Current issue: 54(3)
This study was aimed at determining the maximum cost level of artificial drying required for cost-efficient operation. This was done using a system analysis approach, in which the harvesting potential and procurement cost of alternative fuel chip production systems were compared at the stand and regional level. The accumulation and procurement cost of chipped delimbed stems from young forests were estimated within a 100 km transport distance from a hypothetical end use facility located in northern Finland. Logging and transportation costs, stumpage prices, tied up capital, dry matter losses and moisture content of harvested timber were considered in the study. Moisture content of artificially dried fuel chips made of fresh timber (55%) was set to 20%, 30% and 40% in the comparisons. Moisture content of fuel chips based on natural drying during storing was 40%. Transporting costs were calculated according to new higher permissible dimensions and weight limits for truck-trailers. The procurement cost calculations indicated that with artificial drying and by avoiding dry material losses of timber, it could be possible to reduce current costs of the prevailing procurement system based on natural drying of timber at roadside landings. The maximum cost level of artificial drying ranged between 1.2–3.2 € MWh–1 depending on the supply chain, moisture content and procurement volume of fuel chips. This cost margin corresponds to, e.g., organization, forwarding and transportation costs or stumpage price of delimbed stems.
In Finland the increasing use of biofuel in transport presupposes a search for new raw material sources for biorefining. The aim of this study was, at the regional level, to compare the procurement costs of logging residues, stumps, delimbed stems and cereal straw for biorefining. The accumulation and procurement costs of forest chips and cereal straw were estimated within a 100-kilometre transporting distance via existing road network from an end-use-facility located in Kouvola in South-East Finland. The analyses were performed as simulated treatments in thinnings of young stands, cereal fields and regeneration fellings using existing productivity and cost functions and yield calculations based on crop statistics, the forest industry stand data and the sample plots data of the National Forest Inventory of Finland. Accumulation of raw material assortments and costs of production stages were defined per dry tonnes. Subsidies and raw material prices were excluded from consideration in the study. The results indicate that recovering logging residues requires lower costs than utilization of stumps, delimbed stems or cereal straw. Cereal straw represents an important source of biomass in Kouvola but the cost competiveness is poor compared the procurement costs of forest chips. When the annual procurement volume of biomass was 50 000 dry tonnes the cost at the plant was 49 € dry tonne –1 and biomass was comprised totally of logging residues. Procurement cost grew to 59 € dry tonne –1 when the annual procurement volume of biomass was doubled to 100 000 dry tonnes. Of that amount, the proportion of logging residues was 58.4%, stumps 24.3% and delimbed stems 17.3%. First cereal straw dry tonnes were delivered to end-use-facility, when procurement cost grew to 60 € dry tonne –1 and annual procurement volume of biomass was 110 000 dry tonnes.
Combining research into forest management stand conditions and wood supply chain processes has been missing from earlier forestry studies. There is a clear need to develop more cost-efficient small-diameter wood production, harvesting and transportation methods from first thinning, which could be used for either industrial or energy wood purposes. This study considers the total cost for small-diameter wood originating from young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated stands. Pine pulpwood is the most harvested and most used roundwood assortment, use of which is expected to rise following new pulp-mill investments in Finland. In addition, utilisation of small-diameter trees directly for energy purposes has been increasing steadily in recent years. The aim of the study was to determine the cost-reduction potential of alternative forest management options and supply chains for small diameter-wood in the regional case of South Savo in eastern Finland. The total costs of three distinct scenarios were studied on the basis of forest management, first-thinning harvesting methods, and transportation: 1) industrial wood, 2) delimbed energy wood, and 3) whole trees for energy purposes. The cost-reduction potential for energy-wood supply chains from first thinning was compared to the industrial supply chain. Small-diameter delimbed wood delivered straight for energy purposes was found to be the most cost-efficient as far as the total cost of the supply chain is concerned. More cost-efficient small-diameter wood processes can be found by linking forest stand simulations with supply chain analysis.
The primary aim of this study was to clarify the chipping productivity and fuel consumption of tractor-powered and truck-mounted drum chippers when chipping pine pulpwood at a terminal. The secondary aim was to evaluate the impact of wood storage time on the chemical and physical technical specifications of wood chips by chipping pulpwood from eight different storage time groups, using Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) pulpwood stems logged between 2 and 21 months previously at the terminal with the above-mentioned chippers. Thirdly, the impact of sieve mesh size on the particle size distribution of wood chips from different age groups was compared by using an 80 mm × 80 mm sieve for a tractor-powered chipper and a 100 mm × 100 mm sieve for a truck-mounted chipper. With both chippers, the chipping productivity grew as a function of grapple load weight. The average chipping productivity of the tractor-powered chipper unit was 19 508 kg (dry mass) per effective hour (E0h), and for the truck-mounted chipper the average productivity was 31 184 kg E0h–1. The tractor-powered drum chipper’s fuel consumption was 3.1 litres and for the truck-mounted chipper 3.3 litres per chipped 1000 kg (dry mass). The amount of extractives or volatiles did not demonstrate any statistically significant differences between storage time groups. The particle size distributions with both chippers were quite uniform, and the storage time of pulpwood did not have a significant effect on the particle size distribution in any chip size classes. One reason for this might be that the basic density of chipped wood was homogenous and there was no statistical difference between different storage times. The use of new sharp knives is likely to have affected chip quality, as witnessed by the absence of oversized particles and the moderate presence of fines. The use of narrower 80 mm × 80 mm sieves on Scots pine material does not seem to offer any benefit compared to 100 mm × 100 mm from the chip quality point of view.