A wood burning farm truck on the Bonneville Salt Flats? Wayne Keith put his firewood where his mouth is and not only drove cross-country in his wood burning Ram, but also ran it on the salt for a new woodgas speed record of 71 mph. Not impressed? Keep reading…
Obvious questions that come to mind for curious folks are how the efficiency of the biotruck compares when run on wood compared to running on gasoline, and what the emissions look like. Of course, the first question in this regard is how you measure mileage of wood as a fuel.
Wayne talks about miles per pound of wood, but that is not comparable to miles per gallon of gasoline. We concluded that miles per million btu would be the best basis for comparison. Several engineer friends said it was doubtful that the biotruck could achieve more than 50% of the efficiency of gasoline on this basis.
So we got Wayne to drive his biotruck for 40 miles at exactly 55 mph on a 2-mile test track at Auburn University, first on gasoline, then on wood. The result? When driving with gasoline as the fuel, performance was 20.95 mpg, or 168.6 miles per million btu, while for wood it was 231.6 miles per million btu, or equivalent to 28.78 mpg: an improvement of 37%! And tailpipe emission tests show that the biotruck meets the emission standards required by California, which are the most stringent in the nation.