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Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Charcoal powered van

I started this very simple carbon steel charcoal gasifier build last fall with my friend Justin Adams, He wanted one after visiting the all the great guys at the woodgas meet up in Kansas! We modeled it after my coal scooter gasifier. unfortunately, he hurt himself late last year at work and so we put his project on ice until this Spring. He hurt his leg pretty bad, so we took that into consideration when finishing up his unit. He operates it like a pro!

The Rig is very Heavy, no problem, Handles the city/highway perfectly, runs strong, Charcoal mostly and whatever else is laying around

I love my new wood units, but coal in some ways, has advantages; we don't have to chop wood into the right size, he cooks to charcoal, then it breaks down quite easily. my friend is new to this process and charcoal gives him a consistent fuel quality on a budget, Our flame mostly purple in color, he travels and camps, he has all the time in the world.

Put 85 miles on it last night, seven people showed up, went along for the ride down I70 highway, we had both ac units blowing cold, his motorcycle in back with more gear and around 650 pounds of fuel on board too! Got home late, wife wasn't happy about that, Woodgas Life!!! BBB, ChrisS

Here is the YouTube vid, I tried keeping it short for the Dial up guys, (Steve U) ; )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg1TvbjuNwA&feature=plcp

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Bruce French
The spent char from these

The spent char from these wood units has very little gas fuel energy value left after gasification. It works well in a grill for cooking. You would have to mix the char with some wood or steam to get engine quality fuel that would move a vehicle down the road.

I thought the 70 mph was good. How long can you run at that speed with that weight before the unit over heats? Does it start burning the paint off the outside?

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Did I see right at 2:02 the

Did I see right at 2:02 the unit was glowing blue??? Does it get that hot? Odd that it glows blue?

If that's really whats going on I'd be very concerned about the longevity of the unit. Please tell me that's a flare of some sort.

What are you using to control the charcoal temps, engine exhaust or maybe water vapor? Or just running it white hot??

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Made this its own thread.

Made this its own thread.

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi Chris, thanks for giving

Hi Chris, thanks for giving this project it's own thread! We originally started this build for better understanding of larger coal units,"gohin poulenc' style, though I personally prefer a very nice wood gasifier, this beast is tough! I hope to answer everyone's questions as best as I know how.

Hi Woody, yes we have played with the degree of how much we cook out the wood to char for energy reasons, we found that the gas stays clean and strong, if you heat out all the water out but not ALL the gases. Takes about 3 hours making the right Charcoal, timing is everything.

70 mph is max top speed on his unit, it averages between 60 to 65 on flat land, 55 to 60 up step hills. His van rig is so heavy, it does not go much faster on gasoline.

Over heating is a major concern with a coal unit and can ruin itself, if not maintained, they can reach incredible temperatures. The stainless container holds water that is metered in via temp gauge, We added a tap from the exhaust, we have not added exhaust gas tube yet, But I would prefer exhaust over a water drip (doesn't need a refill).

In the vid at 2:02 is us returning from a long trip. we were almost completely out of fuel and water.

My camera in the vid detected the heat, but in person the gasifier did not glow blue, It did faintly glow, this unit only has one layer, we have added a fire plate (Pederick style), since then and that too makes a big difference in keeping the bed in the center!

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Thanks for thinking about us

Thanks for thinking about us dial-up people ChrisMO.
Tonight after midnight (State Farm Jake talkin' time) the soonest I'll be able give the video a look-see. Your stills pictures are fine for now.
Woody/ChrisKY I think? they are charcoal making on board in the one barrel unit using the volatiles as gasifier fuel and temperature control? Charcoal man Gary Gilmore is now using raw wood fuel in addition to engine exhaust for charcoal gasification temperature moderation. (Edit: I was wrong. The second barrel was a filter.)
If/when this operator does burn out/burn through his unit pushing metals limits and boundaries with this unit IT being outside mounted against an all metal trailer it will FAIL SAFE and he will just trundle on home with gasoline.
Regards to All; Steve Unruh
postscript: Hey ChrisMO. Good answers. Good evolving forward. You are the first modern I've heard of actually using the Pederic improvement. I type slowly and just hit the send and closed down earlier without seeing your response. S.U.

Bruce French
The unit should not glow on

The unit should not glow on the outside as long as there is charcoal. The intake nozzle should be long enough to allow for charcoal to go behind it to the wall of the gasifier. That said the one question that remains is how long can the truck go 70 mph?

If you can only go highway speeds for brief periods then this should be a part of the description of the unit. It is very impressive the amount of weight and no gasoline for help. What size engine is that Ford Van running?

My Ranger can go over one hour or 70 miles as the hopper runs out at 65 to 70 mph with the AC on and shifting between 4th and 5th. I can get the truck up to 80 with the help of pulsing the gasoline on and off and it will then take a long time to drop back to 65 if in 5th gear. The truck is empty and very light.

If I were running that setup with a gasifier in front of that trailer I would put a shield up there to keep the heat off the front of the trailer. Maybe a good place to measure the temperature. One guy I know caught his whole trailer on fire putting the gasifier in front of his wood pile.

Mike LaRosa
Mike LaRosa's picture
Chris Seymour, That was cute.

Chris Seymour, That was cute. Glad to see someone making progress. What are you using to control the water drip into the inferno ? Also, you keep saying coal. Do you mean charcoal when you say coal ? I have quite a bit of anthracite coal here to play with but it's mineral content is real high so it plugs up the grate .. Mike L

Gary Gilmore
Chris, you got to love that

Chris, you got to love that charcoal. I'd second your recommendation of removing the water drip and going to engine exhaust. Much simpler, easy to regulate and does not freeze up. Once the setting is made, you do not have to change it even though the charcoal gas drawn by the engine changes. You should also see some water vapor start to show up in your filter/cooler. There is moisture in the air and charcoal that will get recycled with some of the engine exhaust. This may not be the case in a dry environment. Do you have any water condensing in your cooler? Also saw the charcoal retorts spewing smoke in the background. Most of that smoke can be flared off if you want. Isn't a problem if no one is around, but cannot do that in my neighborhood without incurring complaints. Thanks for sharing. I didn't think anyone else out there was using charcoal as a motor fuel and will have to say you are the first I have run across. Keep it up!!!
Gary iin Pa

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi Woody I have been

Hi Woody I have been fascinated with you and your son Sean's hard work in this science! I am happy to meet such great trail blazers that are here on this site!

We have strayed a bit from a typical coal gas design, using a large input air port and output and four inch piping all the way up to the engine, massive twin cyclones and cooler help. Other than half the radiator and hearth the gasifier is cool to touch, final output tube stays ambient no matter how long we drive . It has performed very well. Hour after Hour

The Pederic Style plate is what was needed to keep heat off his outer barrel (I hated using barrels for this project, hotter than normal woodgas), but he had a TIGHT budge), and water/ exhaust gases have and will help that. Just WATCH your gauges!

His rig needs a 55 gallon refill after 70 to 85 miles. Drives 55 miles an hour up the tallest hills 60 to 65 flat runs and of coarse faster than that going down hill! Has not overheated on us at all or failed in any way yet, but we are pushing it as hard as we can, and will correct any problem that arises. Just reload and keep goin has been the theme around here!

The trailer is perfectly happy with the gasifier on board, even a 25 minute idle doesn't warm up the back wall more than warm, passed trailer safety with flying colors! Though we always have a fire extinguisher around in case.

The nozzle and "replaceable" grate have worked better than I thought it would.

Mike, We port water directly into the plasma zone. Yes I mean charcoal, but we did go to Rich Hill Missouri to get "Black Smith Coal"
But we got there late, and will have make the trip again soon, if they can't send us up some.

The video was a compilation of different drive times over the last two months.

These pics posted, shows our recent trips for final testing, not including around the metro areas etc. He is now out there somewhere today driving it. He is very happy, a relief for me.

SteveU, NO hippies around here ; )

Bruce French
Thanks Chris,

Thanks Chris,

That's great news. Hauling weight and haulin ass on wood. That's what it's all about. That little glow zone on the barrel shouldn't be much of a problem to manage. Charcoal was very popular in the old days in Europe. Now we can all see why. This bodes well for small engine running a genset at steady rpm's.

Burn it Bro, Burn it good. 8-)

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi Gary G, thanks for your

Hi Gary G, thanks for your comments! You are a true leader in this field of coal gasification, and I respect and enjoy hearing your earned inputs! Yes Exhaust is the way to go! Worked great on the Scootie! We designed this unit to take on water, because he is new and for use of more raw"er" fuels.

I am having him in the shop early next week to change cooling systems to exhaust inputs, water is not very easy.

Gary, We did ignite those barrels off when making charcoal, they sound like afterburners. People just loved hearing it around here, makes a camp fire even more fun!

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Woody, I hope to be visiting

Woody, I hope to be visiting Florida soon, my wife has family to see there.

This time in my OWN ride at the end of summer if I can get time to finish the truck up . Need a vacation, I would like to visit Wayne and Chris on my way down from Missouri, It will be a fun trip!

Cheers!!!

Mike LaRosa
Mike LaRosa's picture
Good stuff !!! Only trouble I

Good stuff !!! Only trouble I'd have is I never have an exhaust system to pump back into things (salt belt) .. M

Wayne Keith
Wayne Keith's picture
Hey Chris MO ,

Hey Chris MO ,

Thanks for posting the video and pictures.

Look like you boys are having some fun!! I like the music also.

I would be real glad to have you come by on your way to Florida. I might be on your route depending on what part of the state your going.

Sean French
Sean French's picture
Congratulations Chris,

Congratulations Chris,
You guys are making great progress!!! Limits and Rules can be broken that's how we learn. My door is always open for you and it would be great if you could
make it for a visit. BBB Sean

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Hey ChrisMO

Hey ChrisMO
I did get a chance to see/hear your video. Good work. Your low resolution just like some of SeanF's really helps the download times.
I saw the "blue light" hearth glow too but then also saw the orange and white hearth areas and the red hearth wall back reflection from the van brake lights. On my non-SLR camera without clip on filter capabilty red and orange char glows really screws up and "disappears" the violet and purple flare colors. Only people in real life seen me gasifing and close coupled reburning in my glass fronted wood stoves. 25 X 2 different camera setting and I still cannot photo this.
Congrats on another person OBDII vehicle converting and driving now.
Regards; Steve Unruh

Mike LaRosa
Mike LaRosa's picture
OBD2 on this 97 cavalier has

OBD2 on this 97 cavalier has been working perfectly. I only get an open injector circuit message (obviously). I can't believe how well it adjusts the timing and I can pull way over 4000 rpm under load. I don't mess with fords here as they rot twice as fast .. M

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
I can't wait to meet up!

I can't wait to meet up!

Mike I too now Love OBD2 cars, I prefer Cheverolet.

Ray Menke
Ray Menke's picture
Build photos were on one of

Build photos were on one of the Yahoo sites, I think? Can you provide a link? What size engine is in that Van? Are you really using a whole 55 gallon drum of charcoal to travel 70 miles? What size is the charcoal? Softwood or Hardwood? The rig looks nice, it runs up and down the road, and you guys deserve a big congratulation. +++

Mike LaRosa
Mike LaRosa's picture
I love that cooler !!

I love that cooler !!

François Pal
François Pal's picture
Very good Chris, look in

Very good Chris, look in youtube how to convert tow gaz (hd)

François Pal
François Pal's picture
erreur: how to convert to

erreur: how to convert to wood gaz (hd)

Terry Grzyb
Terry Grzyb's picture
Hello Steve,

Hello Steve,
Is that stove a design of yours?
If so would you share some details of it?
Thanks, Terry

Arvid Olson
Arvid Olson's picture
What kind of flexible ducting

What kind of flexible ducting are you using to bring the gas down from your unit to the van?

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi Arvid O, not sure the

Hi Arvid O, not sure the exact name of brand, but it's a sturdy industrial type 4 inch flex hose, I think it was around a hundred bucks for ten feet.
Ray M, This is a different project, to test "charcoal power". The photos that I had posted on Pepegasification yahoo group last year are from another project I am currently involved in.

Here is a pic that shows the air heater/Pederic improvement, and exhaust input, Justin gets much higher mileage with the improvements along with lower heat losses. NO GLOWING, the system is running strong!

We went on a ride the other night left at 9:00 and returned and 4:30, long drive, was a lot of fun, added a pic of our return.

Mike LaRosa
Mike LaRosa's picture
Cris, When do you sleep ??

Cris, When do you sleep ?? Mike L

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi Mike, We have been busy

Hi Mike, We have been busy down here! No time for sleep lately! Maybe this winter I can just hibernate or something : )

Chris Saenz
Chris Saenz's picture
Hi Chris, you just made

Hi Chris, you just made featured project of the month! Can you give us an update on the van?

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi Guys, Thanks for the honor

Hi Guys, Thanks for the honor of making the main page of Driveonwood.com!
We have been busy here, making charcoal fuel today. We are getting ready for Justin's trip to Maryland. A lot of Charcoal will be needed for this trip!

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
We Used wood from land I have

We Used wood from land I have along the Missouri river. No timber shortage around here!

Anthony Meschke
Hello,

Hello,
Did you have air holes in the barrels or just use the heat from the outside logs to turn the wood into charcoal?
What is the typical turn down of a barrel of wood for you?
Do you get 1/2 a barrel of charcoal to a barrel of wood?
How are you screening it or are you screening it?

That is a nice trailer and impressive that the van can haul it.

Thanks for the update,

meschke

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
Hi AnthonyM, Thanks for the

Hi AnthonyM, Thanks for the comment

We distill the gases out the top and keep flame out of the inside of the barrel. It can vary how much is charcoal is made, normally it only cooks down 25% or so. We use it all, not choosey a bit.

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
We installed metal piping for

We installed metal piping for Justins long Journey!

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
We added a large bubbler,

We added a large bubbler, filled with Veggie oil for extra soot filtration.You can hear it work. If you get close to it while its running, It sounds like a, well...

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
We took one more trip small

We took one more trip small trip to Columbia MO in the van before sending Justin on his way to Maryland US, He is going to work at a Renaissance Fair up there for the end of Summer. Nothing but camping, dressing like a pirate and yelling at kids to shoot crossbows. A great job, sounds like a fun time!

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
JustinA and his buddy ChrisT

JustinA and his buddy ChrisT packed up all their gear in the trailer/van and headed out today. They took literally tons of stuff with them, practically his entire apartment.

I am amazed how powerful gasification is! After fine tuning his system, he cruses 70 mph on the flats and 60 plus up hills with ease. I cant tell hardly if any, difference between gasoline. His rig is heavy, Runs Smooth and strong!

This setup was designed for highway hauling.
He called me outside of St Louis tonight and said they were having a blast and going strong. Whew! Good luck Justin,

ChrisS BBB

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Hey ChrisMO

Hey ChrisMO
Good detailing and pictures. You will have to look into ChrisKY's centrifugal oil cleaner to clean his bubbler oil. I also put up linked info to James Hookway's charcoal making retort in Gary's Charcoal corner. I think it would be portable and Urban capable.
Most of Maryland ain't like Missouri. Especially the people, their laws and attitudes.
Regards; Steve Unruh

Sean French
Sean French's picture
That's great news Chris!!!

That's great news Chris!!!
Glad it is running strong keep it going !!!!
Sean

John Rubins
Chris,

Chris,

This project is really fantastic. I can't believe the scale and power of this thing. You changed the air input to something like the pederick plate. Is it possible you could give more details? Again awesome project. I wish your buddy many happy miles on the road with this.
John

Tony Grimes
Tony Grimes's picture
Chris Seymour,

Chris Seymour,

Could you please describe or post a drawing of your version of the Pederick Plate? I can't get a good handle on how it works from the Cash and Cash book.

Thanks, Tony

Brent Wolf
Brent Wolf's picture
i like the oil bubbler idea,

i like the oil bubbler idea, did you put it in last right before it heads forward to the engine? what are your experiences with it? does it get nasty quick and need to change? what is the oil capacity? did you diffuse the down stem to smaller holes? or just put in a large pipe to bubble?

thanks

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
SteveU, Making charcoal in

SteveU, Making charcoal in Missouri last summer was tough too!

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
A sever drought prompted the

The severe drought prompted the arrival of firefighters who, unfortunately had to extinguish our fun for the day. A burn ban just took affect a few days earlier.

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
The firemen loved the

The firemen loved the gasifier, they picked up the concept quick,I figure it makes sense they would find it pretty awesome!

I let them know they can learn more at driveonwood.com!

Justin and crew were not deterred, We drove further away from the city and finished making his fuel. These guys know what real work is!

It was a lot of fun making charcoal. Justin has gone and driven back from Maryland since then, He stopped through Kansas City a few weeks ago and stayed in in town a couple of days before heading to South Texas. He is still down there, (avoiding all this Midwest cold)! He is very happy with his gas producer and takes very good care of it.

Happy Holidays, BBB ChrisS (MO)

Mike LaRosa
Mike LaRosa's picture
Happy Holidays Chris and

Happy Holidays Chris and others. We are buried in snow here. I can finally get some paperwork done and maybe even make new pipes for my truck's gasifier connections and get rid of all the old aluminum in the system. I suppose by the time I get that done the truck will be rotten and I'll have to start all over. Doesn't get any better than that. I love to build. Truck bed is filled to the brim right now with that white crap and it will be too cold for a few days to mess with it. Fortunately there was little frost in the ground so all this snow will eventually soak in .. Mike

Don Mannes
Don Mannes's picture
Hey Chris, I have a question

Hey Chris, I have a question too about the size of Justin's finished charcoal and about how you turn those good sized logs into usable fuel. Over on Gary Gilmore's Yahoo site we talk about grinding and screening to a max / min 3/4 / 1/8 inch size. I just re read every post on this thread hoping this was answered somewhere but didn't find anything. Does the size and scale of your setup allow larger size charcoal chunks? Do you guys just boot stomp on a tarp to break the coal up and then pack it up with dust and all out in the boonies or do you have a more sophisticated method?
Don M

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Hey ChrisMO

Hey ChrisMO
Very nice new avatar picture you are now using. Is this one of your large Elite 600 series?
Also a very good historic picture collage video you have now on your site:
http://www.superiorwoodfuels.com/history.html
When I'm feeling the gasification blues I load this one up and loop replay it to be cheeered up by the music you overlayed there. That; and all the women of gasification pictures.
Regards Steve Unruh

Gary Gilmore
Hey Steve, I've been laying

Hey Steve, I've been laying kind of low here but when I saw these pictures you posted I just could not take it and have to put out a comment. Sure looks like a LOT of BLUE sky in the one pic. I don't see any standing water in the picture of the dog. Finally, I see a SHADOW in the photo showing your splitting maul handle and beer bottles (and no rain on the wood). And the way you talk, you are living in a rain forest with daily monsoons where the sun only shines through thick cloud cover :-) OK, just having fun and hope you can laugh along too.
Totally agree with getting a log splitter. Got mine about 15 years ago and great investment. There can be a fine line between good physical exercise and beating you body. My tipping point happened when trying to split some very interlocking grain black cherry. Picked up a use log splitter from a local who said the engine didn't have very many hours on it. Yeah!, guess what I replaced the next year? Aside from that, I love it. In fact, I am loving it more now that I kicked the dino juice habit and run it on charcoal. I know, it doesn't use that much dino juice, but...... Also anxious to hear about your shop electification with you new gen/welder. Have you decided to forgo the cost of hooking to the grid and make your own power? Still working on my 7kw genset and need to get some of my shop wired. Although I am hooked to the grid, I still want the ability to power my shop on charcoal "just for fun". Take care and send some of that blue sky to PA!!!!
Until later, Gary in PA

Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh's picture
Hey GaryG of PA

Hey GaryG of PA
Well . . . . those pictures were taken in mid "tourist season" weather late July to mid-Sept. I am not so alone and misunderstood on the D-O-W now living in the GreatWet with "NorWet" Tim Johnson, Derek Evans, Brian Ham, Doug Brown, John Ricker and a bunch other webfooters here now too. Toss in BC Bill Smith and Paul Holverson; and some of the Alaskans like Robert Jewett too. THEY all do, or will soon understand, ain't no such thing as wood sun/air drying here for the majority of the year. Getter' done, in and under cover or wait a whole 'nother year. Just like any annual crop.
Ha! Ha! Chris Seymore knows. He visted here twice? once in Novenmber and then in Febuary. Two weeks taotal I think and Wet'n Cloudy and he never saw the sun or the mountains unless it was flying in or out.
I really did enjoy your "Why I am doing this" post comment a lot.
Regards Steve Unruh

Chris Seymour
Chris Seymour's picture
I am sad to inform everyone

I am sad to inform everyone that fellow woodgasser and my best friend, Justin Adams, died in a car accident on Friday night driving back from California to Kansas City. A massive snow storm made the drive through Kansas very dangerous. He lost control and collided with a large truck.
He was not driving his van, but had taken a Jeep due to the bad weather ahead. Justin had a soft heart and a strong mind, he was always a seeker of truth, a good man.

Justin had become hooked on wood gas as much as I. He joined me at the Kansas Wood gas meet up June 2011. He got to meet MikeL and WayneK and was blown away with what he had seen. He wanted a gasifier of his own after that, he did not stop until it was built. Many good memories of Justin have passed my mind today, from childhood to present, more memories than I could count. I wished we could have had more time, and I will always miss him, he was truly a unique and adventurous person. My heart and pryers goes out to his family.

"Today is the day we leave our past behind, today we say our last goodbyes, memories in the back of my mind, held close by until the day i die".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WMXWkLlpVw

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