Holland, Michigan resident Don Mannes drives a 1995 Geo Tracker but instead of measuring fuel consumption in MPG, he measures MPPWB– miles per pound of wood burned. Yup, according to The Holland Sentinel, Mannes Geo is powered entirely by wood.
The 71-year-old says his Tracker on average gets two miles per pound of wood burned. Is that good? Bad? We couldn’t tell you. But we do know a bit about how it all works.
Mannes can run his little green ‘ute using carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas created by burning wood in a specially modified housing mounted on the back of the vehicle.
He simply sticks a blowtorch into the reservoir piled with wood and starts a fire in a large reservoir, called a double-walled reactor, to start the process. The burning wood, reaching 2,600 degrees in about four minutes, then generates the two gasses, which are piped into four heat exchangers and then into a container filled with straw or hay.
This acts as the final “purification” step before the two ingredients are piped into the engine to power the Tracker.
Mannes says the results of the wood-burning process are a lot less harmful than that of a gas-powered internal combustion engine and he claims the ash residue can be spread around a garden, providing extra nutrients for plants.
The resourceful septuagenarian says the Tracker gets 96 horsepower on gas and about 80 on wood.
“A lot of people can’t believe it’s possible,” says Mannes. “You could almost be self-sufficient with wood”.
It’s great to see engineers of all ages modifying and reexamining the fuel and by products of the internal combustion engine. However, we doubt the method would catch on, though it’s probably the only way to both drive a vehicle and smoke some brisket at the same time.
Yet, it’s not the first wood-powered car we’ve seen.