No, this is not an article about my latest favorite bean recipe. Sorry to disappoint! Rather, its a little story about an inventor, or a parts designer maybe if you will, who noticed an interesting little thing online while searching for information on running engines on woodsmoke. And yes, that is possible! Apparently, the ever-resourceful Germans found a way to run their tanks on it after gasoline or diesel shortages appeared in WW2. The process is quite simple and involves burning wood in an oxygen-poor environment, as in a woodstove, and pulling the resulting smoke through a filter to remove the tar and impurities. The resulting gas is supposed to be sufficient to run an engine.
Anyway, as I researched this interesting use for wood, up pops a little clip on how to make a gasifier from tincans. Look it up for yourself. Its quite interesting. The idea is to pull the air down and through the fire so the smoke goes beneath the fire and circulates back up, exiting over the flames and igniting. I made one and it worked. Then I got the idea that making it from stainless steel would be really neat and long-lasting. And why not larger? I got a set of stainless steel cooking pots and some special drills and grinding wheels and constructed the item you see at the top of this article. I was literally shaking with excitement at the time, constructing something that had to my knowledge, never been made before.... an invention!!!
I was extremely pleased with the result and used it all over the place, making little fires of tiny bits of wood that seemed to last forever, finding I could boil water in minutes or roast a bratwurst much quicker than over an open fire. It even worked great on the deck, with precautions, as the outside pot didn't get overly hot. The unit produces almost zero smoke so is pleasant to sit beside. I was going to patent it maybe but some personal family-type problems took all my attention and one day I noticed a smaller stainless steel version of my little firepot right there on my facebook page. Well.
So I did the next best thing and got the distributorship for Solostove. Its a neat little machine which I'll let you have for a reasonable price. :) Handiest thing you can have in your daypack, saves lugging kerosene, gasoline, naptha, propane or all that because all you'll ever need to run is treebark or animal dung if you're so inclined.
In fact, I'm still all fired up about this glorious idea! It should be taken to tree-sparse regions of the planet for cooking without oil. Maybe you can take this fine invention even farther...