In the early 19th century, in addition to coal and natural gas, a new kind of fuel became available to people. It was called synthetic gas (or syngas) and was available in many different forms such as coal gas, wood gas and water gas. Synthetic gas is produced by converting biomass or other carbon-containing materials, such as wood and coal, into a gaseous product by subjecting them to heat in oxygen-deprived environment. The resulting gas contains a mixture hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane, all which are inflammable and can be burned to give off heat and light.
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A car with a gas generator on a trailer in Victoria, Australia.