CO Generator Systems

CO; generators are used by commercial flower, vegetable, and marijuana growers. Green Air Products has introduced a complete line ol reasonably priced CO, generators that burn natural gas or LP (propane) to produce CO_,. However, heat and water are by-products of the combustion process. Generators use a pilot light with a flow meter and burner. The inside of the generator is similar to a gas stove burner with a pilot light enclosed in a protective housing. The generator must have a cover over the open flame. You can operate the generators manually or synchronize them with a timer to operate with other grow room equipment such as ventilation fans.

COj generators produce hot exhaust gasses (CO_, + H,0). Even though CO, is heavier than air, it is hotter and therefore less dense and rises in a garden room. You must have good air circulation for even distribution of CO_p.

Carbon Dioxide generators can burn any fossil fuel-kerosene, propane, or natural gas. Low grades of kerosene can have sulfur content as high as 0.01 of 1 percent, enough to cause sulfur dioxide pollution. Use only high-quality kerosene even though it is expensive. Always use grade "l-l<" kerosene. Maintenance costs for kerosene generators are high, because they use electrodes, pumps, and fuel filters. For most grow rooms, propane and natural gas burners are the best choice.

When filling a new propane tank, first empty it of the inert gas which is used to protect it from rust. Never completely fill a propane tank. Propane expands and contracts with temperature change and could release flammable gas from the pressure vent if too full.

CO, generators produce carbon dioxide by burning LP or propane gas. They also generate heat and water vapor as by-products.

Spray soapy water around all propane gas connections to check for bubbles (leaks).

Generators burn either propane or natural gas, but must be set up for one or the other. They are inexpensive to maintain and do not use filters or pumps. Hobby CO, generators range from BOO to S500, depending on size, The initial cost of a generator is slightly higher than a CO_, emitter system that uses small, compressed-gas cylinders. Nonetheless, growers prefer propane and natural gas generators, because they are about four times less expensive to operate than bottled CO, generators. One gallon of propane, which costs about $2, contains 36 cubic feet of gas and over 100 cubic feet of CO, (every cubic foot of propane gas produces 3 cubic feet of CO,). For example, if a garden used one gallon of propane every day, the cost would be about tw tfc^, dbi hii mti J ■! =■ —: ; •

I pound of CO, displaces 8.7 cubic feet (246 cm 5) of CO,.

0.3 pound (0.135 kg) of fuel produces i pound (454 gm) of CO,.

Divide the total amount of CO, needed by 8.7 and multiply by 0.33 to determine the amount of fuel needed. In our example on pages 18-19, we found we need 1 cubic foot of CO, for an 800 cubic foot garden room.

Desired CO, level is 1200 ppm (0.0012 ppm)*

Multiply room volume by 0.0012 = desired C07 level

1344 cubic feet (38 mA) x 0.0012= 1.613 cubic feet (46 cm1) CO.,

1 pound (0.45 kg) of fuel burned = three pounds (1.35 kg) of CO, gas

0.33 pound (0.148 kg) fuel burned = one pound CO, gas

0,33 x 1.613 — 0.56 pounds of CO, fuel to burn to bring the CO, level to 1200 ppm.

Three times this amount (0.53 x 3 = 1.59 pounds) of fuel will create enough CO, for the room for 12-18 hours.

Convert this into ounces by multiplying by 16 (there are 16 ounces in a pound). .037 x 16 = 0.59 ounces of luel are needed for every injection.

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