An introduction to Paul Halvorson
I had first heard of the concept of woodgas back in 2003,when a local mechanic told me that he had read about a Canadian servicemen relating a story from his experiences during WWII in Germany and how they put wood into a stove in the back of a car, made a fire and drove around on the smoke somehow.
I was intrigued but searches on the internet came up with nothing until 2005 when I saw an article on a FEMA gassifer. One bit of information led to another and finally I came across some articles from Mother Earth Magazine (MEN) from the 1970's and early 80's and I was hooked on the idea of driving with woodgas. I ordered the plans from MEN for $15 and began to scrounge and scavenge up the materials to begin building. The reason for choosing MEN was because I was a little skeptical of this woodgas and wanted a design that was proven. I bought an old beater Ford for $800 and in January 2007, cut the first old hot water tank and started into the woodgas project. Work on the gassifer was done after work in the evenings and weekends and all the work was done outside in the yard.
The system was finally hooked up and ready to fire up for the first time in September 2007 with help from my son Tom.
As of June 2008, we’ve put around 800 miles on the woodgas truck so far, using chunks cut from sawmill slabs and Apple, Plum, Pear and Cherry pruning from our fruit trees, cherry pits and even some Turkey scraps.
In mid June, I had the pleasure of meeting Werner from Sweden while he was in Canada building a woodgas system for some people in Vernon. He stayed at our home for a few days before flying out from Vancouver for home. Werner's knowledge and enthusiasm for woodgas is contagious and we spent hours looking over his documents and diagrams as he shared his experiences.
Another interesting Swede is Johan Linell, one of 3 men that drove a woodgas powered Volvo around Sweden "5420 km in 20 days, using 7 square meters of wood"
It's been a pleasure building and driving on woodgas and corresponding and exchanging ideas with other woodgassers around the world. There are some whose talents and interests are in designing woodgas systems and there are others like me that want a reliable system to enjoy and to help raise awareness in our communities of alternative energy sources to petroleum. People like Jeff Davis and Johan Linell who are applying the use of woodgas to farming and agriculture and others like Mike LaRosa who can take most anything and build a gassifer that runs a vehicle, they all have been inspirational.
I want to continue to build and drive woodgas vehicles and my next unit will probably be attached to a 35-50 HP tractor for use around our place. I like the idea of a tractor because of the many possibilities to drive electric generators or hydraulic or water pumps etc.
Here is a link to a thread on forestryforum.com that completely documents my progress building the gassifer.
Pemberton, BC, Canada
The Turkey leftovers in the lower right photo were added to the fuel hopper and consumed with the wood. Paul and his son took a nice drive on them, no smell of turkey.
These are some diagrams and pictures of Paul's unit.