Inventors ready for television debut

One of the solar drying sheds made by Alan Bishop and Roger Burke.
One of the solar drying sheds made by Alan Bishop and Roger Burke. Image from Solar Dryers Australia site at
A PAIR of Bellingen inventors have become world leaders with a product that saves companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions.

The brainchild of a team led by Alan Bishop and Roger Burke, Solar Dryers Australia is a Bellingen-based designer and manufacturer of solar hybrid kilns used for drying timber.

SDA director, Roger Burke, said the idea for the kilns originated from their other business, Rose Gum Timbers, a producer of hardwood furniture timber, which initially used a simple solar kiln.

"As the timber business grew we kept improving the kilns to the point where, in 2000, we started selling kilns as well," Mr Burke said.

"Now we are the only commercial manufacturer of solar kilns in the world, right here in Bellingen."

Since 1997, SDA has built more than 100 kilns for businesses as close as Dorrigo and as far away as Hawaii, which represents a production saving of more than 3500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

"This equates to taking 650 Holden Commodores off the road," Mr Burke said.

"Not only are we an environmentally friendly alternative but our kilns also save up to 80 per cent of heating costs, which is several hundred thousand dollars annually for large companies."

And amazingly their biggest order so far has been to supply 13 kilns to Kempsey-based Australian Solar Timbers, the largest solar timber drying installation in the world.

Solar Dryers Australia will feature as part of The New Inventors program on the ABC on May 7.

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