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Discrete Event Simulation of Switchgrass Harvest Schedules

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131595732,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Devita McCullough, Robert D. Grisso, John S. Cundiff
Keywords:   Biomass Biomass logistics Harvest schedule Harvest system Balers Biorefinery

Abstract. As the nation moves towards energy independence, it is critical to address the current challenges associated with large-scale biofuel production. In this paper, we study the impacts in the logistics network resulting from the selection of one of four harvest scenarios. A simulation model was developed, which simulated the harvest and filling of a Satellite Storage Location (SSL), using conventional hay harvest equipment, specifically, a round baler. The model evaluated the impacts of four harvest scenarios (ranging from short, October-December, to extended, July-March), on baler equipment requirements, baler utilization, and the storage capacity requirements of round bales, across a harvest production region. Of the four scenarios examined in the analysis, each displayed similar trends across the six tours. Variations in the baler requirements that were observed among the tours resulted from variability in field size distribution, field to baler allocations, and total production area. Beginning harvest in July and extending harvest through March resulted in reductions in the number of round balers required ranging from 50-63%, as compared to the short harvest scenario. For a 9-month harvest, harvesting approximately 50% of total switchgrass production area in July-September, as compared to harvesting approximately 50% in October-December, resulted in reductions in number of round balers required ranging from 33.3 to 43.5%.

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