New to wood gasification - Advice needed

Greetings. I am after a bit of advice regarding a project I have lined up. The plan is to get an '06 Prius running on wood gas. Many of the car related projects I have seen seem to use older styled vehicles and was wondering if there were any potential show stoppers with using this as the car of choice for gasification. (With regards to packaging the gasifier to the car, it is not of concern, just need to get the engine running). What are some other common difficulties associated with these projects?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Hey Henri.

One concern I would have is the fact that the Prius shuts off it’s engine at times. Not sure if you can turn that off. My mother drives a 2012 Prius so maybe I’m too behind on knowledge of them.

You’d want a constant demand pulling on the gasifier, even if it’s just an idle.
I am also not sure how well the Atkinson cycle would react with woodgas, if the power loss would be worse than a standard Otto cycle engine.

It would definitely be a challenge for sure. Do you not have another vehicle you could experiment with?


What Cody said about the engine shutting down at times. Maybe Charcoal gasifier would be better than a wood gasifier. It would take some figuring out on this type of engine with it stopping and starting up on it’s own when driving down the road.


I gave my 2007 Prius a snort of woodgas from my truck. I seemed to like it. And I gave a generation 4 some charcoal gas off of the thrive off grid gasifier. Both ran but threw several codes. I never drove either car on wood. The starting and stopping would be terrible with a wood gasifier. The engine might shut off for 10 minutes and the start-up would result in tar fumes from a wood gasifier… Wood gasifiers like a steady draw of gas from them. Charcoal would be way better. Also there is a problem of pulling burnable gas (explosive) and mixing it with air and then the engine shuts off.


Yep, I would suggest another batter like a fork lift battery that one would charge with wood gas, then use inverter to charge the Prius. Will Prose on youtube charges his Tesla with Solar as I think about it…


Hi there, that’s a good point with regards to the start stop, will have to look into it. The reason for being a Prius is the project requires the use of a hybrid vehicle, which there is a relative abundance of (and also cheaper) compared to others available. Essentially we want to run the car on wood gas(or charcoal gas) and use the in-built electrical systems to retrieve electricity from the HV battery using an inverter. From the sounds of things, charcoal seems easier… With regards to the motor of the Prius itself, it is quite high in physical compression (not as a high as a diesel) but maybe that might be an issue as well.


Compression is no issue with woodgas, however in the Atkinson Cycle, the intake valve is left open much longer on the return stroke. I don’t know how that would affect the gas mixture or the cylinder filling with the gas mixture. With the Prius on gasoline, it’s no issue since the engine is fuel injected.

Would it be possible to use something like a Chevrolet Volt? Those are a Plug In Hybrid and thus require the engine to keep the battery system charged. Think of a Chevy Volt’s engine as purely a dynamo, the drivetrain is electric. I believe you can keep a Volt’s engine running. Like I said before, I’m a little behind on Toyota’s tech but the average Prius I know of have a CVT with engine driven drivetrain with an electric helper motor.

Also will this be for mobility or for generating electricity?


That’s very cool. What did it take to get it running? In your opinion would it be viable running a prius for a sustained period on charcoal? What sort of processes can be implemented to mitigate the burnable gas mixing with air when the air shuts off or is it a case of “turning off” the gasifier and letting the engine “run dry” so to speak? I guess this would assume overwriting the automatic shutting off of the engine…


I am not sure about all the codes it threw while running. How they would affect street performance. I just ran it a bit in the drive as an experiment. I used a scanner and reset the codes after the experiment. The engine in a Prius ends to “run on” “the Atkinson cycle” just a bit in a Prius on gasoline. Trying to overwrite the automatic engine shutoff would over charge the drive battery. It ran on a lot longer when it had woodgas about 1/2 power. I really didn’t think a Prius warranted the time and effort to convert . A better option would be an electric car and woodgas gererator to charge it. Most of my driving is about 6 miles tops one way. I really just figured finding a small car with a 4 cylinder on charcoal would be easier and serve better. I don’t go far and I don’t go fast. I had not really been looking as the mileage getters around here seem to go for a high price. Look at the Toyota on here on charcoal.


The gen2 prius only has a 1.3kwh NiMH air cooled battery in it. only like 50% of it is usable. If you are looking at this for a standalone generator. You WILL need to have additional batteries, replace the charge controller, and mess around with a few other electronics. I honestly don’t know how big the onboard generator is or whether it is getting all of its power from the regenerative brake circuit. It can only run on battery from like 0-25mph and 25-55mph it uses both gas and electric and over 55mph it is all gas.

Now there were people that hacked the first generation prius and added chargers and larger battery packs. I would probably look there first.