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Old 02-18-2010, 01:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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A number of years ago Popular Mechanics ran about an 80's Malibu wagon with a gassifier unit mounted on a trailer. They went across country from New York to California using only free construction wood scraps. Ash in the gas required them to change their oil often, but other than that there were no problems.

By the way these units can be made to run on coal as well. The more successful units had a gas scrubber to remove the particulate matter and thus solve the ash problem. This can be in the form of an element filter or as simple as bubbling the gas through a water maze. The Russians continued to use this technology many years after WWII because it was cheap, it worked and they had little in the way of fuel production or distribution infrastructure. The manifold mechanism is similar to using propane, NG, etc.

It does require you to bring the gassifier up to operating temperature before taking off so those five minute jaunts for a gallon of milk might take more like twenty or so. For those homesteader types it makes a viable electrical alternator fuel source for living off grid.
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