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Bio-Diesel and Alternative Fuels Discussion of biodiesel (homegrown or store bought) and other alternative fuels for diesel-powered vehicles.

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Old 11-16-2011, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wood gasification for a diesel engine

A wood gasifier breaks wood down to carbon monoxide and hydrogen. I was wondering if this could be used in a diesel engine.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Might be a bit hard to get that to work with the IP
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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By the time you cut enough wood to get anywhere I don't think you would care whether or not it would work. Gassification also produces many other undesirable products that would either have to go through the engine or be eliminated first.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Actually, wood contains volatiles, many of which are flammable. The tall oil and turpines can be fractionated, like petroleum, into various cuts that will run on gasoline and diesel engines. If the wood products industry understood this, they could increase their profit margin by providing tall oil and turpines to the fuel stream, but the petroleum industry would most probably have to be forced to accept them, just as ethanol additions to the fuel stream had to be legislated.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure that you could use it on a diesel engine. I think this is for carb applications only.

For those of you who would like more info...
Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

I think you can find some more videos on this out there on how they filter the gasses so they are ready for the engine... it appears to be way more time consuming than WMO in the short term, but may be better in the long term (not always filtering and blending!)
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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By the time you cut enough wood to get anywhere I don't think you would care whether or not it would work. Gassification also produces many other undesirable products that would either have to go through the engine or be eliminated first.
I want to use this to power a tractor.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I want to use this to power a tractor.

If you go forward with this takes lots of pics & keep us updated.
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I want to use this to power a tractor.
What tractor do you have in mind?
Where whould you put all of the equipment? (the wood stove and filters)
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Old 11-19-2011, 07:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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What tractor do you have in mind?
Where whould you put all of the equipment? (the wood stove and filters)
I'm not entirely sure yet but maybe a John Deere 4440. I could mount it where the rock box is, the saddle tank mounts, or maybe put it on the 3 point hitch or whatever implement I'm pulling it with.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm not entirely sure yet but maybe a John Deere 4440. I could mount it where the rock box is, the saddle tank mounts, or maybe put it on the 3 point hitch or whatever implement I'm pulling it with.

haha, small world. I live on a farm and we have a 4440 as well.

I don't think you can use the concept of wood gasification on a diesel engine. I think that you need to use it on a gas motor with a carburator. I don't think you would want to run your IP dry (not using diesel and using wood gas) and I don't know if the wood gasses would even combust in a diesel engine like in a gas engine with a spark plug. I also think the amount of fuel that these old 4440 tier 4 deere engines need to operate would require way more wood than the guys pick up truck in the video.


Have you considered running the deere off of WVO, WMO, or biodiesel instead? The reason we do not on our farm is just the mass quantity of fuel we use on a daily basis, no time for making batches of WVO/WMO fuel.
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Some time back in the 1970s the folks at the original Mother Earth News did just that. They used sawdust and a slant 6 if memory serves me. You might try digging into old library archives for back issues.
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Cummins and Caterpillar built engines to run on "Swampgas" which is methane gas from landfill.
In China Cummins [ Yes they build engines there too ] build natural gas engines by converting a diesel to spark ignition and using a gas carburettor.
Wood / Coal gas was very popular in NZ during and post WWII [ because of fuel rationing ] my granddad used "coalgas" on tractors during the war

Wood gas is BAD for coking up an engine due to all the impurities in it. The most successfull automotive engine converted to woodgas is a "flathead" dodge 6 cyl. On theses engines you can pull the head and de-coke the engine in a very short timeframe [ they also pull good torque down low RPM ]
Woodgas has a low BTU rating so expect a large loss in power

Because NZ has a huge forrestry industry , the NZ govt set up several projects in the 70's and 80's for renewable energy and woodgas got our attention. One of the best in the business [worldwide] is Doug Williams from a company called Fluidyne NZ . he has set up huge gasifiers for energy recovery worldwide [ google it ]

A better form of gasification is to make "Syngas" [also called "blue water gas" ] from coal.
Basically coal is heated to over 1000c then steam is drawn through it. The result is a very pure gas with a much higher BTU value. The equation is C + H2O = [ CO + H2 ]

Syngas is made from an endothermic reaction so it requires heat to be added to process it.
To do this you need a 2-way gasifier ,using both updraft and downdraft in cycles.

On the updraft cycle air is blown through "Tuyeres"[ nozzles] to create heat on an exothermic cycle by combusting with the coal [ there is a smokestack on top of the gasifier ]
After the temps reach above 1000c [ the coal is glowing red hot ] the tuyeres and smokestack are blocked off and steam is sprayed onto the hot coals from the top and the syngas is drawn off the bottom. This is the endothermic cycle so it will slowly cool down .

Usually the gasifier is cycled 1 minute up and 6 minutes down, so if you need a continuous supply the best results are from 2 gasifiers in opposite cycles.

The downside to running internal combustion engines on gas [ wood or syn ] is heat! the gas needs to be cooled down to help the engine produce power. The hot induction of gas / air realy robs power.
Gas engines are more sutable to constant demand [ eg: gensets or pumps ] where the throat size of the gasifier can be calculated for the demand of the engine.

On a diesel tractor there would be far less effort using WVO / WMO than feeding a gasifier

If you do want to build a gasifier , don't use steel but cast one up out of refractory cement [ it is more efficient,and safer to use ]
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Woodgas has a low BTU rating so expect a large loss in power
Or it can be used in air intake after filter as I do on LPG,1-2 psi just for combustion
and watch EGT (I don`t have),that way is good for disel.
But lool like too complicated for me,I like simple way as much as I can.
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You can run a diesel engine on woodgas. But... you must either use about 15% diesel (adding the woodgas like you would propane) or add a spark plug instead of an injector. It's much like running a diesel on methane or landfill gas.

The challenge is filtration. Like kerrynzl said, there is a real tendency to gunk up your engine with soot. However, I've worked with over half a dozen different gasifiers and all but a couple of them have been downdraft style, not updraft and downdraft at the same time or using two together. And, the overall process is not endothermic. There are a bunch of chemical reactions going on within a gasifier... like a thermochemical symphony. Overall, a gasifier will generate more heat than it consumes. We're talking about a process that runs at about 1650 degrees F.

Ultimately, I want to use gasification to run a generator and congenerate heat for process applications.

I just bought a '95 F-150 with a 300 six as a test mule. First, I want to see what it takes to run 100% ethanol (no gasoline at all) and later to run it on woodgas. No question of "if" but more about "how well". Bump the compression, change the timing and most important of all... filtration!

To put it into perspective, woodgas typically has about 10% of the BTU as propane.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Todd,

The actual gas producing process of Syngas/ Woodgas IS endothermic which is why the gassifier cools down on this cycle . The Combustion cycle is Exothermic.[ all combustion is ]

Most downdraft wood gassifiers are a combination of both cycles that work together simultaneously ,so there are calculations for the throat size etc to make them work correctly.
In a Wood gasifier the gas has a lot of nitrogen dilution because of the 2 processes working simultaneous in the same chamber . [ which is why woodgas has a low BTU content.]


The syngas process was invented in 1850 by sir William Siemens to overcome the nitrogen dilution of the gas

Basically all he did was separate the Endothermic reaction from the Exothermic reaction by using cycles


The Siemens process was used in all the Towngas plants all over Europe at the old "Gasworks" until the 1940's


Stolen from the web just for you;

The incandescent fuel bed would be alternately blasted with air followed by steam. The air reactions during the blow cycle are exothermic, heating up the bed, while the steam reactions during the make cycle, are endothermic and cool down the bed. The products from the air cycle contain non-caloric nitrogen and are exhausted out the stack while the products of the steam cycle are kept as blue water gas. This gas is composed almost entirely of CO and H_2 , and burns with a pale blue flame similar to natural gas. BWG has a CV of 11 MJ/m^3 (300 Btu/ft^3 (std)).*

Wood gas has about 135 BTU/ cubic FT


None of these fuels [ including propane injection ] have the same BTU content of D2, so why substitute a good fuel for a poor fuel? [ unless you have an endless supply of waste fuel ! eg: dry wood chips ]
You'd be better off using WMO/ WVO
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