The on-line magazine Low-Tech Magazine has a great introductory article about wood fired cars.
Quoting from the above-linked article, … Dutch John strongly believes in wood gas generators, mainly for stationary uses such as heating, electricity generation or even the production of plastics. The Volvo is meant to demonstrate the possibilities of the technology. “Park an Italian sports car next to a wood gas car and the crowd gathers around the woodmobile. Nevertheless, wood gas cars are only for idealists and for times of crisis.
I am convinced that using wood as a heating source and potentially an energy source makes a lot of sense where I live. The forest products industry in British Columbia is huge, and we do not effectively utilize the waste wood from this industry (it is often completely wasted).
There is significant potential energy generation lost from all of that waste wood. Most proposals and projects that attempt to harness this potential energy are large-scale and designed to fit with our existing centralized power generation and distribution grid. I (as I suspect are most people building earthships) am interested in a small-scale energy system that powers my needs and possibly the neighbor’s.
There are now some excellent prototypes for wood gasification available, including free plans! The typical route when considering independent energy generation typically starts with solar power. I think we also need to be thinking about other locally appropriate, low-technology solutions.
I love this stuff!