Energy wood from SRC/solid fuels

Fast growing Salix spp. at the ATB plantation (Foto: ATB)
Fast growing Salix spp. at the ATB plantation (Foto: ATB)

Perennial energy crops cultivated on former agricultural land allows a sustainable biomass production and can enhance the income situation of farmers. Under European climate conditions fast growing tree species such as poplar, willow or robinia, cultivated as short rotation coppice (SRC) have a considerable potential for plant biomass production. Up to now, about 40,000 ha SRC have been planted in whole Europe, 4,700 ha in Germany.

Previous investigations indicated that an extension in SRC from the technical point of view has to go along with improvements in harvesting techniques and wood chip storage. A harvest with modified field shredders is very efficient but expensive. Therefore the equipment is not appropriate in most locations and a purchase only worthwhile for large SRC areas. After yield the harvested wood chips need to be stored up to one year. Previously developed storage systems are either only applicable with high technical support (dome ventilation, container drying). Without technical support high storage losses of up to 30% biomass (i. e. uncovered free standing heaps) and economically relevant energy and quality losses are, depending on the harvesting process, possible.

Scientists of ATB develop new technologies for harvesting and storage of biomass from SRC. An auspicious cutting harvester that can be mounted at conventional tractors is currently tested under field conditions.

Contact: Dr. Ralf Pecenka

Experimental sites    

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Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie e.V.
Max-Eyth-Allee 100 · 14469 Potsdam · Germany
Tel. +49 (0)331 5699 0 · E-mail atb@atb-potsdam.de