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Young Penticton inventor is on a roll

At any given time, Charley Smith can have as many as eight different projects on the go in his Penticton backyard.

The 13-year-old is quick to admit, there isn't anywhere else he wants to be.

"I've been making stuff for a long time, and I would rather be out here than playing video games or anything like that," he said. "I've only touched my Xbox twice in the last year."

The grade 8 student's most recent effort, is  building a wood gasifier to produce wood gas to run a vehicle.

Currently, the gasifier is attached to a 1991 Ford Taurus he purchased from the Penticton Speedway.  The way it works is the wood smoulders inside the gasifier, producing gasses to run the engine.

He originally produced the contraption attached to the back of the Taurus for a science fair at his school,  McNicoll Park Middle School.

Next stop will be the regional science fair April 12 in Kelowna, where he hopes to qualify for nationals, May 10 to 17 in Windsor, Ont.

Smith started taking things apart and putting them back together at a young age.

When he was around 4 or 5 he liked playing around with wires and hooking up nine volt batteries to computer fans.

Speed has long been a fascination, and he was soon putting bigger batteries in toy ride-on trucks and cars to get them running faster and for longer.

"I like driving and building stuff, so it came naturally to me," he said.

He built a wood gasifier for small engines for a science fair when he was in grade 7, making it all the way to nationals that year.

Now, he is ready to give it a try again with the gasifier attached to the Taurus.

When Smith isn't busy working on the his unique car project, he tinkers with an assortment of go karts and races cars at Penticton Speedway.

His parents, Darick and Bunny Smith, are proud of his accomplishments so far and believe he has a bright future ahead.

"He's always been very mechanical, designing and building things ever since he was a little boy," said Darick Smith. "I'm happy to see whatever he becomes, maybe an engineer someday."

 

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