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Can someone tell me the most efficient way to heat my fish tank water?  Thanks  Doc

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If your heat needs are small you might get off the ground quicker by modifying a cheap Rocket Stove. Lots out there. Here is just one search result:

http://www.buycheapr.com/us/result.jsp?ga=us24&q=wood+rocket+stove

Fred, I can put together some plans, pics and a video of my barrel rocket water-heater. I intended to last night, but sleep was more persuasive than I bargained for. It is very simple, only took an hour or two to build, after researching everything I could find online for a couple I days.

Jim, I'd be happy to aid and abet your wood gas schemes. Honestly I'm still a week or two from being able to post pics of mine, but I will.

Vlad, don't do anything until we talk. You really should incorporate a generator for electricity. You'll foreve regret it if you don't.

Jon, sounds great, look forward to pics, plans & video.appreciate the help. I don't want to go off on the wrong foot. I aleady did using limestone in the growbeds. Sure am getting strong shoveling rock!

Jon Parr said:

Fred, I can put together some plans, pics and a video of my barrel rocket water-heater. I intended to last night, but sleep was more persuasive than I bargained for. It is very simple, only took an hour or two to build, after researching everything I could find online for a couple I days.

Jim, I'd be happy to aid and abet your wood gas schemes. Honestly I'm still a week or two from being able to post pics of mine, but I will.

Vlad, don't do anything until we talk. You really should incorporate a generator for electricity. You'll foreve regret it if you don't.

Jon I too will be interested in this if my barrel stove does not do what I need it to do. I can also put another stove on the other side of the greenhouse and if it does a lot better get the barrel stove out and put it in my shop. Looking forward in seeing the plans and vids as well.

No problem buddy. I full on plan on building a gasifier to run a 4 kW generator. I was just wondering if it was possible to do the 3 in 1 deal...Air/water heat and wood gas electricity...eventually...

I found this gasifier heater/boiler built locally http://www.termomont.co.rs/2011/tpk/ but they're really fucking expensive. I've not had any luck finding a used one of any brand/make/model. I'd like to slap one right inside the GH. And then next year or whenever, build a gasifier for electric (for the GH) and subseqent 'waste' heat for the fish/seedling shed...which is yet to be built (all I have are the straw bales and some wood)...

I've far from starting any of this as since we've been without water for the last seven days and it's impossible to fill the AP system and start the cycling process, I spend my days in the woods with the chainsaw, or out back splitting and stacking firewood...

Jon Parr said:


Vlad, don't do anything until we talk. You really should incorporate a generator for electricity. You'll foreve regret it if you don't.

Jon count me in as well.

Been collecting info on woodgas/gen for years and my nephew works for a co in Cal that makes parts and complete units on a pallet but again expensive. I would be happy to pay for your time or trade for my 50 page plans for making my high rate composter that I also sell at my Ebay store under Fiskfarm. (That was even written up in Yankee Mag.) I have a 4kw gen that would be about right. I would be tempted to dig yet another hole in the ground for a muffler so we don't have to listen to the bloody thing:-)

Yep, 3 in 1 very possible. I scavenged most of my useful gasifier info from the good old FEMA plans. Here's a link: http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/fema.woodgas.pdf

The folks in Berkeley building the GEK are at skill level two, and if I had the dough I wouldn't hesitate to buy their power pallet unit. Check it out: http://gekgasifier.com/gasification-store/gasifier-genset-skids/

For us laymen, the principles are easy enough to duplicate, and pipe the hot gasses (both syngas and engine exhaust) into an old gas water heater for water heat, or through an auto radiator for air heat. My generator is air-cooled, and already ducted and fanned for that purpose, so simply having it in the GH should suffice for air heating (will confirm that later).

Gotta put my phone down and work...

Ok, I've given a lot of thought to this, and I know what I'm going to do to my system.

I'm going to wrap my fish tank with unfaced pink insulation (3") from the top...all the way down to and tight to the ground. I'll probably paint the insulation black with some spray paint.  Then I'm going to wrap 2 times around the tank with some packaging roll wrap (20" wide roll material) {the same stuff they wrap around full pallets of boxes to hold them together} to hold the insulation in place as well as providing a tight vapor barrier.  This will be probably $20 for the insulation and $10 for the roll of plastic wrap.... so $30 total.  I think it will work and cost is low. I might even get a side benefit during the day of having the sun shine thru the plastic wrap and kind of heat up the insulation and the dead air space the insulation is in.

I'll do some kind of custom cover insulated too ...haven't worked out the design idea on that yet on the lid...will need to let in air.

I am also thinking I'll pull a layer of this same plastic over top of the grow beds (if I decide to keep water flowing to the GBs), and that will make the growbeds act like little greenhouses during the day accumulating some heat in my river rock grow media.  Then I'll rely on the heater for late evenings and nightimes.

I think this will work.

Yeah, I've been drooling over those GEK pallets for the last two days now ...

Jon Parr said:

Yep, 3 in 1 very possible. I scavenged most of my useful gasifier info from the good old FEMA plans. Here's a link: http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/fema.woodgas.pdf

The folks in Berkeley building the GEK are at skill level two, and if I had the dough I wouldn't hesitate to buy their power pallet unit. Check it out: http://gekgasifier.com/gasification-store/gasifier-genset-skids/

For us laymen, the principles are easy enough to duplicate, and pipe the hot gasses (both syngas and engine exhaust) into an old gas water heater for water heat, or through an auto radiator for air heat. My generator is air-cooled, and already ducted and fanned for that purpose, so simply having it in the GH should suffice for air heating (will confirm that later).

Gotta put my phone down and work...

Does your nephew work for the GEK folks in Berkeley, or another? You don't have to pay me for anything I've done and can share, but I'd love a copy of your composter. Amen on the muffler noise. I plan to box the genset in designated sound room (well, more of a little cubicle than a room), and the exhaust gets piped into the concrete slab under the FT's, which should deaden the noise, I hope

Jim Fisk said:

Jon count me in as well.

Been collecting info on woodgas/gen for years and my nephew works for a co in Cal that makes parts and complete units on a pallet but again expensive. I would be happy to pay for your time or trade for my 50 page plans for making my high rate composter that I also sell at my Ebay store under Fiskfarm. (That was even written up in Yankee Mag.) I have a 4kw gen that would be about right. I would be tempted to dig yet another hole in the ground for a muffler so we don't have to listen to the bloody thing:-)

With a set up like what you are talking about what kind of BTU's per hour can it put out?

Oh boy, Joe, I've never worked out that math. And I haven't run it for any length of time to give you much personal data on wood consumption, heat recovery, kwh, and all that, but I can throw some numbers I remember as guide lines. Pretty generic, and in case my memory fails and any of you can correct these numbers, please chime in.

- fixed rpm gasoline engines are about 20% efficient, maybe a bit more for a new, top of the line, fuel-injected, super-ninja Japanese model, and I'm sure there is a bit of loss in the generator portion of genset, so let's just call it 20%. That means if you have a 4 kwh gen running full load, then you are using 20 kwh of fuel to keep it running, giving you 16 kwh of heat byproduct (assuming all waste is heat, which it not, but close enough to call it a wash). 16 kwh is about 55,000 btu, and that is just in the generator, not counting the heat emitted by gasification (which I believe a downdraft gasifier is about 80% efficient, leaving 20% of the original wood energy also available as heat)

-a lb of dry wood is about 1 kwh, so if my above estimate is correct, then my 4 kw generator should burn about 20 lbs of wood per hour. 

-coincidentally, I remember reading somewhere that 20 lbs of wood is about equivalent to a gallon of gasoline, so the gen should burn about a gallon per hour if running on gas. I don't have any idea if that's right, but it's probably in the right range. (actually I just looked that figure up, and gasoline is more like 33 kwh per gallon, however syngas will burn more efficiently in an ICE than gasoline, so maybe the 20 lb wood/gallon is still accurate for argument's sake)

- a cubic yard of dry wood chips weighs about 640 lbs, so running my generator for 10 hrs per day should use about 200 pounds, or a third of a yard. 30 days in a month comes to 10 yards per month, which is 1 heaping load from my local tree service friend. Considering my tree guy averages 3-5 loads per day, I think I can count on free energy for a good amount of expansion.

Anyway, unless I missed something (cross my fingers), a 4 kwh genset running on a wood gasifier should consume about 20 lbs per hour and supply 55,000 btu's of heat in addition to 4kwh of electricity for 10 hrs per day, using 1 full dump truck load per month. 55,000 btu's at 10 hours per day, equals 550,000 per day, enough to raise 55,000 lbs of water (6900 gallons) 10 degrees F, or 5,500 lbs of water (690 gallons) 100 degrees F, which we call in these parts "fish stew".

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