By Carol McCracken (Post # 451)
He drove out of the parking lot at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum this afternoon leaving behind a bit of a sucking noise. Joe Monty, was driving home to Masssachusetts in his wood pellet fueled car after volunteering at the mini-railroad today. As he passed MHN.com on his way out, he said, laughing -“You wouldn’t do this to a good car!”
What Monty has done to his 1994 Ford Escort station wagon with almost 200,000 miles on it, is convert it into a wood pellet fueled car. He’s spent a substantial amount of time during the past 1 1/2 years working to get the car just the way he wanted it. He succeeded earlier this year. “It’s not a new idea,” Monty said. “During World War II, civilians could not get any gas in Europe because it was needed for the war. So, they used this same Imbert Gasofield, he pointed to the back end of his car. It burns wood into synthetic gas – a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It’s flammable enough to run a gasoline engine.” Monty is an engineer who works on jets for General Electric.
It takes a 40 lb. bag of wood pellets to get 60 miles from his car. A 40 lb. bag of pellets equals two gallons of gas. He buys the wood pellets at stove shops, Home Depot and he gathers twigs and branches from his front lawn at home to add to the fuel mix. His regular fuel system is still there, so he just has to flip a switch and the gas kicks in. “My wife hasn’t ridden in this car since I began converting it,” he said, grinning. “She has her own car she uses,” he added, still grinning.
“I wouldn’t build another one of these for anyone else unless the liability laws are changed, he said, laughing again. “When the price of gas goes up to $4.00, I’ll have an answer for the gas companies.”
Editor’s Note: Following Monty’s departure from the parking lot, Brian Durham, a long time volunteer at the mini-railroad volunteered that perhaps the “sucking” noice came from “gasses being pulled through the filter.” Both men are steam engineers at the railroad.