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New Manufacturing Systems for Wood-based Industries

MSU and Seacoast Science, Inc. are developing sensor for lumber mill emissions

Drying lumber in kilns produces numerous air pollutants, but equipment for real-time measurement of the emissions is not currently available. To solve this, a team of researchers from Mississippi State University and scientists from Seacoast Science, Inc. are evaluating new state-of-the-art sensors that monitor air pollution emitted while wood is drying. The MSU scientists are testing a detector produced by Seacoast Science Inc. that will continuously monitor pollutants in real time during materials processing.

The sensor has the capability to continuously detect minute amounts of compounds emitted during lumber processing, including volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and methanol. Real-time measurements will allow kiln operators to adjust the drying process to reduce emissions. The new sensors offer significant advantages over current monitoring equipment. The sensors require little power, are relatively inexpensive, correct for humidity and temperature differences that vary greatly during the drying process. They are small and do not require any carrier gasses during operations The collaborative project is expected to provide financial benefits to mill operators and result in significant environmental benefits. Reducing emissions by 50 percent could result in the elimination of 168 tons of hydrocarbon emissions for a site producing 150 million board feet of kiln-dried lumber per year. There are 100 such sites nationwide. A prototype of the sensor will be tested in industrial mills this fall.

Drying lumber in kilns produces numerous air pollutants, but equipment for real-time measurement of the emissions is not currently available. To solve this, a team of researchers from Mississippi State University and scientists from Seacoast Science, Inc. are evaluating new state-of-the-art sensors that monitor air pollution emitted while wood is drying. The MSU scientists are testing a detector produced by Seacoast Science Inc. that will continuously monitor pollutants in real time during materials processing. The sensor has the capability to continuously detect minute amounts of compounds emitted during lumber processing, including volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and methanol. Real-time measurements will allow kiln operators to adjust the drying process to reduce emissions. The new sensors offer significant advantages over current monitoring equipment. The sensors require little power, are relatively inexpensive, correct for humidity and temperature differences that vary greatly during the drying process. They are small and do not require any carrier gasses during operations The collaborative project is expected to provide financial benefits to mill operators and result in significant environmental benefits. Reducing emissions by 50 percent could result in the elimination of 168 tons of hydrocarbon emissions for a site producing 150 million board feet of kiln-dried lumber per year. There are 100 such sites nationwide. A prototype of the sensor will be tested in industrial mills this fall.