Helping optimize biomass feedstock harvesting
Dec. 12, 2011 - Harvesting biomass can be very time-consuming, which is why producers are looking for the next innovation to increase productivity while minimizing losses.
By David Manly
Dec. 12, 2011 – Harvesting biomass can be very time-consuming, which is
why producers are looking for the next innovation to increase
productivity while minimizing losses.
In an article written for the US Department of Energy, Dr. Steven Thomas describes what can be done to help improve the harvesting of biomass feedstocks (the organic material used to create bioenergy). Each step of the harvesting, transportation and refining process is a costly endeavor, and requires a large financial investment.
Therefore, Thomas describes various innovations and incentives that the US Department of Energy is exploring, such as the Biomass Program, which has invested
$21.3 million in five separate Feedstock Logistics
Demonstration projects. Each project targets one or more bioenergy crop or agricultural resude and develop, build and test full-scale equipment programs to significantly reduce the costs associated with harvesting, processing, delivery or storing biomass.
"For example, one project has developed equipment able to cut and
densely bale a standing crop, such as switchgrass or miscanthus, in a
single operation," says Thomas. "The same project has also designed and built two pieces of
equipment for rapid gathering and stacking of bales at the side of the
field, as well as another piece of equipment that can load or unload a
full flatbed trailer load of bales in about five minutes."