Eye on Agribuisness
Smart Heating Solutions
Owners: Cameron Klassen, Layne Nichols (left)
Location: Gentry, Ark.
Company History: Smart Heating Solutions was founded in 2008 by Layne Nichols and Cameron Klassen. Both men have experience in the poultry industry, including Layne’s experience in the retail heating business and Cameron’s 20 years experience in manufacturing. “After testing various biomass furnaces, we decided to design and develop a multi-fuel furnace specifically for the poultry and greenhouse industy. After taking a burner to the International Egg and Poultry show in Atlanta, and receiving very positive reponses, we have since installed units in northwest Arkansas, northeastern Oklahoma, as well as in Ohio," Layne said.
"Our primary goal was to get something that would save farmers money on fuel costs, but at the same time be environmentally friendly. We wanted to give the producers the versatility to burn another fuel, if pellets such as wood, cardboard, paper and recyclable bio-mass fuels got expensive. So our furnace will burn coal as well," Cameron said.
Products and Services: "Our furnaces can take the place of, or enhance, natural gas or propane heat sources. Producers can put them inside the poultry house or in an enclosure outside the poultry house. We provide installation, set up and also a source for the fuel supply, both coal and pellets. We're buying directly from the coal mine at Vinita, Okla., and Layne has, over the past 12 years, been the largest retailer of wood pellets in northwest Arkansas. Historically he's been able to sell at low prices because of his volume," said Cameron.
What do producers need to know about alternative heating?
"I think first thing, they need to ask themselves whether installing a system like this will pay them back. Coal can cost as much as 65 percent less per BTU than natural gas or propane, and pellets can be as much as 55 percent less in cost per BTU. Also, this is a very dry heat compared to propane. For every gallon of propane a grower burns, he's putting 6.8 pounds of water into the chicken house, which contributes to wet floors and ammonia levels, which is directly related to bird health. Dry heat is a much healthier heat," Cameron said.
What's in the future for your company?
"There's so many growers really suffering economically; propane costs are taking every bit of profit. We can help, we want to continue helping alleviate those costs and we're committed to a high-quality, American-made solution," Cameron said.
By OFN Staff