Smart storage for feedstock
The history of Oaks Unlimited goes back as far as the Appalachian hardwoods the company mills. Delcy Pryor, grandfather of the company’s current president, Joe Pryor II, began milling white oaks in North Carolina in the 1960s to produce staves, which the Japanese used to manufacture whisky barrels.
Today, Oaks Unlimited continues that tradition by milling lumber for export. The mill maintains an inventory of more than two million board-feet of lumber, which it dries on site.
The mill has long used biomass to produce steam for its kiln. It is efficient to do so, as it allows the mill to rid itself of sawdust it produces. To supplement this waste, the mill also burns green woodchips it receives from a local supplier.
At the time the mill installed the boiler, a 125 horsepower (hp) Converta Kiln system, it erected a 30- ton, corrugated steel silo to store the biomass. In 2020, after 25 years of service, the silo and accompanying infeed system were...