Energy Consumption of Thermal Weeders

Hot air is probably the most ecological thermal weed control method. In this article you can find some of the facts about different systems.

 · 2 min read

Since the increase in restrictions over chemical weed control in many countries, thermal weeding has become an alternative to chemical weeding. But what about the fuel consumption of thermal weeding equipment? Is it an ecological alternative to chemical weeding?




The term “thermal weeding” refers to different types of equipment that use different energies but have in common that they kill weeds by thermal shock. These solutions allow the bursting of the plant cells and the drying of the plant.

The thermal shock can be done via hot water, foam, steam, hot air, infrared or a flame. Our Ripagreen and some of our Hoaf products use hot air to produce the thermal shock necessary to dry out the weeds.

As for the energies used for these thermal weeders, they are also varied. Some devices are engine driven and therefore use petrol or diesel, some are electric and others use gas, such as propane. This is the case for our Ripagreen and Hoaf products.




The environmental impact of thermal weeders varies according to the energy used. The thermal weeders with hot water, foam or steam for example, consume water. The water consumption of these devices can go up to 1500L/h for models with a large tank, to which must be added the petrol, diesel or electricity for the engine to keep the water heated - The leading hot foam machine uses 8 L of diesel and 3 L of foam per hour in addition to the water consumption.  Regarding the hot air, infrared or “burner” models, they have gas or electricity as the only energy required for their operation. The environmental impact is therefore less than for models using water (in large quantities) coupled with an energy source (gas, diesel, electricity).

The combustion of liquified petroleum gases (LPG) like propane is more complete and efficient than petrol or diesel, which means that the amount of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons is far less.    In comparison to most hydrocarbons, LPG has a low carbon to hydrogen ratio, which means that it generates lower amounts of carbon dioxide per amount of heat produced.



RIPAGREEN products run on propane and do not require any other energy source. What you need to know is that, thanks to our innovations and our venturi system, the hot air is created from 94% ambient air and only 6% propane. The gas consumption is therefore low, it varies from 3.06 to 4.1kg/h depending on the pressure of use, which itself varies from 1.5 to 2.5 bars.


This means you are consuming far less fuel per hour, which is burning cleaner and not using any water in the process.

If you would like to find out more about the Ripagreen Thermal Lances, please follow this link.

You may also be interested in our 4 step plan to phase out glyphosate.

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