This report examines producer gas, an alternative to petroleum for vehicle fuel. During World War II, some 2.5 million trucks, buses, tractors, taxis, motorcycles, boats, and trains were powered by gassified wood, charcoal, and coal. But today neither the practicality of producer gas as a motor transport fuel nor the extent of its former use are widely known. Since developing countries in particular have been devastated by rising energy costs, the potential for producer gas has become increasingly important. Basically, producer gas equipment consists of a retort placed directly on the vehicle or pulled on a trailer. The retort, which is something like a woodstove, is charged with charcoal, wood, or coal. When the fuel is set alight, draft of air is sucked through the glowing coals by the "vacuum" of the engine and the gas produced passes through a filter into the cylinders. The gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, gaseous hydrocarbons (chiefly methane), carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. The first three constituents are combustible, and the mixture can be used to power gasoline or diesel engines. Although gasoline engines require only a minor adjustment of the carburetor, for diesel engines the changes to the injection system can be complex, depending on its design.

  • Corporate Authors:

    National Academy of Sciences

    2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20418
  • Publication Date: 1980

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: v.p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00329510
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 21 1981 12:00AM