DateProject completed
The SOLARWOOD project consisted in studying the interest of solar energy supply for drying, the most energy-intensive part of primary processing operations. A solar production installation was built and used to power the pilot ACC dryer at FCBA in Bordeaux. A reduction in energy consumption linked to solar energy was demonstrated by this pilot system, which allows for conventional drying operations, thanks to the automated management of the regulation.

Dispositif pilote Solarwood

The Solarwood system captures solar energy in photovoltaic form and in thermal form using panels developed by our partner Base Innovation. The electricity is used to power the heat exchanger system, the ventilation system or can be fed back into the grid.

The hot air produced in the panels is used to produce hot water via the heat exchanger. This hot water is stored if the dryer does not require energy input, or fed to the heating batteries if it does.

Dispositif Solarwood FCBA

The control of the system is fully automated, which means that the drying process remains unchanged from the operator’s point of view.

In the event that the amount of energy produced is not sufficient to meet the needs of the dryer, the conventional heating system is activated.

Drying tests

Drying tests on fir/spruce and maritime pine lumber were carried out throughout 2019. The drying temperatures employed were kept relatively low (40°C and 60°C) to match the production capacity of the solar system.

The conduct of the cycles was not altered in any way by the solar power generation device, which is particularly valuable in a complex operation such as drying.

illustration Solarwood Essais séchage
Figure 1 : comparaison de la quantité de CO2 émise lors du séchage entre le dispositif Solarwood et un système classique
Figure 1: Comparison of the amount of CO2 emitted during drying between the Solarwood device and a conventional system

The aspects remain more nuanced from an economic point of view, since the initial investment is important, but improvements can still be made to this pilot device, and it appears that the solar contribution remains a solution to reduce the environmental impact of drying, in particular in sunny regions.

Project coordinator :
Base Innovation

Partners :
Base Innovation, Cathild Industries, FCBA

Funder :