Analysis of the baling concept for increased fiber recovery on harvested forest sites

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The feasibility of baling forest residues has been ascertained by examining three segments of the baling concept. These are: the in-woods evaluation of baling; the transportation aspects of the baling concept; and the utilization of baled forest residues for energy production at pulp and paper mills. The in-woods evaluation was accomplished by simulating and comparing two conventional systems and a baler equipped system on two stand types with the Harvesting Systems Simulator. The comparison demonstrated that a baler equipped system is a viable alternative to whole tree chipping for the recovery of forest residues. The baler equipped system has the advantages of less capital investment, less stringent operating requirements and the potential to generate more profits on stands of at least moderate timber sizes and moderate volumes of residue per acre. In the evaluation of the transportation aspects of baling the superior materials handling and hauling characteristics of baled material were disclosed. The uniform dimensions and high bulk densities of bales contribute to excellent loading, reloading and hauling capacities. Bales are also highly compatible with existing modes of transportation. The utilization of baled residues for energy production offers a potentially cheap and relatively accessible source of fuel for pulp and paper companies. Substantial savings can be obtained by substituting baled residues for coal or oil.