There should be no doubt that wood gasifiers have played an important role in the past, when liquid fuels for internal combustion engines were unavailable or expensive. It is also obvious that there has been an increasing interest in this technology since the middle of the seventies among scientists, energy planners, international development assistance agencies and government officials in some countries as a means of reducing the oil bill in oil importing countries with large biomass resources. But so far there are very few installations in commercial operation, where the gas is used to operate an internal combustion engine.
It is clear that the technology can have a future role in oil importing countries as an emergency option even though Sweden appears to be the only country which has officially taken the decision to make preparations for a conversion of vehicles to wood gas operation.
By all probability wood gas will not have a future as a regular engine fuel. Table 7.1 lists critical questions which all must be answered with 'yes' if its more general use is to be promoted. Answers based on the present situation in Sweden and in the Third World and a brief discussion of possible changes of the present situation are also provided.