Instructables
We may not yet have a flux capacitor for time travel, but we do already have the equivalent of "Mr. Fusion", which if cleverly applied, will enable you to run your car on everyday "trash"-- today. This "magical" device is called a gasifier.  And what it does is called gasification.  The resulting gas goes by the names "wood gas, "producer gas" or "syngas".

Gasification is the use of heat to tranform solid biomass, or other carbonaceous solids, into a synthetic "natural gas like" flammable fuel. Through gasification, we can convert nearly any solid dry organic matter into a clean burning, carbon neutral, gaseous fuel. Whether starting with wood chips or walnut shells, construction debris or agricultural waste, the end product is a flexible gaseous fuel you can burn in your internal combustion engine, cooking stove, furnace or flamethrower. Or in this case, your DeLorean. Well ok, how about a Honda Accord . . .

Sound impossible?

Did you know that over one million vehicles in Europe ran onboard gasifiers during WWII to make fuel from wood and charcoal, as gasoline and diesel were rationed or otherwise unavailable? Long before there was biodiesel and ethanol, we actually succeeded in a large-scale, alternative fuels redeployment-- and one which curiously used only cellulosic biomass, not the oil and sugar based biofuel sources which famously compete with food.

This redeployment was made possible by the gasification of waste biomass, using simple gasifiers about as complex as a traditional wood stove. These small-scale gasifiers are easily reproduced (and improved) today by DIY enthusiasts using simple hammer and wrench technology.

The goal of this project is to show you how to do it - using tools you can find at Sears!

Here's a video of us driving the finished Honda Accord around West Oakland - and over to Sears in downtown to pick up some more tools! Fire was kept only in the gasifier. And everyone made it home with smiles on their faces.




This is a really big project! We split the project into several Instructables to make it easier to understand.

  • This instructable explains how to retrofit a Honda Accord (or nearly any car) with our open source Gasifier Experimenter's Kit (GEK) to power it. In this project we cover modifications to the standard GEK Gasifier that are needed, details specific to its installation into the Honda, and modifications to the Honda itself. All standard GEK Gasifier construction and operation details are covered in the sub-projects below.  You can also check out the home site, with updated instructions, CAD files and pictures since the Instructable below.
  • Check the Building the GEK Instructable to learn how to fabricate the standard GEK gasifier vessels.
  • Check the Assembling the GEK Instructable to learn how to assemble the GEK vessels into a working GEK Gasifier
  • Check the Running the GEK Instructable to learn how to start and operate the GEK to produce syngas.
  • For more info and extra pictures about this project, see the main GEK site.
  • For general information on how gasification works, see: Gasification Basics
  • To learn about ALL Power Labs, the group that created the Trash Powered Honda and the Open Source Gasifier Experimenter's Kit, check our website: ALL Power Labs
  • Inspired? Check out our No Petroleum Allowed Road Rally, the Escape From Berkeley.
 
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brigulb322 months ago

My grandpa always told us about how they used that in Germany during and after the war. He would've loved to see something like this.

waterlubber8 months ago
nice 'able pretty cool, saw this thing on a tv show once
you should put this on a delorean with a flux capacitor and a time circuit.
TREX ZoaR0K11 months ago
awesome i may someday do this because by dad is a mechanic and has his own company
aross151 year ago
if it became viable for everyday use, the government would come down on it like a sledgehammer, because its dangerous and stuff,..and not because of the Tax they would lose in fuel not being brought... ;)
ANDY!1 year ago
Fantastic 'ible!!! What are some good ways of determining how big the gasifier needs to be to run certain engines, so that I can build one to fit in my car with the least amount of mods. Also, what is the most efficient temperature to run a gasifier. Thanks!
Pignanelli4 years ago
I think what you need is TWO screws, turning against each other (that is, a left-hand screw and a right-hand screw, both moving the material up, and turning in opposite directions). Am I crazy?
two flat rubber belts on a funnel shaped form would do the job pretty well.
TheWilks11 year ago
Nice design, I'm going to convert my golf cart to run off trash but I'm going to make it look like a Mr Fusion
like back to the future car use garbage. Great idea man keep it up.
DeepCycle1 year ago
"the file is damaged, and cannot be repaired......."
Sun Gear1 year ago
Would something like this be doable for a motorcycle?

Cheyyne3 years ago
This is really cool and everything, and it's a great example, but does anyone else think it's a little pie-in-the-sky for large distribution due to the enormously costly electronic control system? If only someone could come up with a more elegant mechanical control system design, it would reduce the cost by, what? Two thirds? Three quarters?
I doubt it. There is a reason why electronic controls are replacing mechanical ones in homes, cars, industrial devices, really about everything. The electronics may look expensive, but if you tried to do anything similar with mechanical control, I would bet that it would be more expensive. That would be true in one-off (because of the time required to machine the mechanical parts for a custom mechanical control) or mega-scale (because if Honda decided to produce a wood-gasifier car, the control would not cost any more than the ECU that runs the gasoline engine).

I suspect that it seems expensive because you are unconsciously comparing a one-off scale research setup to the prices of mass produced products.
they had a crude version of this that was used extensively during WW 2 in britain. it was I believe manually controlled and many were homebuilt. Check e-bay. I've seen several offering plans or a collection of old data on these for a reasonable price. See my comment above.
Wyattr551232 years ago
Can't you do a similar thing using biofeul diesel made from fryer grease that is a lot more compact?
Rouverius2 years ago
Just don't drive over 88 mph. :)
You sir have the best comment here.
pfred22 years ago
I have a Honda. It already runs on trash, it is trash.
dansan1012 years ago
If you set this up so the petrol engine was able to be activated at anytime, Managed to register the car. It would be classed as a hybrid. An you would get all the tax benefits etc from driving a hybrid.
Yeah you did!!!
alli 19792 years ago

Beautiful work found it does not matter there Ancana Comments disappointing wow just found it I hope
kumaran5122 years ago
awesome piece of work.............
how many days it took for u????????/
wat is ur project cost value??????

gr8 job
If this has existed since WW2, then why don't we see more cars using this or this being suggested as a answer to the carbon emission problems?
According to my reading, the ww2 models were very dirty and had to change or clean filters frequently and they didn't give full power. also since I believe they were manually controlled, it took a bit of a mechanic to keep it running.
in addition, we today are lazy and or in too much of a hurry to go out and build a fire, wait for it to get going etc. before running to town. Stil, I plan to build one.
Actually the carbon emission problems wouldn't be solved. There is just as much carbon in the trash you would burn as there is in gasoline. It would be a bit different but probably be just as much carbon going into the air. The other bad stuff in gas would be gone though, depending, of course, on what you burned in the syngas generator.
the carbon from gasoline is from the ground and goes to the air. while a gassier takes carbon from the air to make biomass and then returns it to the air for no net increase.
none catprog4 years ago
This is wrong. The *gassifier takes carbon from the fuel. The difference between using gasoline and trash is that trash would normally go to a landfill and gasoline has to be mined, refined, processed, and transported.
catprog none4 years ago
and the carbon in the gassifer fuel came from the air. while in gasoline the carbon came from the earth
Petroleum is fossilize biomass containing trapped carbon. Trash is new biomass containing trapped carbon. The only difference is that this burns new biomass rather than old. Both release carbon and many other harmful emissions.
there's a simple question, how long does the carbon in the fuel take, to return to prefuel state?

if there's plastic in the trash, it's about the same as gasoline, which takes millions of years.
with wood, a few decades.
farm waste that was grasses or seeds, a year, if there's multiple crops, averages to half a year.
algae, depending on the continuous production capability, maybe a few weeks or a month.

the goal is to make the recovery time lower, not to whine about petroleum being the same carbon as in the trash... of course it's the same, but there's millions of years difference there.
Its carbon neutral. Since wood and organic matter decompose over time it releases such gas and this just speeds up the process. Wood stoves are cabon neutral as well. The tree uses Co2 to live and when dead it releases the equivalent amount/
If you bottled the exhaust from this project you could pump it in to An Algae Bio-reactor (As seen in below link ) and run two vehcles on the same carbon there for halving emissions. http://www.instructables.com/id/An-Algae-Bioreactor-from-Recycled-Water-Bottles/
What he means by carbon neutral is that he isn't adding any extra Carbon to the atmosphere. If it is all organic waste, then it just outputs what it took in.
"If this has existed since WW2" What do you mean "if"? Why is it so hard to comprehend that it has occurred to others in the last 500 years to explore technology alternatives in their era when faced with scarcity of supply of standard solutions? The word "hubris" comes to mind. I respectfully submit that you crack a book; do some research. The reason you don't see this tech in use is it is a very inefficient process. You have to heat the material to get the syngas out and that heating process costs a lot. We don't see steam powered trains or cars for nearly the exact same reason. Our current gasoline/diesel refining infrastructure is far far far more efficient. But technology like this does come into its own when that infrastructure is unavailable, but that doesn't mean the cost of using it drops. In short, if you relied on this technology with the same household budget, you'd be taking a lot fewer car rides. The prices of products in any economy transporting goods using steam/syngas technology would cost far more. Shipping a package via UPS would be a luxury. The number of poor people would increase quite a bit I'd estimate as prices rose. But to have these technologies available in a pinch as a stopgap would have a definite coolness factor. Which is exactly the role they played in the WWII era. One might ask why we don't ride horses anymore also as the answer would dovetail with the above quite a bit.
Hubris= Overbearing pride or arrogance. Thanks a lot, mgalyean, however I must point out that that isn't a very respectable answer. However you did answer my question so I thank you for that, and respectfully implore you to take a page from the three who answered before you who did so with a little more consideration to someone a little more naive than them.
according to www.veva.bc.ca/wtw/Tesla_20060719.pdf Second, we know that production of the gas and its transportation to the gas station is on average 81.7% efficient, for a total of 0.28 km/MJ for a Toyota Camry. What is the equivalent for a gassifer?
The gasification process was originally developed in the 1800s to produce town gas for lighting and cooking. Electricity and natural gas later replaced town gas for these applications, but the gasification process has been utilized for the production of synthetic chemicals and fuels since the 1920s. Wood gas generators, called Gasogene or Gazogène, were used to power motor vehicles in Europe during World War II fuel shortages
heathbar642 years ago
I've been aware of these for a long time. The thing you all don't seem to get is this. Most of us are not interested in alternative energy to be "green" or any of that crap. we want this because we can't afford $4.00 gallon gas. Buying a kit for $2000. or more is out of the question. Even if we had the money, the payback time is excessive. Nor do we have a fully equipped shop with cnc plasma cutters etc. Hell, I don't even had a cad program or anything to open a cad file. what I need is simple drawings and description, so I can build it in my backyard shed, like the original ones were 60 plus years ago.
I'll never understand why we can design " appropriate technology" devices for third world countries, but can't do anything for our own people without it costing a fortune.
Demascus3 years ago
you might look at the wood pellet stoves they use Augers and hoppers. Granted the fuel it consistent, but you will see those that work being very reliable. You may want to consider what they use to use in old flour mills that being a belt with with little cups on them gravity feed to the bottom with the cups scooping up the bits as they come around the pully. Works on assorted sized grains and might be better for this application
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