Whole tree transportation system for timber processing depots
The growing demand for alternative energy has led those who are interested in producing sustainable energy from renewable timber to devise new concepts to satisfy those demands. The concept of timber processing depots, where whole stem trees will be delivered for future processing into wood products and high quality energy fuel, has led to the re-evaluation of our current timber transportation method and whether it can viably transport unprocessed trees in an efficient, legal and safe manner. Modifications for log trailers will be developed to accommodate tree length, unprocessed southern yellow pine. Consideration of criteria such as modification weight, load force analysis, ease of attachment and detachment, and overall feasibility will determine which of the two trailer modification designs will be chosen for payload capacity utilization testing. The first design is a swinging guide design and the second is an extendable bolster design. These designs ensure that tree crowns are contained within the trailer to prevent contact with and damage to other vehicles while in transport. Furthermore, three different loading arrangements will be tested on the modified trailer to determine which configuration maximizes the payload while remaining legal to transport timber according to the laws and regulations of 11 states in the southeastern United States. These payload capacity utilization rates will be compared to the rate of an unmodified log trailer loaded with tree length, unprocessed southern yellow pine. We hypothesize that the modified trailer with a standard loading configuration will optimize and increase the payload over the unmodified trailer.