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2,500 miles on nothing but
wood smoke

In May of 2012, ECAR, a basically standard pickup truck, began its trip in Key West, made a brief layover at its home base in Alabama, then successfully completed its trek to the Canadian Maritime Provinces — without burning a single drop of gasoline or diesel.

This East Coast trip reflects the tremendous technical advances made since ECAR 1, a Chevy wagon, crossed the U.S., East to West, in 1979 with wood as the only source of power.

The sole purpose of the entire ECAR effort is to address the lack of a national contingency plan to consider the merits of wood as an alternative fuel for conventional gasoline or diesel engines — in the event of a national fuel crisis.

While in Maine, Mr. Ben Russell met with Bill Green, the host of WCSH Portland's Bill Green's Maine to discuss the endeavor.

Ben Russell and Bill Green on Bill Green's Maine

Wood power for vehicles is a proven technology
Wood fuel for vehicles is not a great new discovery, but a long-proven, low-tech fuel alternative. A million cars, trucks, tractors and busses were fueled by wood during WW II in Europe alone. Entire nations maintained their freedom by employing their only fuel source — wood. All agree that even a meager contingency plan would have saved numerous lives and helped to shorten the war effort.

For more than 35 years, ECAR has experimented with simple, low-cost, modern, high-temperature materials to solve many of the earlier difficulties.

A viable national biomass fuel contingency plan must be created to include continuing technical research, fuel supply and distribution strategies, as well as, immediately available plans and specifications for production of the vehicle conversion units. A continually updated data base of qualified manufactures will allow timely conversion of any quantity of units. This could be accomplished for an astoundingly modest cost.

There is no excuse for such an opportunity to be squandered.

Wood or biomass, which includes all plant material, has a potential for conversion to a fuel for virtually all conventional vehicular engines.

Wood fuel
The gaseous form of wood, wood gas, can be employed as a fuel alternative to gasoline or diesel fuel. Wood gas is produced in a gasifier which is a relatively simple device for cracking a solid plant material into its gaseous components employing very high temperature. In vehicles, wood gas is produced as needed by the heat generated in the gasifier as the fuel is partially burned.


ECAR-5 in Key West
ECAR-5, the biomass-powered truck in Key West, prepared for its run to Canada with zero gasoline.


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ECAR Information Downloads

ECAR Travels Cross Country on Wood (No Gas) - Press Release 5.4.2012
ECAR Challenges the World
Gasification for Conventional Vehicles
Vehicle Gasification - The Pros and Cons
National Contingency Plan for Vehicular Gasification
ECAR Team Bios