Exploring The Wood Gas Vehicle


By Levi Quinn

There are many types of vehicles that existed long before the petroleum and diesel burning vehicles that we have today. One of these vehicles is the wood gas vehicle from the World War II era. It is not still in production today but science is considering all possibilities when it comes to creating fossil fuel alternatives. The wood gas car used several decades ago was at that time an alternative to those who had little other alternative.

The wood gas vehicle was used during the war by soldiers that had little to no access to oil. The war made it impossible for many people to get the oil and gas needed to fuel regular vehicles. Oil has been at the heart of many great disputes which is just one more reason to find a way to reduce and eventually eliminate our high demand for it. If we could find adequate alternatives, many oil related issues would gradually disappear.

The wood gas vehicle uses a gasifier to produce energy for the vehicle. It is the product of thermal gasification of carbon containing materials such as coal. This is not known to be one of the cleanest ways to produce energy for a car. But back in the war times when it was necessary, it was a viable and efficient alternative.


Wood gas is not entirely efficient though. It is a highly flammable substance. The content is heavily made up of such things as methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The flammability makes the wood gas car a potentially dangerous means of transportation. It would not be a realistic option on today’s roads. It would likely never meet legal safety requirements.

The wood gas vehicle can burn a variety of things as a fuel source. From the name itself, it is easy to surmise that the vehicle can run on wood but it can also run on other things like rubber. Of course, this means that the emissions put out by this type of car would be incredibly high and may be much worse than that emitted by petroleum vehicles.

Because of the various things that can be burned and used as a fuel source, the gas created must be passed through a cleaning system so that it can be purified. It may have been a fine creation during the Second World War but as far as our current environmental situation goes, it is not something that could be seen as feasible.

One thing about the wood gas vehicle is that you must have a gasifier in order to use it. It cannot burn the materials used without one. This is yet another reason why this could not be used today. A gasifier is highly flammable and not something that could be reproduced or perfected for today’s standards at a reasonable cost.

Because of the materials that are used to create fuel in a wood gas car, the fuel quality varies. It is not something that could be designed so that it is clean burning as well as efficient. However, it was something to be appreciated in its time.

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