Wooden It Be Nice?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by LS614, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. LS614

    LS614 New Member

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    Well guys, I have an interesting idea that I must share with all of you. For several years now I have wanted to build my own wood gasification unit but I had no excuse for it. Now I think I have an excuse :D I have a nice schwinn cruiser with a HF 79cc greyhound, and a Q-matic. Given this big, smooth, 4 stroke setup, I think it's time that I ditch gasoline and run on wood pellets. No, I'm not a genius or a pioneer (well I might be a genius but that's a totally different story), this is a technology that existed since WWII and probably earlier. When the Nazis caused gas shortages many Europeans, especially Scandinavians switched to wood power. The idea of this system is that you have a fuel hopper and a glowing hot area below the hopper that is starved for oxygen so it makes a mix of flammable gases. 50% nitrogen, 27% carbon monoxide, 14% hydrogen, 4.5% CO2, 3% methane, and .6% oxygen. The non-flammable gases of this mixture do account for some power loss. There is also much less energy in this mix than in gasoline, so power and speed are cut roughly in half. The advantages are that it will be a really cool thing to talk about, a fun thing to ride, and at likely over 30 miles per pound with the size of the engine I'm using, it won't be too expensive either (a 40lb bag of wood pellets is available for around $6 and will get me a total of over 1000 miles. To do this build I am going to work on making a bolt-on system I can put on the back of my bike and run it on gasoline in the mean time. It is a quite complex system to make, and pretty heavy, but I have faith I can do it and make it work. It will take a lot of dump metal and lucky curb finds, a lot of tubing, and a lot of valves, plus a really strong 6v fan. I'm up for the challenge. And yes, instead of talking about pride and prejudice in my college sem class, I drew this, I hope you can read what I wrote :D [​IMG]
     
  2. muddybike

    muddybike New Member

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    Man i want to meet your pharmacist .....
     
  3. LS614

    LS614 New Member

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    Wow, what is that supposed to mean? Well, anyway, I have a second picture of how it would mount on the bike. It is hastily and poorly drawn, but I think you'll get the idea [​IMG]
     
    #3 LS614, Apr 14, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  4. Jitenchakun

    Jitenchakun New Member

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    I love where you're going with this, LS! I'm looking at scratch-building a stirling engine, myself; these wood pellets would make a great alternative fuel source if I don't have access to propane. I'll look into what it would take to get them burning good & hot in my heater chamber.

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who likes the idea of cobbling something together totally off the beaten path, something alternative, retro.

    I look forward to seeing your project coming along!
     
  5. LS614

    LS614 New Member

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    Thanks for the kind words. I'd love to see that stirling engine, those things sure are cool. I'm looking for a cross between WW retro and steam punk! :D
     
  6. Jitenchakun

    Jitenchakun New Member

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    Well, for some of us, this is more about experimenting just for fun. Personally, if the only objective was to have a motorized bicycle, I'd just go out & buy one, or get a motorcycle instead. But conjuring up a vision, designing an engine, tinkering, testing, & ending up with something completely unique. That is what it's all about for some of us.
     
  7. LS614

    LS614 New Member

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    Well put, I agree :D I can't wait for the WHA???? look at car shows! :D
     
  8. Jitenchakun

    Jitenchakun New Member

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    That's exactly what I was hearing; I was gonna call it 'steam-punk' (which is kinda like where I'm heading,) but thought, "It's actually more like a retro, alternative-history WWII concoction, but then, for all I know, they really were putting together pellet-burning bicycles back in those days. Wouldn't surprise me much...
     
  9. LS614

    LS614 New Member

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    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_soOYpIA9AMM/TReWMS76TuI/AAAAAAAAD7Y/uijrMPhd-L8/s1600/2612_knott.jpg I got this one mysterious picture with not nearly enough info, but somehow they are running it on woodgas, it must have oil injection because I saw a vid and it sounds like a 2 stroke. This one is apparently the only survivor of an engineering flop. I'll be starting off right if I use a 4 stroke :D Update, a tiny bit more info, if you have chrome, it translates easily http://www.gengas.nu/bilder/rolf_barry_berg/index.shtml
     
    #9 LS614, Apr 14, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  10. Jitenchakun

    Jitenchakun New Member

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    Wow, that's a real piece of work! That's what the old-timers are talking about! Nice! 1000 miles/$6, you say? What's that work out to, gas prices what they are now? About 700 miles/gallon? Not a bad way to go.
     
  11. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

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    No no, he isn't smoking anything (except wood). Some innovative civilians during WWII converted their cars to run on wood gas. I guess they were rationing fuel back then and it was a cheap alternative.

    A while back I posted a paragraph on a wood-burning pickup truck I encountered. Speculations flew, and wood gas was mentioned. Since that time, I've met the owner. And he does run that beat up old eyesore on wood gas. He drives around on the weekend and gathers up all the scrap wood that people leave out with the trash. He says the milage is terrible, but the fuel is free. He drives it to work now almost every day. And that thing is a sight, in more ways than one.
     
  12. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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  13. LS614

    LS614 New Member

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    Thanks for responding guys! Steam looks like a cool option, I don't understand how most non-internal combustion engines work, but someday I'd like to cobble a steam bike together. As for mileage, yeah, a V8 engine is terrible, but back in the 80's the University of Florida made a motorcycle, maybe 250cc, that got 20 miles per pound, so with my little HF, I'm thinking 30 miles per pound is a good guess, and well, 40lbs for $6, that equals $.005 per mile :D
     
  14. Arnold Layne

    Arnold Layne New Member

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    I'm pretty hepped-up about wood gas myself, going to set up an '86 Dodge 1/2 ton six cylinder pickup. Prior to 1900 producer [coal] gas was very popular for IC powerplants, many municipalities used it to fuel generators. As gasoline and natural gas became more popular producer gas faded into history. WW2 was about the end of the gas producers reign. My father told me that he had seen a few in use, either in Korea or immediatly post-boom Japan, but he didn't really understand how they worked. I've heard about coal? gas buses in Korea being so doggy that the passengers would have to help push on some of the steeper hills! FEMA has some decent plans on their website.
     
  15. FlyGuy

    FlyGuy New Member

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    For me it is all about experimenting and for fun.
    There's plans for building a steam engine on the net.

    Search for decauville steam plans.
     
  16. bandito

    bandito New Member

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    chitty chitty bang bang.....................ideas kept america great, good luck!
     
  17. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    By the power of Threadcromancy ARISE!

    I thought this topic was well worth looking at again with petrol being the price it is. Recently I joined a wood gas vehicle forum to learn more about the subject and after taking advice from much more experienced forum members I've learnt that charcoal gasifiers are the way to go for motorcycles and motorbicycles. Some very intrepid chaps have built wood gasifiers that are mounted on sidecar outfits; - which they need to do because there is a lot more plumbing needed to run on wood rather than charcoal.

    Here's a Honda with a charcoal gasifier in action...... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3wkIAMbMQI

    Me being me of course I want to run a Villiers engine on a gasifier and the way around the problem of lubrication is to fit a drip oiler onto the intake manifold. This picture clearly shows how it was done on wartime era two strokes.
    [​IMG]

    As a point of interest somebody has given thought to running a China Girl on wood gas rather than charcoal as you can see in this diagram. The text is in Czech by the way and I haven't got around to doing a translation.
    I have no idea if this setup would work as shown by the way.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Very neat idea here.

    One word of caution: I doubt very much if a bicycle could possibly get anywhere near 30 miles from a pound of wood. Even though I'm no authority on this, I just know that wood doesn't have that kind of energy density. Charcoal could be a bit better, but not all that much.

    But this doesn't really matter. Anyone here who makes the attempt to build something like this probably won't be looking for mileage anyway. It'll be for the thrill and sense of accomplishment.

    Entirely worthy goals, there.

    Just be warned that there was at least some pie-in-the-sky in this thread.
     
  19. Russell

    Russell Active Member

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    I hate threads like this! They get my blood pumping, break out in a sweat and saying to myself "God I would love to build one"!
     
  20. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    True enough BGW :) While petrol is expensive here in NZ I will freely admit that it's more about seeing if I could do it than anything else. My daughter's comment about it was, 'Wouldn't it be better to build a gasifier to run a generator and have an electric bike instead? That way you could use the gasifier to charge the batteries.' That is very much the electrical engineer in her talking though as she doesn't appreciate ancient two stroke engines in the same way as I do.

    Wood gas does not produce the same amount of power as petrol and in fact running on wood gas causes a noticeable drop in power, but the advantage is that it's cheap fuel, or an alternative source of fuel if petrol isn't available.
    For anyone wanting to run a charcoal gasifier on a bike the 'Simple Fire' gasifier is the best way to get your feet wet.
    Thirty miles on a pound of wood though? - that is definitely fantasy.

    http://www.earthineer.com/blog/13008/charcoal-gasifier-to-run-small-motors

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Charcoal-Fire-Powered-Generator/

    Essentially all that is needed is the gasifier itself, a particle filter and modifications at the carburettor end of things

    For a wood fueled gasifier things are more complex in that a cyclone type particle filter is needed, a means to cool the gas is essential and filters to remove wood tar are necessary before the gas gets anywhere near the engine. Removing tars from the gas is important because they are capable of literally gluing an engine up solid if nothing is done about them. The internal construction of a wood gasifier is much more complex too. The one big advantage about them though is that they can be persuaded to burn just about any type of biomass.
     

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