Is it worthwhile to use a gasifier to warm a greenhouse?

Is it worthwhile to use a wood chip or pellet-based gasifier to warm a greenhouse instead of natural gas?
The point is to sustain the burning process automatically for several hours, ideally for 12 or more hours, to minimize the maintenance work. Is it possible for gasifiers to stretch the burning process to so long durations?

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I say yes. There are some nice automated units out there. And if you can good wood for free or near free that is already processed to the appropriate size, its a win win.

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You could run generator while heating,maybe even run growing lights,for food of coarse,Like josephhauler says,automation , automatic feeding is the key.

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I’m gonna be contrary and say a gasifier isn’t the best choice. Yes it will work, but you’re processing a whole lot of wood into “bite-size” pieces, making engine grade gas, for no real reason. Cogen / CHP is a different animal.

A good outdoor boiler will provide all the heat you want, and will accept large firewood. These are quite controllable, and if you get a gasification boiler it will burn clean.

Here’s a gasification boiler Sean French built for a commercial nursery. It take whole pallets of wood at a time.


I agree with Chris.
I have a 35 kW downdraft gasification boiler. It heats a 4 m3 (1000 gallon) water tank in 4-6 hours. Tank heats house and garage/chop for 2-3 days during winter. “Hopper” holds 150 L (40 gallons) of wood (1/2m logs) and usually needs two loads to get the whole tank near boiling temp.

Anyone have detailed plans for a gasification furnace? I am looking to build one for my shop. Also been looking at rocket type heaters.Al

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I am with Chris on this one. Most of the heat transfer in boilers comes from radiant energy. To miss out on that would result in a big efficiency penalty. A close coupled firebox and boiler will win out over a gasifier and combustor every time.


Would grow lights help much in winter time too grow food,or maybe just lots of boiler heat and natural light.

As with so much of this it depends… First off where are you? How much cold you get and how much winter light are the determining factors. Then, do you want to grow all winter or harvest all winter? 70degrees and 12 hours light are needed for fruiting crops like tomatoes but 34 degrees and 8 hours of daylight are OK to holdover greens from the summer and fall. Elliot Coleman is the guru on that.


HI david baillie ,im just a kind of city guy,thinking on getting a small green house too try growing for healthy foods in part of fall and winter, seems it might be a good idea too be able and ready if prices go crazy.

Kevin look up Elliot Coleman’s books. The summary is you GROW your greens in August sept. Oct. Maybe November depending where you are and you protect them from the worst of the cold with the greenhouse and maybe ground blankets. Then you harvest through the dormant months. We can go as late as mid to late January with no heat and crops like kale, chard, mache , etc. Then we wait for march to start adding heat via maple syrup boiling… So much you can do.


I will check his book out thanks Dave,B

Hi Kevin,
I share your desire to grow stuff in the off season. I had big plans for a greenhouse attached to the south side of my home. That’s still a dream. Building a greenhouse involves a lot of prior planning to get the max efficiency from your investment. I do however have 2 side by side 54"x 96" thermopane windows in my LR on the south side of my house. I have quite successfully grown tomatoes all winter without artificial light. Production may take a little longer, but they will ripen. Tomatoes have to be hand pollinated indoors. This is simple. Take an artist’s brush and “tickle” every flower tip center every day to pollinate or the flowers will just drop without forming fruit. These are a small (2-3") variety called Bloody Butcher. I haven’t tried any larger varieties, but these sure beat the totally tasteless, hard as a rock, store bought crap. Yes there are pics from 2 winters.

These made it through the winter. This is mid April and the production has been like this since the beginning of Feb. Once these plants start fruiting, it is continuous. They are indeterminate, so you constantly prune for new stems, thus new flowers/fruit. Watch early on where the flower stems emerge so you don’t prune those stems off.
No, do not bring plants from your garden into your house/greenhouse even if you have seen no pests on them. You don’t have microscopic vision, lol.


I don’t know what happened to the sound!


Argghhh! Had the earphones off, duh!

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You might check this out
They had a setup at Topeka wood in biochar out and they have a tank for water heating to use in a greenhouse

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Hi Tom,
I couldn’t get the link to work. I even tried typing it in the address bar.

I agree link is broken would love to see a charcoal maker in a greenhouse.

I have a thought: how close is your greenhouse(s) to your main house/shop/other greenhouses? Maybe build your gasifier/boiler/generator inside the greenhouse (or central most greenhouse) where it’d give off some heat, but you could still use most of the heat and/or electricity in your home/shop which would have much higher demands?

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Sorry guys didn’t check the link before posting it. Took it right off his business card do figured it was good. Anyway Chargen
28529 Paradise Dr.
Warsaw MO 65355
I have one of their flyers will try and get it posted here. He is tied in with Doug Bretthouer who sometimes posts here. You might check Doug’s site for information. Something like resilience movement might be on the links section here on DOW.


Seems like there could be a lot of wasted heat energy from the gasifier itself that could be used for space heating. But I think Chris is right, unless you are using the engine quality gas for something more than space heating it seems like too much work to process the wood that far. But if you could put the gasifier inside the heated space and run it for a greater purpose, then it would certainly contribute to your space heating. We’ve been thinking/planning to do this here in AL. But we don’t have near the needs of some of you for green house heat. I think I could run a generator off a small gasifier inside a green house and pretty much not need anything else. Especially if I used a water cooled engine and some kind of large water heat sink in conjunction with a radiator–or as a radiator.

On a separate note, I was reading some other threads. Just wanted to feel sorry for so many of you trying to round up wood. Seems like a lot of you have a hard time finding it. I am often reminded that not all ya’ll have the same problems we have. Here it’s everywhere. Fires all around every day just to try to clean it up. Sawmills, paper mills, clear cuts, cabinet shops. construction companies. Anyway, hope you can get some wood. Billy