By Tony Kryzanowski
The ultimate goal of afforesting with Short-Rotation Woody Crops (SRWC) (3-20 year rotations) is to maximize volume and value to land owners and industry, and to recognize this resource as a fast-growing, predictable and sustainable feedstock for multiple uses, from conventional forest products to bioenergy and other bio-products to grow Canada’s bioeconomy.
Now that the mature SRWC plantations, established and managed as a technical development site by Natural Resource Canada’s Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) in Edmonton is being harvested, the focus will now be on evaluating a variety of on-site processing technologies and methods, aimed at preparing the harvested SRWC crops to the desired size and characteristics required by end users.
The harvesting of the 18-hectare Edmonton SRWC plantations offer a unique research and development opportunity for CWFC to intensively measure, monitor and verify various harvesting, pre-processing, and transportation systems that very closely mimic a commercial supply chain.
This includes detailed time and motion studies for all the equipment, as well as weight measurement to determine recovered volumes for all harvested material.
Full tree permanent sample plots are also being manually destructively sampled to validate growth charts, partition all tree components and determine carbon values.
As the large stems originate from clonal plantations established between 2002 and 2005, they are colour coded by species, clone and age (14-17) for mass and transportation tracking purposes. To transport the logs, CWFC will use a self loading truck to load and haul the logs for delivery to a pulp mill. The haul trucks have scales to weigh the loads at source, which are validated with the pulp mill scales.
CWFC believes that the data collected and shared will prove invaluable to industry in developing workable business cases, with realistic financial inputs to potentially include SRWCs into their fibre supply mix. This will also allow them to assess the feasibility of recovering forest residues as biomass in natural forests.
One chipping method for the accumulated residues or ‘slash’ from the large stem processing operation will be the use of a portable whole tree chipper, powered by a tractor’s three point hitch. Depending on the end user’s needs, the biomass will be chipped to different sizes using different screens, with the material blown into a chip trailer for delivery to a storage site.
This recovery method will be used in residues and medium stem (4-15 cm) diameter biomass plantations. The loaded wagon will be weighed as each source is chipped, allowing CWFC to measure and track how much biomass is being recovered from each harvested source, followed by the characterization of the material produced.
Small stem harvesters include a forage harvester with a drum chipper and a bio-baler that cuts and round-bales the full stem of the willow or hybrid poplar.
A tractor powered tub grinder will mulch selected small stem bales to produce another biomass product.
As an additional step in the biomass supply-chain, a portion of the pre-processed material will be densified and packaged using a developing technology. This round baling system will compress and package wood chips and mulched material to 2-3 times the density of loose material. These bales will be piled for storage and conditioning (drying) before being shipped to the final users.
On the Cover:
A commitment to staying innovative and cutting edge through continuous improvements has been the key to continued business success for Vancouver Island company Coastland Wood Industries—and recent capital investments reinforce that solid approach (Photo courtesy of Coastland Wood Industries).
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Family forestry legacy
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Coastland’s continuous improvements
Veneer producer Coastland Wood Industries’ business strategy of continuous improvements has delivered solid results for the Vancouver Island-based company.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, is a major feature story from the Canadian Wood Fibre
The Last Word
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