy price increase over a similar gasoline powered version. Of course, all the larger and huge tractors (and other heavy equipment) have been diesel for many decades. Note that Ford has no power steering, It would be considered a “primitive” and used for pulling wagons, mowing and such. It is also a restored antique and would bring a high price. I toyed with the idea of finding a small tractor with PTO, even the crummy worn-out brand-x ones bring a good price. I don’t want a show pony either. So, I guess in your case, find a good machinist / mechanic to help convert a diesel to spark ignition, unless you can do that yourself! Or do an engine swap of some fashion.


Sure!. I fancy with 2 ideas.
First and most probable, straight conversion of the Ebro (fordson):
pros: 0 purchase cost, spare cyl head to “play”
cons: that position of the injectors, that engine suffered a piston seizure some years ago and was miserabily repaired. Just removing the pistons, careful sanding and… running until today. Probably not in her better days.
but… fordson major “clone” can be found from 1 to 2 grands and are plenty of them, so, switching the gasifier from one to another would be pretty simple and affordable.

Second: Purchasing a new tractor, same tranny but fitted with a 4 or 6 pots perkins engine, with external injectors,
pros: machining would be easy, some moder features as full closed cabin, a bit more juice…
cons: money. Purchasing cost just for tractor is about what probably would be needed for the whole gasifier setup

So, seems reasonable “fail” as cheap as possible, and go for the major…

I can do most of the conversion on my own. Probably only injector holes will be left to a (friend) machinist. I have also to do some math in order to decide if pistons needs to be shaved in order lower the compression ratio.

PS: Iv’ve followed Mike suggestion and have had a look on the adverts pages and I’ve seen in my nearby a gas tractor, a Renault e30, so 30 hp on gas.
pros: pretty damm cheap, 600 usd.
cons: total lack of power on woodgas for doing any work. Extreme rare unit here, no spare parts at all. Seems to be made in the early sixty’s and have not run in no less than 20 years… guess she is not my lady.



Hello Luis/LewisM.
I’d like to hear more about “things we discovered the hard way”, as relates to arduino. We have a small arduino group in my area and have done some pretty involved stuff with them. It would be good to hear about limitations that you found. We too, have dealt with noise issues and are still doing so, but we find many uses that are trouble free, too.

By the way, I’d like to hear more about your JXQ-10. It appears the your machine is newer than mine:

Regarding wood chips:
In my limited experience, small wood chippers make small wood chips.
To me, “Small” is anything below about 50 horsepower. And, I’d never chip anything smaller than a 1 inch diameter branch. Whole tree chipping is best.

Pete Stanaitis


Slitely toasted are better, this to open de cells and they liberate the “goodies” inside and oils without dameging their health propeties.



Sorry for being silent for a while. I’m in a rush these last weeks and hopefuly will have some relief next week. (pray for it).
I’ll try to produce a longer post next week for responding Pete. BTW, I contacted you by mail just before purchasing, was 2014. If you check your mail will find some mails we exchanged. You gave me invaluable help!. Thanks!


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Hi. Finally got some time to write… sorry again for being silent for a while. An unexpected event has trapped me and has been finally succesfully sorted.

A few weeks ago I received the woodgas builder bible and am starting to read it. As my wood won’t be wood chunks plan is to “upgrade?” the propossed design with some features:
· some kind of shaker / remover… in order to avoid bridging. What I like the most is the “pyrotouch” system from drizzler gasifier
· eccentric air jets for quick (on-the-go?) air injection position change. Stainless eccentrics can be found as they are used for plumbing (most of them are brass but stainless is also possible) . Just a picture of what I’m talking about…
· cyclone filter

@spaco, regarding arduinos: just consider they don’t mix specially well with industrial enviroments with lots of electromagnetic noise. Prototypes that run fine on the bench tend to freeze with no apparent reason in a industrial enviroment. For standalone they are ok, but when they have to work on a hard enviroment they tend to fail misserably. Only way of making them run is to isolate all the inputs/outputs with optocouplers and make independent isolated power supply in order to make sure they are completely isolated. Share just a ground of a sensor and its gone…but that means the cost of the whole setup is close enough to some “real” PLC.
Internal voltage reference is not extremely god (in fact it is quite bad). Just put some serious volt meter (not just a volt-meter-shaped-object, aka VMSO) with 4 decimal places and you will see the figures up and down.
As analog outputs are referenced to that voltage, expect 1 to 3 units (in 1024) drift. This may be OK in some circumstances but not in others.
And finally, regarding the jxq-10A. Basically is same machine than yours. Gasifier itself is the same (I checked it with your blueprints) and filter has only a small pot outside. I cannot figure out which purpose serves. Guess is some kind of water/oil separator but never have trapped anything but water there. Besides, cooler was disconnected in the conversion…

Regading tractror, I’ve found a pretty decent gasoline tractor in the nearby. I’ll probably pay a visit to see if she runs… I’ll keep you updated.