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Predicting and Controlling Moisture Content to Optimise Forest Biomass Logistics

Forestry faculty of University of Zagreb
Publication Date
  • Moisture Content
  • Biomass Supply Chain
  • Optimal Storage And Transportation
  • Linear Programming
  • Biomass Covering
  • Computer Science


Wood fuel quality attributes have to be considered by logistics planners if fuel procurement from forests and energy production at the plant are considered simultaneously. The single most important quality attribute is the moisture content (MC) of chips or raw material delivered to energy plants. It affects heating value, storage properties, chipping and transport costs of the fuel. To assess the impact of forest biomass moisture content on supply chain costs, we devel­oped a linear programming-based tool for optimization decision support that minimizes sup­ply chain costs including harvesting, storage, chipping, and transportation of fuels. A CHP plant in Finland was used as the study case and three biomass raw materials (supply chains) were used for the analysis: whole trees from early thinnings, stemwood from early thinnings, and logging residues from final fellings. Our results indicate that both the proportion and volume of the biomass material delivered to the plant are very sensitive to specifications on MC range limits and the length of the storage (drying) period. Compared to a scenario with no storage, a reduction in volume harvested of up to 33% can be achieved to meet the monthly energy demand if proper drying methods, such as covering of biomass material, are imple­mented before chipping and delivering the biomass materials to the energy plant.

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