PV vs Woodgas (and other energy thoughts)

[moved from Tone’s thread: Properties of a good wood gasifier - #713]

I think about this quite a bit Tone. Just what to do with all those extra watts when you are running a generator. Battery storage would be ideal but batteries are expensive. I have thought about trying to fabricate something like Edison Batteries but that seems iffy at least for me since I"m only really adept and working with things like steel, other metals and wood. Otherwise I think sinking those extra electrons into heat storage via some kind of resistance coil would be a solution. I’d like to hear about other’s ideas.


It seems to run wery nice!

Tom, lm thinking growlights for my self. I got no need for heat in the house, but in winter a nice cogeneration to power a greenhouse wuld be great. Im not sure about the rest for the world but here fruits and veggies are comeing close to meat in price…


My greenhouse is only 10 by 17 foot Kristijan but 300 watts of grow lights will cover the whole thing. The main thing is powering them 8 to 10 hours a day. I’m still on grid so that’s not yet an issue but that’s a long time for a wood gas fueled generator to run. Of course batteries are the solution but costly. PV is not an option here. We go weeks with dull gray skies in the winter without a hint of sun, and at a latitude that is less than optimal.


Agree. For a homestead size greenhouse it makes no sence. Im thinking more about a bigger, market size greenhouse. I wuld never have guessed it but it seems like vegetable production is geting more amd more profitable. People want all vegetables year round and price doesent seem to be much of an ussue. They are perfectly happy paying for overpriced tomatoes and peppers imported from God knows where in the store, but when it comes to local, organic vegetables there seems to be no limit. I am following some sites and farms for some times now, that sell organic food to city folks, and price doesent seem to be a problem. Also, those sites share pictures of their farm work and stuff and l think this gives city folks some sort of patriotisem, like they are a part of it and they are prepared to pay a premium on this. Strange things are haplening in these days…


I lied anyway. Actually takes 700 watts to cover the plants in my little greenhouse. It’s more of a lab to see what kinds of things I can do rather than an attempt to grow a lot of food. I’ll post more in the self sufficiency thread.


Plese do Tom, lm wery interested!


Ditto on that as a 16x30 deep winter greenhouse is my next project.



Tom, Turn extra watts to heat water, or pump water up hill to gravity back down. Lots of ways to store the extra energy besides batteries.


Another try to pumped storage? Maybe that a other thread of that idea is better to discuss it.


Perhaps rich people in Europe don’t like democracy. Perhaps they want to return to the old system that was there before the age of revolution. Feudalism, Patronage. I feel this kind of thing in US also. Centralized energy systems; petrolium, coal, natural gas, nuclear electric… They are all good for central control.
But photovoltaic, biomass, wood and chargas, solar hot air pannels, small scale manufacturing methods of all kinds… They are are all good for individual independence, not needing rich people for anything. I like to think of my grandmother who had 25-30 chickens. She would trade eggs for sugar, cloth and other things she wanted when she went to town once a week.


And especially bikes like that are not providing torque. No chance standing on your pedals going uphill :grinning:

Tone, almost no coal plants here. Most of them are gas. Coal goes with biomass.


Giorgio, are you sure about this? Such vehicles are registred as motocultivators here and dont require a licence or registration. I mean, you dont need a licence to drive your Red boar on the road do you?

Funny the talk about coal. Only a few years back it was a staple for house heating. Yesterday was the first time in my life l held it in my hand… being 29 years old. Non existant anymore apart from electricity plants.
Had some forge welding to learn and l was low on charcoal, decided to give coal a try. Bought a sack of black coal, from @KKubu s place. Apart from the horible smell and some slag, its an incredible energent. No shame in saying that it is superior to charcoal in some applications in forging. And lm perfectly fine burning it for this limited cause. As am l perfectly fine to burn oil in chainsaws, weedwackers etc… and using fosil fuels ONLY for stuff like that wuld resault in an unlimited supply of energy. What l want to say is its not the use of fossil fuels that causes all sorts of problems today, its the abuse. From global warming to wars etc…

When l was at Argos there was a gentleman who, for lack of better term, interrogated me (and l later heared also others) about some woodgas stuff. Charcoal production etc… l think he is (was) a member here? Anyways… we also talked about energy production per acre of say a biomase plantation (willow, poplar, pawlovnia…) vs solar pannels. His argument aginst was that plants only convert 1-2% of sunlight hitting them in to stored wood energy, while solar pannels convert 20% ish.
Hmm… apples and oranges… before l say my thods lets see others comment on this.

Tone, great job as always!


Sound like you ran into an Efficiency-Manic, Kristijan.
Shortsighted all about the numbers.

Let’s see . . . trees grown for fiber bio-mass nurture the wildlife, the soils and even can self-regenerate.
Ain’t no PV solar can do that.

Of course use some PV solar as you can afford it on your own place.
It is the “For All” others satisfied to just be consumers in life who are the drivers of our modern excesses. Thinking like the priests and royalty and artists of old that thier mear existences should have merit.
Nope. Nope. Do nothing of merit for yourself and family then you are nothing and should whither away. Life energy-force moved forward to try again in another soul.


I mostly agree, but this is the easy way out. Put pv on the roof ( I love easy solutions btw). If we want to solve the environmental problems we have to live like Kristijan does. I know a few people overhere that do the same, and really only a few. Respect to those and hats of to the way they live. I just need some more balls :grinning:.

Sorry Tone. I will remove my post if you want that.

Ps, pv should only be allowed on roofs and not in a field, says the pv ambassador :grinning:


:smile: I agree about the field. but I think ALL parking lots should be like this one.


Yes, absolutely.

Plants and trees absorbe the sunlight way different then pv. If we put paneles everywhere, earth is going to overheat way faster.
Less is more. If we all live a modest life things will be ok. It cant be more every year.


Albedo (reflectivity) is higher for plants and trees than for pv but the difference isn’t that great.

Green leaves are green because the blue and red light is absorbed while the green light is reflected. PV absorbs blue, green and red light which is why the panels look black. When a panel is dark blue… that’s a little reflectivity of blue light I guess.

While photosynthesis is chemically very efficient, a lot of light energy never gets converted in plants.
Overall, plants are actually quite lousy at capturing energy from the sun compared to PV panels:

That lower efficiency will create more heat for a given albedo which may explain some of the studies showing surfaces temperatures decreasing around large solar (PV) farms:


Fellows, fellows this is Tones topic about the Properties of a good wood gasifier.

A wood gasifier uses WOOD as it’s input energy fuel.
Tone has never shown using personal PV, or promoting the use of PV solar.
There are specific topic set up here on the DOW for PV solar promoting.

Stop this PV solar versus site grown plants for fuels which Tone does do and stop PV contrasting and comparing that will now devolve into a debate. Just stop. Stop.

Admin @Chris please transfer all of these PV solar posts off of here to a PV solar topic.

Steve Unruh


Done! Thanks for the heads up.


Thanks Chris.

And what about Norway and Tesla? A lot of them overthere I heard. Are they all towed away or parked inside? Still a black and white discussion the same as Corona a few years ago. Always ended in two camps. Well, big people want us to drive a EV, so you will. I dont fight it, I enjoy the ride, literally. If you want something sustainable like Mr Steve’s washing machine, you have to drive an old timer. That one is repairable, most of the time parts are available etc etc. Every new vehicle, washing machine, you name it, is designed to break after the garantee limit. And no one is going to change that. Just buy a car/aparatus older then 20 years and it will work. All newer is made to throw away.
And your washing machine JO? 6 kW 3 phase? That is apple and peer, that is an industrial machine, or not? :grinning: Was that normal in those days?
The same as with tools, buy the profi, they do the job. Milwaukee is well known overhere, quality brand. Be carfull with Bosch, consumer is for consumers :grinning: I stepped from Hitachi (20 years) to Bosch and very glad with it. 18 V is enough, higher voltage makes the tools heavier and I am just to small for them.

Okay, PV vs Woodgas should be PV and Woodgas. PV is the easy way in summer, woodgas is the sweaty partner in winter. They fill each other gaps, not fighting for priority.