The idea is to have a car that can run on a fuel that is produced from a sustainable source. Well, how about trees? They are a sustainable source and their wood chips can be used as a source for alternative fuels.
But wait. Before you get crazy that this is a new technology never seen before and will take a while to develop, the truth is that cars that worked on wood has been in our past.
Severe rationing of gas during World War II sparked European farmers to attach wood burning chambers on to the back of their motorized equipment.
Fast forward to today. When a CAD designer at a Pennsylvania architectural design firm named Robert Beam learned of the feasibility of wood as a source for alternative fuel, he went to work re-constructing his Isuzu Trooper. His work created a vehicle that has no moving parts and no engine modifications. Instead, there is a big metal shielded heat chamber on the truck’s bed. A pipe runs from the chamber directly to the engine’s air cleaner. When the wood in the chamber is burning, a battery-powered blower creates a suction that turns the burning matter into vapor fuel. When the engine is running, it draws the fuel in through the air cleaner.
Beam admitted that performance of the vehicle is cut in half. So an engine designed to reach a top speed of 120 mph on gasoline might reach 60 mph on the vapor fuel. There are also problems with such issues as efficiency in miles per pound — the car travels a mile per each pound of wood and that translates to 6 miles per gallon of gas. There are also regulatory issues that must be met.
Still, there are others who have converted their cars to run on burning wood. Several projects are detailed on video or photos at websites that can be found by googling “wood gas.”