Save energy with solar power equipment
When it comes to solar power equipment, there have been years of research and development invested in saving energy. Our R&D program has largely improved the already highly efficient earlier models in terms of the net energy that is captured and actually maintained for the process.
An early model Solarola kiln employed at Australia’s premier timber training venue (Victorian Timber Industry Training Center) in Ballarat in Victoria reports that it does not require supplementary heating for 7-8 months of each year. Our old technology generally outperforms other known solar drying technologies!
Triple Skin Cladding
- The outer covers of a Solarola kiln are made of high-quality ultra-violet protected plastic film. These layers are inexpensively, routinely and easily replaced each 4 to 5 years.
- Using two separate inflation / air circulation units, the three covers create two air cavities. The outer static air cavity forms an effective double-glazed insulation barrier.
- The inner
cavity normally circulates air from kiln to kiln, collecting heat created by
ultra violet absorption from the black inner “bubble-wrap” plastic cover.
- When and operator programmable “solar banking” kiln temperature setting is reached, the kiln control system automatically dumps excess heat direct to atmosphere.
- Note that the inner black bubble wrap cover and fully automated support systems are one significant element of our vastly improved solar collection system.
Graph: Highlights superior insulation system with ambient temperature at day-break 5 C while the solar kiln is still operating at 18 C. This temperature is sufficient to dry hardwood at required 1-1.5% moisture loss per day.
Both levels of available kiln technology have external weather station features that are integrated with the control system. This allows them to perform a number of unique automated control functions that make operation simple and effective at all times (some are detailed below). Depending on the kiln specification supplied, a range of sensing conditions are measured and logged including temperature, humidity, wind-speed, barometric pressure and light intensity. These can be measured, recorded and logged for easy recall and reference for monitoring of your solar power equipment.
Multi-functional Solar Heating-Insulation System
Even in the worst solar environments, our solar power equipment has a heating system that creates all or most of the heating energy for quick drying. In warm to hot environments, our systems are literally unbeatable.
One of the many important unique features of our solar power equipment is the automatic function of changing the solar collector cavity to another insulation barrier when solar activity is non-existent. You will be surprised at the amount of energy that can be created by the technology on extremely cold, sunny days or when cloud cover is thick. Features of our technology even make ‘rainy seasons’ productive in terms of net energy savings. At night, the combined outer and inner double-glazed insulation cavities provide insulation properties similar to conventionally insulated kilns.
The smart-vent feature is a fully automated system that overrides normal kiln humidity venting, eliminating wasteful venting when ambient humidity conditions are higher than the kiln. We have seen situations where the kiln has continued to maintain set humidity conditions as low as 35% and risen only to 40% while short rainy periods with 95% humidity levels have passed by. This simple feature in your solar power equipment improves heat energy retention performance in some seasons and environments by over 30%.
‘Solar-banking’ allows surplus solar heat to be ‘banked’ or stored in the timber charge. An optional operator setting determines maximum kiln temperature so that, when individual wood properties make it possible, the system allows the solar collector to continue to deliver heat to pre-determined levels above the kiln operating set point. Stored in the load being dried, this energy is available for use during the night ahead or when a cloudy and rainy day arises in the weather cycle.
Graph (i): Solar drying without supplementary heating at a stage late in the cycle where “solar banking” is set for 0-degrees. Note that kiln temperature stops just short of kiln required temperature setting of 60degc. This performance graph also highlights a massive 30deg c temperature gain compared to ambient 30deg c maximum.
Graph (ii): Exceptional control. Solar banking set 10 deg above kiln set-point. In this case the timber type and stage of the process allows for extra heat without causing degrade. By avoiding expensive heat exchangers, solarkilns avoids associated water pump energy inputs, heat exchange energy losses from one medium to another, avoids costly water or other storage devices and avoids their associated maintenance costs.
Graph (ii): Exceptional control. Solar banking set 10 deg above kiln set-point. In this case the timber type and stage of the process allows for extra heat without causing degrade. By avoiding expensive heat exchangers, solar kilns avoid associated water pump energy inputs, heat exchange energy losses from one medium to another, avoids costly water or other storage devices and avoids their associated maintenance costs.
Other inferior kiln types that use hot water storage do not only waste a large portion of their solar energy converting solar energy to hot water and then back to air in the kiln- they use indirect fired heaters when solar conditions are poor and when supplementary heating is required. By using indirect fired heaters, they typically lose at least 30% of their energy (gas) up the flue as waste gas!
Alternative drying schedules accessible through the pc central control system include a patented operator defined control panel and system feature that allows the gen-4 system to automatically respond to specific climate and process conditions by changing from solar mode only to supplementary heated mode; maximizing each option, reducing energy inputs and optimizing the process in general. This means your solar power equipment works more but costs less.