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Strategies for Reducing Moisture Content in Forest Residues at the Harvest Site

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

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 34(1): 25-33. (doi: 10.13031/aea.12427) @2018
Authors:   Anil Raj Kizha, Han-Sup Han, Jeffrey Paulson, Anil Koirala
Keywords:   Feedstock quality, Logging slash, Transect sampling method, Woody biomass energy.

Abstract. The moisture content (MC) of biomass derived from forest residues can pose a challenge to biomass utilization. It plays a significant role in determining the cost of transportation and subsequent market price. Additionally, emerging biomass conversion technologies, such as gasification, torrefaction, and briquetting, have very narrow specifications for the MC (e.g., <15%) in their feedstocks. The goal of this study was to develop strategies for reducing moisture content by evaluating different arrangement patterns of forest residues and its effect on MC reduction at the harvest site. The study compared four different arrangement patterns including criss-cross, teepees, traditional piling (processor piled), and scattered residues in three different timber harvest units in northern California. Two of the arrangement patterns (criss-cross and processor piled) were also covered with a plastic cover. Samples were collected from each treatment using a transect method and were recorded for 12 months. There was an overall drop of MC from 52% (freshly cut) to 12% between all arrangements over the study period. The cost of construction per pile, averaged $37, $41, and $48 for teepees, criss-cross, and processor piles, respectively. Even though, there was no significant difference in MC reduction between piles (except scattered), each pile arrangement of forest residues directly affected biomass feedstock operations, logistics, and costs.

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