Kiln-drying energy: Too cheap to save?
Sleep lost over the most efficient way to insulate a wood kiln will yield only lost sleep, not big savings. 1998.
by Professor Gene Wengert
We are currently proposing our insulating system "ASTEC" to a company building two wood kilns of the following dimensions: 35ftx200x100. In order to provide a complete proposal to our client we are trying to produce a pay-back period report using our system as opposed to other systems in the energy savings per year.
It would be very helpful if you could provide us with detailed information about the process as well as the energy needed in this process.
Your questions are really more appropriate for a consultant who can work with you to develop the precise data you require. In brief, the energy required to dry lumber is about 3 to 5 million BTU per MBF. The lower number is for air dried; the higher for greener material. About 20% of this energy is lost through the walls, floor (quite a bit), and roof.
Some years ago I figured the benefit of using 6 inches of insulation versus 3 inches in a kiln wall and we saved about 3%, or 100,000 BTUs, which had a value of $.70 per MBF. The benefit of energy savings would take about 23.8 years to pay back! Energy in this country, especially with wood fired boilers, is too cheap to save.
Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Click on Wood Doctor Archives to peruse past answers.
If you would like to obtain a copy of "The Wood Doctor's Rx", visit the Wood Education and Resource Center Web site for more information.
Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?
Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Kiln Construction
KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Kiln Operation
KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in
any manner without permission of the Editor.
Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.
The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices.
What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe
for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use
of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation,
and at their own risk.
335 Bedell Road
Montrose, PA 18801
Copyright © 1996-2018 - WOODWEB ® Inc.