Evolution and economic improvement of a recently developed single-pass cut-and-chip harvest system
Thursday, May 1, 2014: 3:35 PM
Grand Ballroom F-G, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Mark Eisenbies1, M. McArdle2, A. Patel3, J. Posselius4, S. Shi3, R. Shuren5, B. Stanton5, S. Summers5, Timothy A. Volk6 and J. Zerpa5, (1)Forest and Natural Resources Management, State University of New York - College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, (2)MESA Reduction and Engineering, (3)SUNY-ESF, (4)New Holland, (5)Greenwood Resources, (6)Forest and Natural Resources Management, State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Demand for bioenergy sourced from woody biomass is projected to increase; however, the expansion and deployment of short rotation woody crop (SRWC) systems has been constrained by high production costs and sluggish market acceptance due to quality and consistency issues in first-generation harvesting systems.  Harvesting accounts for about 30% of the delivered cost in SRWC systems such as willow and poplar; harvesting and transport combined can account for 45-60% of delivered costs.  The objective of this work was to evaluate and improve a single-pass cut-and-chip harvester system based on a standard New Holland FR-9000 series forage chopper with a dedicated 130FB short rotation coppice header using local chip collection systems over a 3-year project.  Harvests have been evaluated over the course of the project culminating with two commercially-sized willow harvests in central New York State.  Harvester throughput has improved over the course of the project from 15 to 70 Mgwet hr-1 while harvester-related down time has decreased from 74% to below 10%.  Results indicate the harvester is capable of providing consistent, predictable throughput over a wide range of standing biomass up to 90 Mgwet ha-1.  Locally sourced collection systems, if properly scaled, should be able to support harvesting activities, but require further study.  Increases in effective material capacity and decreases in down time have reduced harvesting costs for SRWC by 30 – 40% over the past three years.  Future efforts to reduce harvesting system costs should focus on optimizing the collection and delivery system and making incremental harvester improvements.