Outdoor grill for solar powered home - gas or electric?

tcjohnssonOctober 16, 2008

I'm building a home which is being claimed as "zero-energy", meaning it generates as much electricity as it consumes annually. And with a 3.5kW photovoltaic system, 80-gallon solar thermal system and the most efficient lighting, air conditioning and appliances out there it will produce as much as the occupants will consume. However, I love my outdoor propane gas grill. If I want to keep the home a true zero-energy consumer I would have to go with an electric outdoor grill. I'm thinking about the All Seasons grill from Kenyon. It's pretty modern and sleek looking and will work well with my modern design. But best of all I can cook using free energy from the sun. However, my concern is whether or not electric grills are any good for the actual duty of cooking. Does anyone out there have any experience with electric grills and are there any recommendations? I chose the Kenyon product exclusively on looks and have no idea about its performance. Any help is appreciated!

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i know i will probably get flamed for this, but i would rather use a wood/charcoal grill. gas is nice for quick use, but nothing beats meat cooked on natural wood/charcoal. i use debarked firewood as much much as i do charcoal on my grill. i have a propane grill i use for quick stuff like burgers/hotdogs, but 95% of my grilling is low and slow over wood fire.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 11:10AM
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Have no idea about which is best to cook on.

Some thoughts on the CO2 emissions front:

-- If I got the website right, the electric grill uses 1300 watts when the element is on, which is probably nearly all the time its cooking. If you grill for (say) 2.5 hours, thats (2.5h)(1.3kw) = 3.25 KWH per grilling session.
Your 3.5 KW PV array probably generates about 17 KWH on a good sunny day, so the grill session would use (3.25/17) = 20% of its total output for the day. This may put you in the not so zero for that day?
Each KWH that comes from the grid results in an average of 1.5 lbs of CO2 emissions (this is the average for the US).

-- If a propane grill used the same amount of energy, it would result in about a third the CO2 emissions, but I suspect it will use more energy (and also cook better?).

-- Using wood or charcoal is actually a net zero carbon emissions, since you are just returning to the atmosphere the CO2 that the tree took out of the atmosphere and stored in its wood as it grew. This is not counting the CO2 involved in transporting the charcoal.

Sounds like a great house -- good job!


    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 10:40PM
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---- Using wood or charcoal is actually a net zero carbon emissions, since you are just returning to the atmosphere the CO2 that the tree took out of the atmosphere and stored in its wood as it grew.----

If I accept that as true, will you accept that burning petroleum also has a net zero CO2 effect? (it just got sequestered earlier).


    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Go get a good propane or charcoal or whatever kind of grill you want. If you go out for prime rib would you order it slow cooked over a wind powered heating element or a nice smoky bed of coals? There is no price difference.. Keep in mind you are only making a few meals with it, not heating your home or commuting to work.

I would vote for charcoal and use a electric lighter to light it. The only emissions you produce is the charcoal burning and that of the food as it cooks. The electric element lighters are available at walmart or any home improvement store for 8-15 bucks and last years.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 3:15AM
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Or get a charcoal chimney as a starter--you use a match and three sheets of crumpled newspaper. About the same cost as an electric starter.

If you really want zero net use, what about figuring out how to have net wood use of zero? First, use hardwood nuggets, not commercial charcoal. Then, for every pound of wood you use, plant an equivalent amount of tree. (Obviously do this over a year or so to figure out how large a tree to plant, rather than planting a bunch of saplings.)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:14AM
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