Wood Gasification Boilers -- Are they 'too expensive,' or are they 'free'?

cguida Posted By cguida, Jan 10, 2009 at 6:41 AM

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  1. cguida

    New Member 2.

    Jan 11, 2008
    Eastern Maine
    Fall 2009 Update:

    As to the original question -- Is a 10-15 thousand dollar gasification boiler "worth it" -- research here continues. I don't want anyone to think I am biased against gasification boilers, and I'd very much like to accumulate some first-hand experience. So I am now the proud owner of a big, green Polish mail-order Basement-Bride-of-Dr. Frankenstein boiler -- EKO-60. She ("Oxanna") is hooked up. ("It's alive, Igor; It's ALIVE!). She breaths. She gurgles. And if you feed her favorite comfort food and treat her just right, she is hot, Hot, HOT.

    So now we can begin to answer the $6400 question: can you get through a winter with reasonable effort, convenience, and warmth, on mostly just junk wood and blow-downs? Or rather, we maybe could answer the question if I actually had the junk wood dry and ready to go. But I did some big talking awhile back about not buying a boiler till I was 2 years ahead on hard wood. And in fact I do have 2 years of hard wood stacked up. But while I was doing that work, I neglected the junk wood side of things. So it might be spring before I get much experience with junk wood.

    Meanwhile, this has been an entertaining and informative thread. Thanks to all who contributed.
  2. Badfish740

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 3, 2007
    This is an interesting debate. My wife and I just bought our first home a little over a year ago. We are currently heating with an ESW add-on and it's working well so far, but even though we're enjoying it for the most part, it uses a lot of wood, produces a lot of smoke (although I'm getting better at reducing that), and it pulls humidity out of the air like nobody's business. Also, my wife has allergies, so forced air heat is not the ideal situation anyway. We plan to build our next (and last!) home and energy efficiency is something that I want to build in from the start since initial construction is the cheapest time to do it. I would like to install radiant floor heat throughout the house with the hot water supplied by a gasification boiler. Since the mortgage lender and insurance company would likely balk at the idea of wood being the sole source of heat we would likely install the smallest oil boiler possible inline with the gasifier with the intention of only using it during extended periods away from home or if for some reason the gasifier is not working. It's important to point out that we are hoping to find a 10-15 acre homesite with the intention of doing some subsistence farming. Hopefully I would be able to cut a fair amount of wood from my own property as well as continue the scrounging I do now. Anyway, I'll continue to follow this discussion with interest.
  3. 91220da

    Member 2.

    Nov 21, 2008
    Pocono's Pennsylvania
    Quick numbers

    GW100 installed 10/2008 with help of plumber friend $12, 500.00 total cost

    6 cords purchased to get started cut/split/stacked 4 @ $200 and 2 @ $150 = $1100

    Average oil consumption of 1200 to 1300 gallons per season (Drafty stone farmhouse) @ $3.00 per gallon = $3600 to $3900

    3900 - 1100 = $2800 saved in oil cost for first season of use.

    This year I purchased and scavenged 8 cords to date at a cost of approx. $900

    Big expense up front but I do see a 5 to 6 year payback on the installation.

    This year I will be burning more rounds than splits. Last year the splits vaporized quickly due to the extreeme gasification temps.
  4. dogwood

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Mar 22, 2009
    Western VA
    I love the fact that once our brand new Tarm Solo Innova is hooked up we will no longer be subject to the vagaries of the world energy market to heat our home. Who's to say we won't be paying what Hannson would pay for fuel in the near or far future. I've got seven years before I retire to a fixed income, and don't want to live a life of being fearful about what the energy giants are going to subject us to next price-wise. They are evil people who will take you for everything you are worth if they could. A person can always come up with some wood out in the country, and my labor is at a price that is affordable. You can't put a price on security and self reliance, and at $15,000 it's a bargain. This is America. We were born to be free. And this includes being free of big oil companies, Middle East sheiks, giant medical insurance companies, Wall Street, and all the rest and few who dominate the world's economy to such a great extent. Come up with the $15,000 somehow and you can kiss some of those bad boys good-bye. And please don't pollute your and our air with an OWB to save a few bucks. Pay the price, work hard, and live free.

  5. flyingcow

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jun 4, 2008
    northern-half of maine
    Badfish, good plan.
    dogwood, I've been running my Innova 30 since last jan. Love it. Once you're up and running, don't hesitate to ask me any questions. BUT I've had great luck in dealing with Tarm on any questions I had. Had a pretty good problem that tarm helped me with(control issue). My installer was not easy to get a hold of, and the guys at tarm worked this "truck driver" thru the problem and parts are on the way.
    --But this $$$'s spent on the gassifier was worth it, for me. Fuel oil is $2.70 on it's way up. Hardwood was reasonable to buy last winter and i think it'll stay down for a few more months. If so, I'll buy another truck load mid/late winter.
  6. sdrobertson

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Aug 13, 2007
    West Michigan
    Excellent points...Its kinda funny that we as Americans will pay way more money for a vehicle that will last a shorter time period than for a system to heat our homes cheaper. Its the same way with mattress...We don't want to spend our hard earned cash on something that really isn't used except to sleep on but a good (more expensive) mattress will make life easier. Still the best country in the world, but we're kinda spoiled.
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