A wood gas stove differs from a wood burning stove. First, a wood gas stove uses gas from wood, and not the wood, as fuel. Second, a wood gas stove is common in camping sites and not in homes with chimneys. Third, because of its use in camping, a wood gas stove is small and portable. Lastly, the technology that turns wood into gas seems fairly new in the world of biotechnology, unlike wood burning, which has been a traditional way of creating fire for cooking, heating, and light.
A wood gas stove uses biomass gasification to turn low burning emissions as fuel. Unlike in wood burning, where more wood is added to build a hotter blaze, a wood gas emission requires only a low burning blaze, which lasts longer. The fuel, such as wood chips or shavings, measures lesser in size and number than the usual logs for burning. In fact, partially burnt wood chips turn into charcoal, which remains highly usable as fuel in a stove.
A wood gas stove commonly uses the downdraft principle. This principle involves an inverted cylinder that houses the low burning wood chips. Gas escapes downwards through holes at the bottom and climbs upwards through the space between the two cylinders. Additional air oxidizes the carbon monoxide and makes it ripe for burning. The carbon monoxide from inside the closed cylinder burns when it reaches the top where an igniter produces a spark.
Similar to any other gas stove, the wood gas stove produces no smoke. However, unlike normal gas stoves, it does not leak gas, but uses it up while burning. When all the wood chips, shavings, sawdust, and other wood products have burned up, all that remains is fine ash without charred bits. This process obviously uses every piece of fuel with little to no carbon emissions produced. A large stove may need blocks of wood or sticks, but the length of use extends to several more cook-offs before all fuel has burned out.
Based on the brief explanation of the gasification process, the wood gas stove clearly brings a safer and more economical alternative to cooking equipment. Wood by-products, such as wood pellets that sell about three dollars for each forty-pound bag, seem cheaper than paying the gas company every month. Commercial gas from pipes or from gas tanks also present the risk of leaks, which often lead to gas explosions.
Furthermore, a wood burning stove in the house could be toxic to residents. The location of the stove determines the effects of different atmospheric pressures at different areas in the house. A stove in the basement increases the risk of a downdraft, which releases carbon monoxide back into the house because of the stack effect. The carbon monoxide poisons the people while they are sleeping, or lead to explosions when the gas comes into contact to a burning flame, or even a lighted cigarette.
Aside from cooking, a giant fireplace that uses the same principle as the wood gas stove can produce heat and light when needed. An innovative architect can design a fireplace that produces fire using the downdraft principle. The middle of the living room seems a perfect place to build it. Because it is smokeless, the fireplace produces only light and heat, which a flue catches and distributes throughout the house.