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Articles by Juha Laitila

Category: Research article

article id 5659, category Research article
Juha Laitila, Anssi Ahtikoski, Jaakko Repola, Johanna Routa. (2017). Pre-feasibility study of supply systems based on artificial drying of delimbed stem forest chips. Silva Fennica vol. 51 no. 4 article id 5659. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.5659
Highlights: With artificial drying and quick delivery, avoiding dry material losses of harvested timber, it could be possible to reduce the current costs of the prevailing procurement system based on natural drying of stored timber at roadside landings; The maximum cost for the prospective drying process of fresh chips corresponds to, e.g., organization costs or stumpage price of delimbed stems.

This study was aimed at determining the maximum cost level of artificial drying required for cost-efficient operation. This was done using a system analysis approach, in which the harvesting potential and procurement cost of alternative fuel chip production systems were compared at the stand and regional level. The accumulation and procurement cost of chipped delimbed stems from young forests were estimated within a 100 km transport distance from a hypothetical end use facility located in northern Finland. Logging and transportation costs, stumpage prices, tied up capital, dry matter losses and moisture content of harvested timber were considered in the study. Moisture content of artificially dried fuel chips made of fresh timber (55%) was set to 20%, 30% and 40% in the comparisons. Moisture content of fuel chips based on natural drying during storing was 40%. Transporting costs were calculated according to new higher permissible dimensions and weight limits for truck-trailers. The procurement cost calculations indicated that with artificial drying and by avoiding dry material losses of timber, it could be possible to reduce current costs of the prevailing procurement system based on natural drying of timber at roadside landings. The maximum cost level of artificial drying ranged between 1.2–3.2 € MWh–1 depending on the supply chain, moisture content and procurement volume of fuel chips. This cost margin corresponds to, e.g., organization, forwarding and transportation costs or stumpage price of delimbed stems.

  • Laitila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based business and industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@luke.fi (email)
  • Ahtikoski, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Management and Production of Renewable Resources, Paavo Havaksen tie 3, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: anssi.ahtikoski@luke.fi
  • Repola, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Management and Production of Renewable Resources, Eteläranta 55, FI-96300 Rovaniemi, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: jaakko.repola@luke.fi
  • Routa, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based business and industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: johanna.routa@luke.fi
article id 1689, category Research article
Juha Laitila, Eeva Lehtonen, Tapio Ranta, Perttu Anttila, Saija Rasi, Antti Asikainen. (2016). Procurement costs of cereal straw and forest chips for biorefining in South-East Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 5 article id 1689. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1689
Highlights: Procurement cost at the plant was 59 € dry tonne –1 when the annual procurement volume of biomass was 100 000 tonnes. Of that amount, the proportion of logging residues was 58.4%, stumps 24.3% and delimbed stems 17.3%; Cereal straw represents an important source of biomass in Kouvola but the cost competiveness is poor compared the procurement costs of forest chips due to high baling and transporting costs.

In Finland the increasing use of biofuel in transport presupposes a search for new raw material sources for biorefining. The aim of this study was, at the regional level, to compare the procurement costs of logging residues, stumps, delimbed stems and cereal straw for biorefining. The accumulation and procurement costs of forest chips and cereal straw were estimated within a 100-kilometre transporting distance via existing road network from an end-use-facility located in Kouvola in South-East Finland. The analyses were performed as simulated treatments in thinnings of young stands, cereal fields and regeneration fellings using existing productivity and cost functions and yield calculations based on crop statistics, the forest industry stand data and the sample plots data of the National Forest Inventory of Finland. Accumulation of raw material assortments and costs of production stages were defined per dry tonnes. Subsidies and raw material prices were excluded from consideration in the study. The results indicate that recovering logging residues requires lower costs than utilization of stumps, delimbed stems or cereal straw. Cereal straw represents an important source of biomass in Kouvola but the cost competiveness is poor compared the procurement costs of forest chips. When the annual procurement volume of biomass was 50 000 dry tonnes the cost at the plant was 49 € dry tonne –1 and biomass was comprised totally of logging residues. Procurement cost grew to 59 € dry tonne –1 when the annual procurement volume of biomass was doubled to 100 000 dry tonnes. Of that amount, the proportion of logging residues was 58.4%, stumps 24.3% and delimbed stems 17.3%. First cereal straw dry tonnes were delivered to end-use-facility, when procurement cost grew to 60 € dry tonne –1 and annual procurement volume of biomass was 110 000 dry tonnes.

  • Laitila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based Business and Industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@luke.fi (email)
  • Lehtonen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Green Technology, Halolantie 31A, FI-71750 Maaninka, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: eeva.lehtonen@luke.fi
  • Ranta, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT School of Energy Systems, Laboratory of Bioenergy, Lönnrotinkatu 7, FI-50100 Mikkeli, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: tapio.ranta@luke.fi
  • Anttila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based Business and Industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: perttu.anttila@luke.fi
  • Rasi, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based Business and Industry, Survontie 9A, FI-40500 Jyväskylä ORCID ID:E-mail: saija.rasi@luke.fi
  • Asikainen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based Business and Industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: antti.asikainen@luke.fi
article id 1521, category Research article
Kalle Karttunen, Juha Laitila, Tapio Ranta. (2016). First-thinning harvesting alternatives for industrial or energy purposes based on regional Scots pine stand simulations in Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 2 article id 1521. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1521
Highlights: Small-diameter delimbed wood from Scots pine stands delivered directly for energy use was the most cost-efficient option in terms of the total supply-chain cost in comparison with corresponding industrial use or a whole-tree supply chain for energy use; Forest-management and harvesting decisions influenced the removal of forest biomass and stumpage price as well as the total supply-chain costs for forest biomass; The greatest cost-reduction potential (10.0%, 4.00 € m–3) was achieved for the delimbed energy wood’s supply chain in the regional case of South Savo in eastern Finland.

Combining research into forest management stand conditions and wood supply chain processes has been missing from earlier forestry studies. There is a clear need to develop more cost-efficient small-diameter wood production, harvesting and transportation methods from first thinning, which could be used for either industrial or energy wood purposes. This study considers the total cost for small-diameter wood originating from young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated stands. Pine pulpwood is the most harvested and most used roundwood assortment, use of which is expected to rise following new pulp-mill investments in Finland. In addition, utilisation of small-diameter trees directly for energy purposes has been increasing steadily in recent years. The aim of the study was to determine the cost-reduction potential of alternative forest management options and supply chains for small diameter-wood in the regional case of South Savo in eastern Finland. The total costs of three distinct scenarios were studied on the basis of forest management, first-thinning harvesting methods, and transportation: 1) industrial wood, 2) delimbed energy wood, and 3) whole trees for energy purposes. The cost-reduction potential for energy-wood supply chains from first thinning was compared to the industrial supply chain. Small-diameter delimbed wood delivered straight for energy purposes was found to be the most cost-efficient as far as the total cost of the supply chain is concerned. More cost-efficient small-diameter wood processes can be found by linking forest stand simulations with supply chain analysis.

  • Karttunen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT School of Energy Systems, Laboratory of Bioenergy, Lönnrotinkatu 7, FI-50100 Mikkeli, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: kalle.karttunen@lut.fi
  • Laitila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based business and industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@luke.fi
  • Ranta, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT School of Energy Systems, Laboratory of Bioenergy, Lönnrotinkatu 7, FI-50100 Mikkeli, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: tapio.ranta@lut.fi (email)
article id 1382, category Research article
Juha Laitila, Johanna Routa. (2015). Performance of a small and a medium sized professional chippers and the impact of storage time on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) stem wood chips characteristics. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 5 article id 1382. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1382
Highlights: The storage time of pulpwood had no significant effect on particle size distribution in any chip size classes; The study confirms the knowledge that chipping time consumption is inversely proportional to engine power and grapple load size in feeding; The use of an narrower 80 mm × 80 mm sieve on Scots pine material does not seem to offer any benefit compared to a 100 mm × 100 mm sieve from the perspective of chip quality.

The primary aim of this study was to clarify the chipping productivity and fuel consumption of tractor-powered and truck-mounted drum chippers when chipping pine pulpwood at a terminal. The secondary aim was to evaluate the impact of wood storage time on the chemical and physical technical specifications of wood chips by chipping pulpwood from eight different storage time groups, using Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) pulpwood stems logged between 2 and 21 months previously at the terminal with the above-mentioned chippers. Thirdly, the impact of sieve mesh size on the particle size distribution of wood chips from different age groups was compared by using an 80 mm × 80 mm sieve for a tractor-powered chipper and a 100 mm × 100 mm sieve for a truck-mounted chipper. With both chippers, the chipping productivity grew as a function of grapple load weight. The average chipping productivity of the tractor-powered chipper unit was 19 508 kg (dry mass) per effective hour (E0h), and for the truck-mounted chipper the average productivity was 31 184 kg E0h–1. The tractor-powered drum chipper’s fuel consumption was 3.1 litres and for the truck-mounted chipper 3.3 litres per chipped 1000 kg (dry mass). The amount of extractives or volatiles did not demonstrate any statistically significant differences between storage time groups. The particle size distributions with both chippers were quite uniform, and the storage time of pulpwood did not have a significant effect on the particle size distribution in any chip size classes. One reason for this might be that the basic density of chipped wood was homogenous and there was no statistical difference between different storage times. The use of new sharp knives is likely to have affected chip quality, as witnessed by the absence of oversized particles and the moderate presence of fines. The use of narrower 80 mm × 80 mm sieves on Scots pine material does not seem to offer any benefit compared to 100 mm × 100 mm from the chip quality point of view.

  • Laitila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based business and industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@luke.fi (email)
  • Routa, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based business and industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: johanna.routa@luke.fi
article id 1280, category Research article
Juha Laitila, Tapio Ranta, Antti Asikainen, Eero Jäppinen, Olli-Jussi Korpinen. (2015). The cost competitiveness of conifer stumps in the procurement of forest chips for fuel in Southern and Northern Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 2 article id 1280. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1280
Highlights: Pre-grinding and integrated screening is a way of guaranteeing fuel quality, but, when the stumps’ ash content is six per cent or below, the procurement costs are higher than with grinding of stumps at the plant. Because of high transportation costs, stump harvesting is the most profitable in Southern Finland, where there is greater availability of stumps than in Northern Finland.
The aim of this study was to evaluate cost competitiveness, at regional level, of various systems for stump transportation and grinding, and to compare the results to the procurement costs of delimbed stems from early thinnings at the stand and regional level. The accumulation and procurement costs of stumps and delimbed stems were estimated within a 100-kilometer radius from two power plants located in Kouvola and in Kajaani. The analyses were performed as simulated treatments in clear cuts and thinnings of young stands, using existing productivity and cost functions, alternative ash percentages for stump wood, and yield calculations based on the forest industry regeneration felling stand data and the sample plots data of the National Forest Inventory of Finland. The results were expressed as Euros per solid cubic meter (€ m–3) and Euros per megawatt hour (€ MWh–1). The results highlight the need to improve stump fuel quality and increase the heating value. The procurement cost of stumps was about 1 € MWh–1 lower in Kouvola compared to Kajaani, when using conceivable ash content of 6% for stumps ground at the plant, and ash content of 1.5% for stumps pre-ground at the roadside landing. The procurement costs of stumps were, on average, 0.55 € MWh–1 lower compared to delimbed stems in Kouvola, and on average 0.6 € MWh–1 higher in Kajaani. Pre-grinding and integrated screening is a feasible way to guarantee the fuel quality expressed as ash content already at roadside landings, but the procurement costs are higher compared to grinding stumps at the plant, when the ash content of ground stumps is 6% or less.
  • Laitila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based Business and Industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@metla.fi (email)
  • Ranta, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Sammonkatu 12, FI-50130 Mikkeli, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: tapio.ranta@lut.fi
  • Asikainen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bio-based Business and Industry, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: antti.asikainen@metla.fi
  • Jäppinen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Sammonkatu 12, FI-50130 Mikkeli, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: eero.jappinen@lut.fi
  • Korpinen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Sammonkatu 12, FI-50130 Mikkeli, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: olli-jussi.korpinen@lut.fi
article id 454, category Research article
Paula Jylhä, Olli Dahl, Juha Laitila, Kalle Kärhä. (2010). The effect of supply system on the wood paying capability of a kraft pulp mill using Scots pine harvested from first thinnings. Silva Fennica vol. 44 no. 4 article id 454. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.454
The efficiencies of wood supply systems based on cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting, the harvesting of loose whole trees, and whole-tree bundling were compared using the relative wood paying capabilities (WPC) of a kraft pulp mill as decisive criteria. The WPCs from mill to stump were calculated for three first-thinning stands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) with mean breast-height diameter of the removal of 6, 8, and 12 cm. Pulp price had a strong effect on the WPC, and the CTL system resulted in the highest WPC per m3 at stump. The savings in procurement costs and gains in energy generation from additional raw material acquired with the harvesting of loose whole trees did not compensate the losses in pulp production. Considering removal per hectare, loose whole trees gave the highest WPCs at stump in the two stands with the smallest trees and the highest proportion of additional raw material. Decrease in pulp price and increase in energy price improved the competitiveness of the whole-tree systems. In the case of whole-tree bundling, savings in transportation costs did not balance the high cutting and compaction costs, and the bundling system was the least competitive alternative.
  • Jylhä, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Kannus, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: paula.jylha@metla.fi (email)
  • Dahl, Aalto University School of Science and Technology, Department of Forest Products Technology, Espoo, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Laitila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kärhä, Metsäteho Oy, Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 143, category Research article
Juha Laitila, Jani Heikkilä, Perttu Anttila. (2010). Harvesting alternatives, accumulation and procurement cost of small-diameter thinning wood for fuel in Central Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 44 no. 3 article id 143. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.143
This study compared harvesting alternatives, accumulation and procurement costs of small-diameter thinning wood chips for fuel, when trees were harvested either as delimbed stemwood or whole trees. The calculation was made for a hypothetical plant located in Central Finland and the radius of the procurement area was 100 km via the existing road network. Cutting was done with conventional harvester head equipped with multi-tree-handling (MTH) accessories, with the logged trees being chipped at the roadside storage. The cost of delimbed stemwood chips at heating plant was 24% higher compared to the cost of whole tree chips. The availability analysis attested that delimbing lowered the regional cutting removal by 42% compared to the whole tree harvesting, when the minimum accumulation for the fuel fraction at the stand was set at 25 m3/ha. Delimbing diminishes the recovery rate at the site, resulting in a diminishing number of potential recovery sites meeting the threshold volume. However, the study showed that the forest energy potential is increased and procurement costs are reduced, if delimbed stemwood is harvested from stands where the whole tree harvesting is not acceptable due to nutrient loss or for other ecological reasons. Intelligent selection of cutting methods for different stands enables minimization of transport distance and control of procurement cost.
  • Laitila, The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@metla.fi (email)
  • Heikkilä, L&T Biowatti Oy, Seinäjoki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Anttila, The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 256, category Research article
Juha Laitila. (2008). Harvesting technology and the cost of fuel chips from early thinnings. Silva Fennica vol. 42 no. 2 article id 256. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.256
This study compared and analyzed the procurement cost of whole tree chips when using supply chains based on comminution at the roadside landing or at the terminal. It also identified the bottlenecks of the most common logging systems used in Finland. The study was done by using existing and published productivity parameters and models. The procurement cost calculations were made for a stand where the forwarding distance was 200 metres, removal of whole trees was 60 m per hectare and the area of the stand was 2.0 hectares. The average size of the removed whole trees was 30 litres. The direct transport distance from the stand to the terminal or to the end use facility was 40 km while the secondary distance from the terminal to the end use facility was 10 km. A stumpage price for the harvested raw material was not included in this study. According to the study the cost of whole trees chips were 31.9–41.6 euros/m at the plant, or 14.9–19.4 euros/MWh when the moisture content of chips was estimated to be 40%. The two-machine system was found to be the most cost competitive logging system in pre-commercial thinnings thanks to both efficient cutting and, especially, forwarding work. In the manual worker based logging, the costs of felling bunching were the same as the mechanised system, whereas in forwarding the costs were almost double. Using the harwarder system the logging costs were found to be the highest, but in the larger tree volumes and removals the costs were almost equal to the manual worker based logging. The supply chain based on chipping at the roadside landing was more cost efficient compared to the chipping at the terminal system. The lower comminution cost at the terminal was not enough to cover the higher transportation cost of unprocessed material to the terminal, handling cost of chips at the terminal or the delivery cost to the end use facility.
  • Laitila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Unit, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.laitila@metla.fi (email)

Category: Research note

article id 470, category Research note
Paula Jylhä, Juha Laitila. (2007). Energy wood and pulpwood harvesting from young stands using a prototype whole-tree bundler. Silva Fennica vol. 41 no. 4 article id 470. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.470
The productivity of cutting and bundling whole trees using the first prototype of a bundle-harvester comprised of a harwarder as the base machine, an accumulating felling head, and a compacting device was studied in three young stands in order to facilitate the further development of the concept. In addition, the removal and its composition were studied as a means of laying the foundations for developing methods for work rating and measurement on delivery. Bundling enables in-depth integration of pulpwood and energy wood procurement. Both energy wood (crown biomass) and pulpwood can be incorporated into the same bundles, and the subsequent separation of these fractions takes place at the debarking phase at the pulpmill. Bundle-harvesting productivities were relatively low (2.8–3.7 m3/E0-h) when compared to current harvesting technology. Improving working techniques, machine structure, and components showed great potential for increasing the efficiency of the concept. The bundles were dimensionally uniform. Their solid volume varied between 0.350 m3 and 0.513 m3, depending on the bundle assortment and stand properties. Integrating energy wood harvesting with pulpwood harvesting increased removal even by 59 per cent.
  • Jylhä, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Kannus Research Unit, P.O. Box 44, FI-69101 Kannus, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: paula.jylha@metla.fi (email)
  • Laitila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Unit, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

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