ARTi Teams Up with Metzler Forest Products to Upgrade Firewood Kiln Drying System and Produce Useful Biochar

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ARTi Teams Up with Metzler Forest Products to Upgrade Firewood Kiln Drying System and Produce Useful Biochar


Metzler Landscape Center 

Metzler Forest Products in Reedsville, Pennsylvania offers a wide range of forestry related services that include timber harvesting and transport, in-woods chipping, custom chipping and grinding, firewood, haul road construction, land clearing and grubbing, woodyard services and landscaping products. They sell some by-products from these operations as mulch in several colors, compost and topsoil in their landscape center.

ARTi’s Bernardo del Campo with Team Metzler

Metzler uses an SII dry kiln with propane burners to dry firewood as part of their many firewood products that include wood in several lengths, and bundled kiln dried firewood and kindling. ARTi’s first visit to the Reedsville facility offered improvements to the existing kiln system. The ARTi team ultimately designed, modeled, fabricated and installed fins to the existing SII burner heat tube that greatly improved heat distribution. Other ideas were discussed to recirculate the SII burner’s waste heat to pre-dry wood. The ARTi team also offered ideas on how to use process heat from their biochar reactor to replace heat from the SII propane burners. The biochar could be used to produce high end compost and topsoil, and for advanced stormwater management.

ARTi’ engineers returned for trials to confirm our reactor heat could replace propane heat in the Metzler firewood kilns. The validation goals were to check operational heat levels and demonstrate that heat could be outsourced from another unit, as well as greatly lessen drying time. An ARTi heat manifold was used to improve distribution of the heat provided by the ARTi afterburner, and the existing kiln fans circulated the heat to dry the firewood. An additional proprietary step was added by ARTi to significantly reduce the drying time. ARTi engineers designed automation to tie their biochar reactor, heat manifold and proprietary engineering to the existing SII automation.

This project confronted a number of challenges. The first was electromagnetic interference with sensors inhibiting proper collection of temperature data. There were issues with switching, and the regulation of air pressure caused by the kiln fans that reduced pressure in ARTi’s afterburner reducing propane flow. There were also challenges with power and instrument communication. All of these issues were resolved through critical thinking and teamwork.

The heat trial was a huge success, proving Metzler could save significant time and dollars by drying their firewood with ARTi’s reactor heat and implementing the proposed proprietary process step, while providing biochar for environmentally useful purposes. The ARTi staff would like to thank Metzler Forest Products for inviting them to partner on these useful projects!

ARTi Team on-site at Metzler


ARTi team member inspects SII heat tube during ARTi fin installation.


ARTi system control panel

Visit Metzler Forest Products: site


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