Open-Air Drying of Cut and Windrowed Short-Rotation Poplar Stems
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Two-pass harvesting of short-rotation forestry plantations offers the opportunity to accumulate large biomass stores without occupying costly industrial areas, while letting the biomass dry before comminution. This study aimed at developing a simple model for predicting moisture content reduction of short-rotation forestry poplar stems felled and windrowed in the field. In a controlled experiment, cut stem windrows were built and left in the field for up to 6 months (from early December to early June). Thus stored, poplar stems incurred a reduction of moisture content between 10 and 20 percent points. Drying rate varied with the period of storage, and it was faster for later felling dates. Precipitation accounted for 20 to 40 % of the drying rate. No dry matter losses due to microbial activity were recorded during the whole storage period, lasting up to 6 months. The models developed with this study are simple and robust, and allow precision management of collection operations in order to guarantee a constant flow of biomass to user plants.
KeywordsBiomass Wood Chips Storage Harvesting
This work was funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture within the framework of the project “FAESI: Agricultural Energy Chains for Southern Italy”.
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