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    With increasing energy costs, using small dry kilns for drying lumber for small-volume value-added wood products has become more of an option when compared with conventional drying. Small solar kilns are one such option, and a number of solar kiln designs exist and are in use. However, questions remain about the design and operation of solar kilns, particularly during the colder months. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate a new solar kiln built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) and its operation in southwestern New Mexico. The study consisted of two solar kiln audits done during winter months for two consecutive years. In the first year, 1-in. ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) random length lumber was kiln-dried from an average of 122% down to 7.7% final moisture content (MC) in 14 days. Drying time for ponderosa pine was consistent between this solar dryer and a dehumidification kiln of comparable size.

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    Bergman, Richard D.; Bilek, Ted E.M. 2012. Evaluating a small structural insulated panel (SIP) designed solar kiln in Southwestern New Mexico - Part 1. Design and operation. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-211. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory 22 p.


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    solar drying, kiln, structural insulated panels, small, design, operation

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