Abstract

Energy costs have risen immensely over the past decade and have strained US industrial sectors. The forest products sector is considered an energy-intensive industry group, and energy use has an important impact on a sawmill's financial integrity. This research focuses on developing specific energy consumption profiles for the manufacture of common Appalachian hardwood lumber species. Process, production, and energy data were gathered by visiting three sawmill facilities in West Virginia. With this information, the specific energy consumption (SEC) for each mill, mill production component, and species was developed. The SEC of sawmills varied between 84 kWh per thousand board feet (MBF) to 111 kWh/MBF with an overall average of 100 kWh/MBF for the three sawmills. In general, results show that denser species consume more energy than less dense species, that the SEC of hard-hardwood lumber was 98 kWh/MBF, and that the soft-hardwood lumber was 92 kWh/MBF. The SEC of Sawmill 3 was significantly different from the SECs of the other two sawmills. Results also indicated that the SEC increases as the percentage of four-quarter lumber increases during a particular shift along with an increase in the energy consumption of chipper, head saw, and resaw. Conversely, SEC decreases as the percentage of cants and timbers sawn increases.

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