Frequently Asked Questions!
Often we get the same question over and over again, personally I hate FAQ's However I have seen the light! This is a work in progress so I will add more later.
#1) Why don't you make the woodgas at home and then compress it in a tank and drive on the tank of compressed woodgas.
A) Well their are actually four reasons.
1) Woodgas is a extremely low BTU fuel it only has 150btu's per cubic foot, making it very bulky and even if you compressed it to 3600psi you would not get any driving range out of the tanks as woodgas is used in a 1:1 fuel air mixture. The range of a 100 gallon tank compressed to 3600psi would be less than two miles.
2) When you compress woodgas to extremely high pressures you are forcing the mixed gas content closer together and the free hydrogen will steal the O off of the CO sooting out the carbon and forming water. It is also speculated that the same thing slowly happens with CO under high compression. The CO will soot out a C to make CO2.
3) If it were possible to put woodgas into a tank, it could lead to possible tax liability issues in some states as fuel is often taxed by the content of a filled tank.
4) Nature has already done an excellent job of compressing this bulky fuel, it is called wood!
#2) Can you use woodgas to generate electricity?
A) Yes, However stationary woodgas production is much more involved than other mobile applications. In a mobile application the normal bumps in the road help eliminate fuel bridging and keep the grate shaken to keep the ash moving. Moreover running woodgas derates the HP output of a gasoline engine by at least 25% this can become a problem when trying to get the rated KW out of a genhead. Also running a woodgas generator for an hour is one thing but when you look at the feasibility of continuous use, like refueling and hot ash removal, all while working on a very WARM unit, it becomes less attractive. In my humble opinion, I think that using woodgas for electricity production is best suited to short ( 1 or 2 hour) runs to charge low batteries on an existing wind or PV system.
#3) Can you use other fuels besides wood?
A) Yes other carbon based fuels can be used. I know of at least one person who has run his unit on dried chicken dung! Jeff Davis has done a fair amount of testing with agglomerated biomasses. I hope to do some testing on the waste byproduct of mustard seed used in making biodiesel, it doesn't have any use as animal feed and is considered waste.