Effects of Intentional Reduction in Moisture Content of Forest Wood Chips during Transport on Truckload Price

Arkadiusz Gendek, Tomasz Nurek, Witold Zychowicz, Tadeusz Moskalik

Abstract


Wood chip transportation is a widespread practice in Poland, with distances between forest sites and power or heating plants reaching 300 km and truck transport times of up to 6 h. Because the basic parameter affecting biomass quality for energy production is moisture content, the objective of the presented economic analysis was to determine its effect on the price of wood chips transported by semi-trailer trucks. This paper considered the possibility of drying biomass in the semi-trailer. No external energy consumption was envisioned; the heat needed for drying was obtained from the truck cooling or exhaust systems via heat exchangers. The moisture content of transported biomass had a dual effect on the final truckload price. While it increased biomass amount by adding to its weight, it decreased its price by lowering its calorific value. Mathematical analysis showed that a decrease in wood chip moisture content increased truckload price, justifying research on technological improvements of this process. Simulations indicated that by reducing moisture content during transportation, biomass suppliers increased their revenues approximately € 3.6 to € 30.0 per truckload, which translates into annual financial profit ranging from tens of thousands of euros (EUR) to more than € 23,810.

Keywords


Calorific value; Forest biomass; Moisture content; Transport; Wood chips

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