Frequently Asked Questions
Premium-Grade Wood Pellets & Compressed Logs
What are wood pellets?
The Pellet Fuels Institute defines pellets as a renewable, clean-burning, and cost-stable home heating fuel. Wood pellets are made from natural wood sources and manufactured with heat and pressure. No fuel additives or binding agents are involved in the process.
How are they made?
Wood pellets are made with heat and pressure. The natural raw material is dried to low moisture content and then excreted through an extruding process to create a high enough heat and pressure to keep the sawdust in their new form of pellets.
How do I properly burn wood pellets?
Pellets are primarily used in wood pellet appliances ,including stoves, boilers, and furnaces. Each pellet appliance is designed with an auger system to feed the appropriate amount of pellets to provide a consistent, thermostat regulated heat with extremely low emissions.
Why should I use wood pellets to heat my home or business?
Pellets are the cleanest burning solid fuel available in the United States. They are locally manufactured and generate jobs that contribute to the local economy. The fuel price is extremely stable, unlike petroleum-based products. They are made from locally sourced renewable raw materials.
Does heating with pellets last as long as heating with firewood?
Pellet stoves are designed to operate continuously, and appliance safety features allow consumers to burn pellets even while they are away from home for an extended period of time. Additional pellets can be added to the feed hopper without disrupting the combustion process.
Are wood pellets good for the environment?
Wood pellets are a renewable fuel source that can offset the consumption of petroleum-based fuels. The harvest of salvaged timber sales contributes to the improvement of forest health. The cleanest solid fuel-burning appliances registered with the EPA are pellet appliances.
What are compressed logs?
The compressed log product is essentially a large wood pellet that can be used in traditional wood stoves as a supplement or replacement to conventional firewood. They measure 13-inches long and 3-inches in diameter and weigh about 4-pounds each.
Can you use compressed logs for campfires or outdoor firepits?
The compressed logs can be used in campfires or fire pits but do not provide the ambiance you see when burning traditional wood. They are better used as a continual bed of coals in the campfire to keep a constant fire. The ideal use of this product is for heating purposes.
Can compressed logs be used in a fireplace or woodstove?
Yes, that is the preferred method of use for this product. Because there are no fuel additives or binding agents used during the manufacturing process, they are safe in catalytic and non-catalytic stoves and fireplaces. However, stoves are designed with the energy density of traditional firewood in mind, so we caution customers to limit the number of compressed logs used in a wood stove to reduce the risk of overheating your stove or stack.
How many compressed logs should I burn at a time?
We recommend that customers burn no more than 3 logs in your wood stove or fireplace at a time. We suggest to start with one log, learn how your stove responds and then adjust from there.
Can compressed logs be used in conjunction with cordwood, or firewood?
Yes, we have seen the best results by blending compressed logs with firewood. The high energy, high density of the compressed logs provides a more efficient burn. We recommend customers burn nore more than 2-3 logs at a time and using traditional firewood for the remaining capacity for longer burn time and better energy distribution.
Do I need to do something special to light the compressed log?
Because of the high density of the compressed logs, compressed logs can be challenging to light. We recommend using a firestarter and split the logs down to hockey puck sizes to start the fire. Once a fire is going, setting the logs on a hot bed of coals will ignite the logs.
How are wood pellets & compressed logs sold? Where can I buy wood pellets and compressed logs?
Are the pellets from Aurora Energy Solutions certified premium/quality?
Is there a difference between a premium and standard grade wood pellet?
How long does a bag of pellets last? How many tons of wood pellets will I need to heat my house for a winter season?
Are pellets sold in bulk quantities?
I’ve seen silos at local businesses with the Superior Pellet Fuels name on them. Are they for pellets?
How should I store my wood pellets? Can wood pellets go bad?
Kiln & Kiln-Dried Firewood
Where will the kiln be located, and what can we expect at the site?
The kiln will be located in the Fairbanks industrial zone located at the intersection of Phillips Field Road and Pioneer Road. The community knows this area as the old Quality Meats site.
What is the size of the wood kiln? How much wood can the kiln dry?
The kiln will be 36 feet x 30 feet, and has 48 cords per drying cycle. We expect each cycle to take approximately 2 days to complete. If the kiln operated 365 days a year, more than 8,500 cords of dry would be produced.
How long will it take to assemble/install the kiln? When will the facility begin operations? When will dry wood be available for sale?
The foundational work will begin in early July, and the kiln system will arrive around August 1st this year. It will take approximately one month to assemble the kiln once it arrives. We anticipate selling kiln-dried firewood early in the fall.
Will the kiln facility operate year-round or only on a seasonal basis?
The kiln will be designed to run year-round. Still initial plans are to operate the kiln drying system seasonally to grow the market and maximize drying efficiencies.
What is the difference between kiln-dried, seasoned, and green/wet firewood?
Kiln-dried firewood offers a consistent, low-moisture content wood that the customer can immediately burn. The drying process also creates a cleaner product that is free of bugs, fungus, and mold. Seasoned wood that is appropriately covered, with good air circulation, can meet the quality standards of kiln-dried firewood. However, it does not provide consistency throughout the product. Green/wet wood typically carries moisture content higher than 20%, which increases emissions during combustion and generates higher levels of creosote.
How will Aurora Energy Solutions partner with local wood sellers?
Local wood sellers will have access to a consistent source of available, high-quality firewood working directly with Aurora Energy Solutions. This ensures a dry wood that is ready to burn immediately is delivered to customers.
Will Aurora Energy Solutions be selling wood by the bundle, cord, etc.?
We are still developing the distribution process. However, we plan to sell kiln-dried firewood direct to the customer in loose volumes by the full cord or the pound.
What type of firewood will be available?
Because of the kiln's start-up timeline, we will only be producing birch firewood for the 2020 heating season. We will add kiln-dried spruce firewood as an option in 2021.
What are salvage or reclaimed logs?
This is a term used by the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry to identify resources damaged by natural disasters such as flooding, forest fire, or storm damage. These timber sales from areas with damage are expedited for harvest to improve forest health by removing these fatal timber stands and creating natural habitat regrowth. When trees are damaged, they become much more susceptible to beetle infestation or new forest fires.
Would firewood from the kiln come from areas affected by wildfires?
These resources would be directed to our pellet and compressed log operations. During the debarking process, the charred portion of the tree is discarded, and the useful wood fiber can be added to the pellet and compressed log products.
Are there concerns with safety at the kiln facility?
Safety is one of our core values. We will be installing a fence at the new kiln and wood handling facility to ensure we have a safe area to operate and can be community-friendly. Specific traffic patterns at the kiln location will be designed to keep the public safe from heavy equipment operations. Plans are also underway to mitigate visibility concerns associated with the roadway access on Phillips Field Road.
How will quality control be managed to ensure 20% moisture or less in kiln-dried firewood?
The kiln system has a sophisticated moisture analysis program that will guarantee moisture standards are met. As a secondary quality control effort, moisture samples will also be taken manually from each kiln-drying cycle. The system process will be certified by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
How should I store my kiln-dried firewood?
Dry firewood is like a sponge. It will take on moisture if exposed. We suggest customers keep all firewood covered and out of the elements ensuring sufficient flow of air can circulate.
How many jobs will be created by this new facility?
The pellet and compressed log facility paired with the firewood processing and kiln operations will create six additional full-time jobs and eight additional seasonal jobs. Indirect positions in timber harvest, transportation, sales, and service/maintenance will also generate from the industry growth.
What types of jobs will be open, and how can interested people apply?
We have openings for every aspect of our operations at this time. If you are interested in joining our team, please send an email to email@example.com or call Nikki Garcia at 907.488.6055.
Aside from reducing harmful emissions, what other benefits will this facility bring to the community?
Pricing, Ordering & Delivery
How much will a cord of kiln-dried firewood cost?
We will be posting the prices for kiln-dried firewood soon!
Will Aurora Energy Solutions sell dry firewood directly to consumers, or only to existing retailers and distributors?
We intend to offer sales for both retail and wholesale customers.
Will home/residential delivery be an option for customers?
We will continue to offer delivery options for wood pellets and compressed logs. The delivery plans for firewood are still being developed. Please see our Delivery Area page for more information as we update this plan.
What can I do with the “green/wet” wood that I already have?
We hope to offer an option for customers to dry their own wood using the kiln system. The process is still being developed. Still, goal is to ensure customers have dry wood for the season without having to change the wood procurement process they have depended on for many years. There may also be the option of selling the wood direct to the kiln.
Can customers bring you wood to exchange for dry wood?
This is an option we hope to be able to offer our customers in the future.
I’m a retailer interested in selling your products in my store - who do I contact?
Please visit the Contact Us page to connect with Nikki Garcia or Chad Schumacher directly. You may also call 907.488.6055.
Air Quality & Other Environmental Benefits
Where is the wood harvested from?
The wood will primarily be harvested from the Tanana Valley State Forest within 100-miles from the facilities.
Are insects, mold, or mildew a concern?
These are concerns when dealing with "green/wet" wood. However, the kiln-drying process for the firewood and the mill-drying process for the pellets and compressed logs alleviate those concerns. Inventory management of our green timber is important to us so that we can ensure mold does not become an issue before the drying process.
What are the benefits of using kiln-dried firewood, premium pellets, and compressed logs?
The benefits are both environmental and economic. Efficiency improvements by using these products will result in less fuel consumption, which naturally reduces emissions and saves money.
Aside from reducing harmful emissions, what other benefits will this facility bring to the community?
Will the kiln facility or wood processing machinery produce any harmful emissions?
The new kiln will produce zero net emissions because the heat that will be used to dry the wood will come from the district heating system from Aurora Energy. Steam will be evaporated from the wood in the drying process.
Will Aurora Energy Solutions continue offering all the same products currently sold by Superior Pellet Fuels?
Yes, both products manufactured by Superior Pellet Fuels are available for sale.
Will employees at Superior Pellet Fuels retain their jobs following the acquisition by Aurora Energy Solutions?
All employees were offered a position to begin working for Aurora Energy Solutions.
Where will I be able to purchase Superior Pellet Fuels/Aurora Energy Solutions products?
We hope to significantly grow the distribution outlets for Aurora Energy Solutions products. However, sales will remain available at all of the current distribution outlets (see Our Products section).
Can customers expect a change in the quality of pellets and compressed log?
The pellet fuel exceeds all of the premium-grade standards. However, we intend to add a stationary chipping system, which will significantly reduce bark content for the spruce raw material supply. The bark directly correlates to ash content. We anticipate to see a reduction from the current 0.4% bark content.
Will customers be able to visit the North Pole location?
Yes, sales hours may change once additional distribution is available at the kiln location. However, customers will still be able to visit the North Pole location for pellets, compressed logs, and ultimately kiln-dried firewood.