Current issue: 54(2)
According to the Swedish Timber Measurement Act, measurements affecting payments for wood fuels to landowners must be accurate and precise. In this regard, moisture content is an important quality parameter for wood chips which influences the net calorific value as received and thus the economic value. As standard practice moisture content is determined with the oven-drying method, which is cumbersome to use for deliveries to facilities without drying-ovens, which in turn necessitates that samples are taken elsewhere for measurement. An alternative solution is to use a portable moisture meter. Our aim was to evaluate the precision of a handheld capacitance moisture meter. Accuracy and precision of a capacitance meter was determined in the lab and a calibration function was made. Thereafter, the calibrated moisture meter was compared with the standard method for moisture content determination of truckloads of chips. The capacitance meter showed a moderate accuracy by underestimating moisture content by 6.0 percentage points (pp), compared to the reference method, at a precision of ±3.8 pp (CI 95%). For chips with M > 50%, both accuracy and precision decreased. Calibration increased the accuracy in the follow up study by 3 pp for chips with M < 50% but could not be made for wetter chips. The oven-drying method and the capacitance meter can provide equally accurate estimates of mean moisture content for chips with M < 50% if a larger sample is taken with the latter. It should be possible to use capacitance meters to measure moisture content even when used to calculate payments depending of the needed accuracy. A calibration function for each assortment is needed.
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula × P. tremuloides) is one of the fastest growing tree species in Finland. During the mid-1990s, a breeding programme was started with the aim of selecting clones that were superior in producing pulpwood. Hybrid aspen can also be grown as a short-rotation crop for bioenergy. To study clonal variation in wood and bark properties, seven clones were selected from a 12-year-old field trial located in southern Finland. From each clone, five trees were harvested and samples were taken from stem wood, stem bark and branches to determine basic density, effective heating value, moisture and ash content. Vertical within-tree variation in moisture content and basic density was also studied. The differences between clones were significant for almost all studied properties. For all studied properties there was a significant difference between wood and bark. Wood had lower ash content (0.5% vs. 3.9%), basic density (378 kg m–3 vs. 450 kg m–3) and effective heating value (18.26 MJ kg–1 vs. 19.24 MJ kg–1), but higher moisture content (55% vs. 49%) than bark. The values for branches were intermediate. These results suggest that the properties of hybrid aspen important for energy use could be improved by clonal selection. However, selecting clones based on fast growth only may be challenging since it may lead to a decrease in hybrid aspen wood density.
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.
The effective heating values of the above and below ground biomass components of mature Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh), silver birch (B. pendula Roth), grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench), black alder (A. glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.) and aspen (Populus tremula L.) were studied. Each sample tree was divided into wood, bark and foliage components. Bomb calorimetry was used to determine the calorimetric heating values.
The species is a significant factor in the heating value of individual tree components. The heating value of the wood proper is highest in conifers. Broadleaved species have a higher heating value of bark than conifers. The species factor diminishes when the weighted heating value of crown, whole stems or stump-root-system are considered. The crown material has a higher heating value per unit weight in comparison with fuelwood from small-sized stems or whole trees. The additional advantages of coniferous crown material are that it is non-industrial biomass resource and is readily available. The variability of both the chemical composition and the heating value is small in any given tree component of any species. However, lignin, carbohydrate and extractive content were found to vary from one part of the tree to another and to correlate with the heating value
The heating values of wood, inner and outer bark, and foliage components of seven small-size tree species (Pinus sylvestris L., Picea abies (L.) H. Karst., Betula pubescens Erhr., B. pendula Roth, Alnus incana (L.) Moench, A. glutinosa (L.) Gaertn., Populus tremula L.) were studied. Significant differences were found between species within each component. However, the differences between species for weighted stem, crown and whole-tree biomass are very small. The weighted heating value of the crown mass is slightly higher than that of the stem in all species. The heating value of stem, crown and whole-tree material was found to increase with increasing latitude.
The effective heating value of wood correlated best with the lignin content, inner bark with carbohydrate, and outer bark with carbohydrates and the extractives soluble in alkalic solvents. It is suggested that the determination of the heating value might be used as an indicator of the cellulose content of coniferous wood.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.