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    Taiwan's Feng Chia University has succeeded in boosting the production of hydrogen from biomass to 15 liters per hour, one of the world's highest biohydrogen production rates, a researcher at the university said Friday. The research team managed to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide (which can be captured and stored) from the fermentation of different strains of anaerobes in a sugar cane-based liquefied mixture. The highest yield was obtained by the Clostridium bacterium. Taiwan News - November 14, 2008.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Efficient timber harvester delivers wood chips on the spot, improves biomass logistics

Biomass harvesting, logistics and transport are important factors in the total production cost of biofuels. Engineers are designing new integrated systems to increase the efficiency of these steps, such as mobile pellet plants that can be brought to farm fields, small-scale pyrolysis plants that can be located near biomass sources, or new combines that harvest and pretreat herbaceous crops for biogas production (previous post).

For solid biofuels used in biomass power plants under the form of chips or pellets, wood resources first need to be harvested from forests, which often present a challenging terrain. Once extracted, thinnings or trunks are transported to a central wood chipping facility where the biomass is shredded, ready to be transformed into solid, liquid or gaseous biofuels.

A new harvester developed in Finland specially for the emerging forest-based bioenergy sector, combines these steps in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly way.

The Valmet 801 Combi BioEnergy [*Finnish] developed by Komatsu Forest brings the wood chipper to the forest, instead of the forest to the chipper. Primarily intended for use in young-growth woodland, it is an ideal tool for thinning woodland to promote strong future forestry growth and producing high-quality woodchips for use in biopower plants.

The benefits of thinning young plantation woodland have gone largely unused in Finland, as they have elsewhere in the wold, largely for reasons of cost. The low yield of wood for each hectare generated by this type of thinning has generally seen timber companies and pulp and paper companies avoid it as largely unproductive.

With the rise in the interest in renewable, carbon-neutral fuels, this situation is changing rapidly. Young forests represent a major fuel resource capable of providing millions of cubic metres of wood a year in the Nordic region alone.

The obstacle to making use of this resource has, until now, been that the harvesting and chipping methods available have not been particularly well suited to this type of land. Moreover, existing processes aren't very energy-efficient: many different machines are needed, each with their own fuel consumption.

Chips on the spot
The Valmet 801 Combi BioEnergy eliminates these problems at a stroke, as it offers a ‘chips on the spot’ solution. While felling, the operator can grab a number of trunks at the same time and feed them into a chipper integrated at the front of the machine. The resulting chips are then blown into the onboard 27-m3 hopper, the contents of which can be emptied into a forward-hauled container in only three minutes for transport to a preset pick-up point at the roadside.

This efficient, integrated chain means that timber felled in the morning can already be generating heat and power at a power plant later the same day:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Energy efficiency all the way
A number of forest energy contractors and forest-management companies are already using the Valmet 801 Combi BioEnergy, and the results have been even better than expected.

One machine and the asssociated support logistics can manage about 300 ha of young-growth woodland and generate the equivalent of more than 50 000 MWh of environment-friendly forest energy.

The Valmet 801 Combi BioEnergy system thins, chips, and transports a highly valuable energy resource using a little over one litre of fossil fuel for every megawatt hour of end-use energy.

This compares very favourably with the best that alternative systems can do, as they need nearly four times as much fuel to achieve the same performance.

Komatsu Forest Oy: Valmet 801 Combi BioEnergy.

Dedicated website on 'biologistics', built around the machine.


Anonymous battery said...

This compares very favourably with the best that alternative systems can do, as they need nearly four times as much fuel to achieve the same performance.

5:52 AM  

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