Application of a small-scale equipment system for biomass harvesting
The small-scale harvesting equipment system has been and continues to grow in use in forestry operations in some regions in the world. This harvest system can include a range of equipment types, such as feller-bunchers or chainsaws, skidders or farm tractors, and chippers. These machines are generally smaller, lower cost and less productive than larger, more advanced forestry machines. The objective of this project was to investigate the feasibility of a small scale harvesting system that would produce feedstock for a biomass power plant. The system had to be cost competitive. A boom-type feller-buncher, a small grapple skidder and a chipper were tested as a small-scale system. In this study, feller-buncher and skidder productivity was determined to be 10.5 m3 per productive machine hour, and production for the chipper was determined to be 18 m3 per productive machine hour. Production from the system did not reach the desired levels of 4 loads/day (25 m3/ load); however, the system was able to produce about 3 loads/day. The results showed that the system currently could fill a roadside van for $16.90/m3, but suggested machine modifications could potentially reduce the system cost to $12.73/ m3. Residual stand damage was minimal, especially on flatter ground and not operating on a slash layer. Soil disturbance from the harvesting system was predominantly undisturbed or classified as a shallow disturbance.