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 . . .
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.
Step 1: The Goal: Honda + Gasifier
How does that work?
In a normal car, liquid gasoline is injected into the cylinders while air is sucked in to burn it. The GEK produces a syngas fuel not a liquid - similar to natural gas. So we can't just dump it into the gas tank and run the engine as usual.
What we'll do is to disable the Honda's gasoline fuel injectors and route our syngas in through the engine's air intake. We'll install a somewhat modified version of our standard GEK unit into the trunk area, with a fuel tube going up to the Honda engine in front.
The only modification to the Honda engine is that we disable the fuel injectors, and tee the air intake to allow pulling in our syngas along with the air. In fact, the Honda engine still can be run on gasoline when we are finished - all that's needed is to flip a switch to re-enable the fuel injectors.
Easier said than done! Read on to see how to do it . . . maybe . . .