Wartime gas-powered van on Jersey Island

This is a photograph of a gas-powered van on Jersey Island, prior to occupation by German forces.

The gas used was coal gas rather than wood gas and was pumped into the gas bag, on top of the vehicle, prior to travel. The vehicle's range was about 30 miles.

Prior to the discovery of North Sea gas, towns in the United Kingdom were supplied with coal gas, which was produced by the gasification of coal.
click image to enlarge

8 comments:

Andy in San Diego said...

What people will do to get from point A to point B!

James said...

Yes, you can't stop humans from travelling.

foot - horse - Mayflower - train - car - plane - rocket

marc.crabiz said...

Interesting article, I think the answer might be in Hydrogen though. We already have the technology. Also in South Africa they have developed a way to turn coal into gas. The U.S. is the Saddi Arabia of coal. I think we should check this method out don't you?

James said...

Wood gas contains hydrogen as well as carbon monoxide. Both components are flammable.

Coal gas has been around for centuries. The vehicle in the picture is running on coal gas.

Most cities that used gas prior to the 1970s were using coal gas. It's an old but very dirty technology.

carol said...

I never even knew this was possible. What an interesting post. I think someone should develops a solar powered car.

James said...

Ummm, a solar powered car. Not that easy. The best you are going to get is a battery powered car that is recharged by renewable energy.

Solar cells add weight to a car and you wouldn't get enough of them on a car.

Jeff said...

The idea of using renewable fuel is a very good one that I'm not looking to detract from. But wood gas? It would seem to me that we would then eat through the world's resources of wood much more quickly than they can be reproduced resulting in a situation not far from where we are now? What is it that I am missing?

Have a good day...

James said...

That's the whole problem, too little of any resource to go round. Too many people chasing too little.

People use wood gas because it is free. They are not paying a penny to oil, coal or any other energy company.

Yes, wood is as finite as any other resource but people act as though humans should be an infinite resource.