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    Default Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    This is one of those things that pops up in Post Apocalytpic media. I love the good old banged up spiky death cars and the armored UPS trucks as much as the next person, but where the hell are they getting gas? Now, Mad Max covers this by being only a little after the End of the World and Road Warrior and Fury Road both have large functioning refineries, but then you get stuff like Wheels of Fire or Raiders of the Sun where they don't seem to have refineries or anyone to trade with for gas.

    Now, the game 7 Days to Die fixes this by letting you make Bio-Diesel but... how useful is that? Like, could you actually run that in a car? So I guess the question is, what are the various ways that people could make fuel for their armor-plated death machines? And no, I don't much care how silly the ideas are
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    This is one of those things that pops up in Post Apocalytpic media. I love the good old banged up spiky death cars and the armored UPS trucks as much as the next person, but where the hell are they getting gas? Now, Mad Max covers this by being only a little after the End of the World and Road Warrior and Fury Road both have large functioning refineries, but then you get stuff like Wheels of Fire or Raiders of the Sun where they don't seem to have refineries or anyone to trade with for gas.

    Now, the game 7 Days to Die fixes this by letting you make Bio-Diesel but... how useful is that? Like, could you actually run that in a car? So I guess the question is, what are the various ways that people could make fuel for their armor-plated death machines? And no, I don't much care how silly the ideas are
    I mean, there's people who have literally made trucks that run off of wood. Gasoline is the easiest form of fuel, but wood gas works just fine.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    I mean, there's people who have literally made trucks that run off of wood. Gasoline is the easiest form of fuel, but wood gas works just fine.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tA0stq9rjg
    Wait... Wood-Gas? I knew you could make a liquid fuel from coal (it wasn't the greatest or most efficient system, but hey it worked) but I always thought you just burned wood as a solid. I must investigate further
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Biofuels are indeed a thing. You can manufacture fuel directly from plants without having them lying around underground for millennia.

    You can actually run older diesel engines on plant oil. As in the stuff you use for cooking. A friend of mine did that when he inherited an old car. Not necessarily a long term solution, since this can lead to issues with clogging.

    Edit: Wood gas is indeed a fun thing. It was very popular during WW II due to fuel shortages and is now getting traction again as a possible renewable source of fuel.
    Last edited by Iruka; 2020-01-05 at 08:40 PM.


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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Biodiesel is pretty versatile. Just as functional as regular diesel anyway. Pretty east too, just filter veg oil and add a few chemicals. Had a boss at a restaurant once that ran his diesel Volvo on used fryer oil. Makes the car smell like french fries, but hey, nearly free gas.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Iruka View Post
    Biofuels are indeed a thing. You can manufacture fuel directly from plants without having them lying around underground for millennia.

    You can actually run older diesel engines on plant oil. As in the stuff you use for cooking. A friend of mine did that when he inherited an old car. Not necessarily a long term solution, since this can lead to issues with clogging.
    How would one remedy this clogging? Just semi-frequent cleaning of the cylinders?

    Quote Originally Posted by DwarvenWarCorgi View Post
    Biodiesel is pretty versatile. Just as functional as regular diesel anyway. Pretty east too, just filter veg oil and add a few chemicals. Had a boss at a restaurant once that ran his diesel Volvo on used fryer oil. Makes the car smell like french fries, but hey, nearly free gas.
    What did he add, if you know? And would said chemicals be fairly simple to manufacture?
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    How would one remedy this clogging? Just semi-frequent cleaning of the cylinders?
    I would imagine the clogging is in the fuel injectors, not the cylinder as a whole, and those are pretty precise components that wouldn't be trivial to clean.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    This is one of those things that pops up in Post Apocalytpic media. I love the good old banged up spiky death cars and the armored UPS trucks as much as the next person, but where the hell are they getting gas? Now, Mad Max covers this by being only a little after the End of the World and Road Warrior and Fury Road both have large functioning refineries, but then you get stuff like Wheels of Fire or Raiders of the Sun where they don't seem to have refineries or anyone to trade with for gas.
    Mad Max 1 is set before the end of the world. It's dystopian, but not post apocalyptic. It's Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior that's set just after the end, when there are still fuel trucks and such to scavenge. Even if they weren't plundered dry on day one gasoline only keeps for a year or so, so The Road Warrior must take place really shortly after the end. (Fridge logic: why are there basically no remnants of the horrible war that ended it all in that movie?) Wouldn't the best available vehicles all be military trucks and the like? Also, what was Max himself doing during this time? He was just driving around fighting motorcycle gangs while the world was ending around him? Questions, questions...) Of course there is also a group in Road Warrior that has an oil well/refinery. It's a small one, and it's suggested to be a pretty rare thing, an oil deposit that's still easily accessible (can't really get to the deep wells with improvised equipment). Mad Max 3/Beyond Thunder Dome was set further in the future. Max is riding a camel cart in the beginning, but the bad guys in Barter Town have started using pigs to produce a form of bio gas, and all the cars in this one run on big gas turbines. There is a group of kids who only know of modern civilization as a tale past on to them, so the end is at least about 20 years ago. (Unless their plane crashed and got them lost well before the war.) I think taken as a trilogy that's pretty clever of these movies, they show a clear progression, a changing world. The iconic setting of the second movie is but a snapshot in time, a brief window that was never going to last. They're feeding on remnants that are quickly passing their best before date.

    Of course, that same setting of the second movie is also the one we all like to fantasize about. (How did they even get there from the first movie? Who said "we're making a sequel to this gang-cops revenge movie, let's set it in a leather-clad apocalypse"?) So other media handwave it. The Wild West as it inspired all those movies and series also existed for maybe 20 years and moved ever west while existing, there have been TV series about the West that lasted longer than the actual thing did. It's the same principle. It's a cool setting because of some of how in motion it is. How there are so many ways it can change and throw an adventure at you. 40 years from now we might tell each other stories about hackers on the early internet, with their dial-in modems and their social exploits, always trying to be one step ahead in the arms race towards better security. It's a brief window in time, and there is nothing you can add to the setting that makes it realistically last any longer. You could say "but fiberglass doesn't exist and transistors can't get any smaller, so we're stuck with 90's technology", but that still wouldn't stop the world from moving beyond the simple exploits and lack of computer knowledge in companies that made school kids hacking around in their attics a thing. Mad Max is the same, any flimsy justification will always be just that.

    But if I wanted to try anyway, I'd either put the end of the world early enough (in the sixties there where still some nice accessible oil fields right?), set it in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia had so much oil to start with, there has to be some left), or I'd go with the bio-fuel thing. Natural oils like sunflower and rape seed oil work, and can in fact be used in today's diesel engines. Diesels tend to last a bit longer than gasoline cars as well, so this is probably the more realistic route. If you want a more gasoline like substance you could go for bio-ethanol. Bottoms up.

    And then there's always the off the beaten path option to have wood and peat fueled steam engines. Post apocalyptic steampunk may not be a genre we deserve, but it might be a genre we need. Please just don't think about how quickly we would run out of forests.
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post

    What did he add, if you know? And would said chemicals be fairly simple to manufacture?
    An old and robust enough Diesel can basically be powered by sunflower or canola oil.
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Wait... Wood-Gas? I knew you could make a liquid fuel from coal (it wasn't the greatest or most efficient system, but hey it worked) but I always thought you just burned wood as a solid. I must investigate further
    Wood gas isn't a liquid. It is, as the name implies, a gas. It's just the gas that makes the flame above a wood fire.

    If you want to use it as engine fuel, etc, you need to generate it without burning it immediately, then pipe it to where it is used. In practice, this means heating up wood in an oxygen-poor sealed container, and venting the pressurized exhaust created into an engine through a relatively short pipe.

    I've seen pickup trucks that run on wood gas. The gas generator would be installed in the bed of the truck with a pipe running under the cab to supply the gas to the engine.
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    And then there's always the off the beaten path option to have wood and peat fueled steam engines. Post apocalyptic steampunk may not be a genre we deserve, but it might be a genre we need. Please just don't think about how quickly we would run out of forests.
    After any war that kills most of the human population, running out of forests would not be a problem for several generations. There are forests all over the world, if there were essentially no people, forests would take over again in most places that weren't originally deserts.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Biodiesel is really easy to produce, as is reasonably pure ethanol. There's options, though gasoline (overwhelmingly octane specifically) itself is relatively tricky.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    And then there's always the off the beaten path option to have wood and peat fueled steam engines. Post apocalyptic steampunk may not be a genre we deserve, but it might be a genre we need. Please just don't think about how quickly we would run out of forests.
    If the population drops enough I doubt htat would be an issue. Also I din't know I needed Post Apoc Steampunk until now, so thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by gomipile View Post
    Wood gas isn't a liquid. It is, as the name implies, a gas. It's just the gas that makes the flame above a wood fire.

    If you want to use it as engine fuel, etc, you need to generate it without burning it immediately, then pipe it to where it is used. In practice, this means heating up wood in an oxygen-poor sealed container, and venting the pressurized exhaust created into an engine through a relatively short pipe.

    I've seen pickup trucks that run on wood gas. The gas generator would be installed in the bed of the truck with a pipe running under the cab to supply the gas to the engine.
    I see this now looking at it. That is so weird I love it. Also some of the nicer looking ones with the tanks bolted on to the back look the perfect kind of odd.
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    How would one remedy this clogging? Just semi-frequent cleaning of the cylinders?


    What did he add, if you know? And would said chemicals be fairly simple to manufacture?
    Mythbusters ran an older diesel car on straight up frier oil, worked essentially without issues. The only thing they did was filter the used vegetable oil to get the bits of fries out.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Mythbusters ran an older diesel car on straight up frier oil, worked essentially without issues. The only thing they did was filter the used vegetable oil to get the bits of fries out.
    I knew a guy who did this too. He had an older expedition/terrain vehicle (an UMM, which was obscure enough (over here) that he joined a Land Rover club with it, because UMM clubs aren't much of a thing). He usually ran it on a mix of diesel and vegetable oil, but he had used just plain oil as well. It ran fine according to him, it just smelled too much like a snackbar, and there was probably some uncertainty factored into his decision as well.

    He did always use clean oil, since from a consumer perspective the price difference between diesel and cooking oil is already so big that you probably don't want to go and try to save a few more pennies by pouring blackened used frying oil in your engine.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2020-01-07 at 06:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    I knew a guy who did this too. He had an older expedition/terrain vehicle (an UMM, which was obscure enough (over here) that he joined a Land Rover club with it, because UMM clubs aren't much of a thing). He usually ran it on a mix of diesel and vegetable oil, but he had used just plain oil as well. It ran fine according to him, it just smelled too much like a snackbar, and there was probably some uncertainty factored into his decision as well.

    He did always use clean oil, since from a consumer perspective the price difference between diesel and cooking oil is already so big that you probably don't want to go and try to save a few more pennies by pouring blackened used frying oil in your engine.
    Should add Mythbusters made a great point about the used oil that sure it was free now but as soon as it becomes popular enough you can't just drive up to MacD and ask for their used oil it's not gonna be free anyway.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    They used something similar in London during WW2 for the buses, as there was a fuel shortage. Can't remember if they used wood or coal.
    They converted an old bus in the same way on the BBC series Wartime Farm - don't know if it is available on your side of the pond though (episode 5 I believe). It's an interesting watch - a historian and 2 experimental archeologists recreating the way of life on a war time farm in the UK, & looking at some of the some of the challenges they would have faced, and the sort of technology they had.

    Admittedly, it did have a big gas-bag mounted on the roof to store the gas, which might be a bit of a liability in a Mad Max scenario. They did not test anyone shooting at it as I remember
    Last edited by caden_varn; 2020-01-08 at 09:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Making Gasoline (or how easy is it to have a Mad Max scenario)

    Quote Originally Posted by caden_varn View Post
    Admittedly, it did have a big gas-bag mounted on the roof to store the gas, which might be a bit of a liability in a Mad Max scenario. They did not test anyone shooting at it as I remember
    They did something like that on an episode of "Dad's Army" (and boy am I dating myself by saying that)--as I recall, they came a cropper when the Home Guard in the back of the van pushed their rifles through portholes and punctured the gasbag with their bayonets!

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