Solar Dryers Australia
Solar Wood Drying Kilns
Solar Dryers Australia (SDA) is the leading manufacturer of Solar Timber Drying Kilns in Australia.
SDA solar kilns are a unique award winning design which uses solar hot water collectors to capture the suns energy and deliver it to a fully insulated kiln chamber via a heat exchanger. The water is then recycled to the collectors for reheating and there is a gas water heater in the system to maintain temperature when solar is not available. The solar heated air is circulated through the timber in a similar manner as a conventional wood drying kiln by fans which use mains electricity.
This system can save up to 80% of heating cost compared to a conventional gas heated kiln when drying wood.
The range of standard wood drying kilns include 10m3, 20m3, 30m3, 50m3, 75m3 & 100m3. The Solar timber drying kilns can also be custom designed to suit clients requirements.
How does the heating in a Solar kiln work in a nutshell?
An array of solar hot water collectors are mounted on the roof of the solar kiln or another building’s roof in the vicinity. Water is pumped in a closed circuit between the collectors and the heat exchanger inside the kiln. Heat is extracted from the water which then returns to the collector array for re-heating.
The circuit involves a "Day" and "Night" loop with a diverter valve controlling the direction of the water flow according to the commands of the Differential Temperature Controller. An auxiliary water heater is incorporated in the circuit to "top up" the temperature if required. In the standard format this is the indirect gas unit, but any external heat source could be used. Most operators use gas to bring the kiln to temperature where it is maintained by the solar circuit with occasional top ups from the gas auxiliary.
Kilns can also be run using Solar heating alone if required. A programmable microprocessor allows a full range of control options where any kiln climate can be achieved.
Humidity control is maintained by a balance between venting and fogging. Remote monitoring and control from a PC is optional, and the system is compatible with moisture content based control programmes.
Solar kilns are fully engineered structures. They are made of thermal panels with aluminium and stainless components to ensure a maximum life for the wood drying machines. Thermal efficiency and air sealing is a major design objective with all Solar kilns as the wood drying machines are built to operate on solar heating alone if necessary.
All wood drying kilns are supplied as complete pre-cut kits and don't require specialist construction techniques to make it easy for those customers who prefer to install the wood dryer themselves. Nukor can of course also assist those customers preferring a turnkey installation service.
Solar has developed a safe and economical system with minimal compliance cost and easy accessibility. The gas unit is mounted outside the wood drying unit and flued, feeding hot water to the heat exchanger inside the chamber. If desired, the heat exchanger can be coupled to a waste wood hot water system, replacing or supplementing the gas unit.
Economic And Environmental Benefits
Current world concern with energy use and greenhouse gas emissions brings us to examine energy costs involved in drying lumber.
The most important difference between Solar Dryers Australia and other wood drying kiln manufacturers is that up to 80% of the heating energy to dry the timber in the kiln is derived from the sun. This single factor represents a huge saving not only the running costs for the wood drying kiln but also a very significant saving in the amount of greenhouse gas produced to dry the timber.
The savings are so significant that with the SG100 kiln the savings in the gas heating costs alone can pay for the outright cost of the kiln within 7 years in Australia under favourable weather conditions.
Other Products Manufactured By Solar Dryers Australia
Gas Heated Kilns
The simplest of the wood drying kilns are the gas-fired kiln models. These kilns are fitted with an external LP gas unit, heating water in a pumped circuit with a heat exchanger inside the wood drying machine. Indirect gas firing means no combustion gases in the chamber, no need for constant re-humidification and no possibility of fire.
The success of the Solar drying kilns for timer made its word to nut farmers and Macadamia producers created the push for Solar Dryers Australia to develop an on-farm drying system for nuts. The drying equipment address some of the downgrade present in current methods of storage.
Simply blowing ambient air through any larger quantity of nuts will not guarantee uniform dryness, and re-wetting is a common result. There are many parallels in quality hardwood and nut drying, both are dried at similar temperatures, and at carefully controlled rates of moisture loss.