Over one year ago, I began my first woodgas project, the Mazda truck that ran on gasified wood chunks. I spent thousands of hours on this project and learned a lot about wood gas and different types of gasifiers. We built two separate experimental cooling systems for the gasifier and drove over 90 miles on wood gas.
I'm actually planning another experimental vehicle as a future project. Now that I am a little wiser on the subject, I am looking for a vehicle that has easily adjustable ignition timing and I will design a simpified gasifier that can be easily modified. Along with it, I would like to implement a more basic, lighter weight, and convection-style cooler /condenser.
The engine itself runs on the gasses produced in a greatly choked fire. The flammable gasses are Hydrogen, Methane and Carbon Monoxide. To get a suitable amount of these gasses requires specific conditions in the combustion chamber.
The basic premise of using woodgas in automobiles is well known and was most popular during World War II, when petroleum fuel shortage was always a concern. There are many different designs for gasification systems, however, and if you are considering modifying your own vehicle, you will possibly have to pay someone for his or her plans.
My design is a modification of other plans I had found, and almost the entire system is made from recycled or salvaged materials. The only byproducts of woodgas are water, soot, and creosote, which are the same as using a woodstove in your home. Also, the carbon released in the burning process is the same amount the wood would naturally release as it decomposed, meaning woodgas fuel is nearly carbon neutral as far as atmospheric pollution is concerned. And let's not forget, you can always grow more trees, whereas oil takes millions of years and conditions that are just right.