Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Lord K's Garage - 12th Issue. BIOPUNK VEHICLES

To Hayen Mill,
who knows to ask the proper questions

Gasification was an important and familiar 19th and early 20th century technology, and its potential and practical applicability to internal combustion engines were well-understood from the earliest days of their development. Town gas was produced from coal as a local business, mainly for lighting purposes. When stationary internal combustion engines based on the Otto cycle became available, internal combustion engines began displacing steam engines as prime movers in many works requiring stationary motive power. Gaseous-fuelled internal combustion engines were commonly fueled by town (lighting) gas during the late 19th century; however, the high price of town gas caused many stationary engine works to switch to using producer gas during the early 20th century. Producer gas has less heat content, but was substantially cheaper to make than town gas was to purchase, due to its generation by partial combustion of coke, a byproduct of coal, rather than through the town-gas process of destructive distillation (pyrolysis) of coal.
By the time World War II arrived in United States and Great Britain, many internal combustion engines of the Otto type were in use in automobiles; however, they were fueled by petroleum-based gasoline, not coal or wood-based town or producer gas. Due to the war, civilian uses of petroleum were sharply curtailed in both nations...

After this lengthy quote from the Wiki I have to add something. In the interwar period, the pioneer of gasification was Sweden with its mighty supply of cheap wood. The primary fuel for the gazogene, built after French Imbert design, were wooden chips. Here's a Scania-Vabis gazogene truck (1929):
In the Soviet Union, trials of different gasification devices resulted in mass-production of the watrime GAZ-42 truck. Two columns (loaded with chips) are clearly seen:
In Italy, suffering from fuel shortage, some Fiats were rebuilt into gazogene taxicabs:
And in France, the homeland of the Imbert Gazogene device, gasification became a mode of life under the German occupation. Different gasificators were used. One of them, shown at the top, was produced by the Facel company that switched to the high-end sport cars production in the 50s. Here's a variation of this device:
There were also others:
The Germans also used different gasification units, fueled by wood, coal and coal powder. They were installed on simple military vehicles like this Kubelwagen:
and also on luxury cars like Mercedes-Benz (postwar picture taken in Berlin, Soviet occupation zone):
or Adler Diplomat:
German gazogene tank is not a fantasy:
And of course, most of conversions were made by civilians aiming to bypass the fuel rationing. When the rationing was gone, lots of gazogene devices were abandoned. Including this conversion of a Ford truck:

There are some more pictures in the album

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Comment by lord_k on November 21, 2009 at 11:50pm
How could I ignore you? Without your questions, these cars would not appear here at all.
Comment by Hayen Mill on November 21, 2009 at 6:00pm
Heh, thanks for mentioning me ^^
Comment by lord_k on November 20, 2009 at 3:12pm
For me it's quite obvious, but I see that only a few of us realize that only half a century ago gasification was a common technology, widespread all over Europe. When I was a kid, there was a working model of gazogene device at the local museum - attached to a truck.
Comment by Tome Wilson on November 20, 2009 at 1:50pm
Very informative. It's good to know where the roots of the diesel era came from.

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