Solar Cycle Kilns - January 2007

Each kilns performance is affected by many factors.  Maximum heating is created by;
1.  A clear insulated window facing the sun.
  We use 6 mil UV protected greenhouse poly films, facing south.  Two layers are inflated with a small blower to form an insulating bubble window.  We observed a 20 degrees F difference between the surface temperature of a single layer of plastic and an insulated window.
2.  A black metal collector surface
  We use recycled steel roofing.  Air flows up each side of the metal to gain heat.
3.  Insulated wood chamber - thermally isolated from the
collector room

  Our wood is first predryed to 12%MC, then kiln dryed to 6%MC with solar heat. 
One way valves keep the heat in the wood room when the fans shut off.
4.  Fans circulate the hot air
  We use two 1/3hp fans to blow the hot air down through the wood pile.  A simple thermostat in the collector room controls the fans.  Air pressure operates all the kiln control valves.


Kiln D
- If I built a new kiln with what we know today
Air tight with one-way valves keeping heat in the wood chamber at night.
Operates at 85 degrees above outside temp.  (wood at 9%MC)
Annual production - 40,000 bf red oak 4/4  (600 Sqft black metal collector)


Super Cycle Kiln - (Past history performance)
Air tight, well insulated, one way valves….  2,000 Sqft metal collector
85 degrees above outside temp  Annual Production 150,000bf red oak

Conclusions:
Solar Cycle Kilns have been a key to our business success for 18 years.
Customers see our true commitment to resource conservation.
Solar kilns work year around, faster in summer and slower in winter.  This is due to average ambient temperatures, angle of the sun, and length of day.
Build your capacity for the annual volume needed for your business.
There is a high demand for custom drying - build twice the size that you need and pay for the entire operation with custom work!
The daily heating/equalization cycle produces superior quality lumber compared to commercial kilns that heat steadily and steam condition at the end of the process.


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