Considering adding biomass harvesting to your ever-growing timber harvesting business? “The global demand for biomass power and heat is increasing rapidly, primarily because of government supported policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions, achieving energy independence and supporting domestic industries,” according to a paper recently published by Chatham House, an independent policy institute based in London. You’re not the only one intrigued by the idea of amplifying your business with biomass - the industry is expanding in the U.S. because of the growing interest in renewable energy resources.
The wood left behind by your crews is valuable and equates up to 25% - 30% of the total wood volume. Depending on the harvesting equipment in your fleet and the biomass harvesting method, typically only one piece of biomass harvesting equipment is required to expand your business.
Biomass Harvesting Methods
The One-Pass Method – Using the timber harvesting equipment you already have (feller bunchers, skidders, harvesters, and forwarders), all roundwood and biomass is collected simultaneously. Whole trees are transported to a landing where a wood chipper is set up to chip tree tops, limbs, small diameter trees, diseased or dead trees, and brush. A medium-sized wood chipper is the only biomass harvesting equipment that will need to be added to an established fleet if you choose the one-pass method. Logging contractors generally prefer this because the initial investment specifically for harvesting biomass is low.
The Two-Pass Method – The two-pass method is a lot like it sounds… you pass through the field twice. Large diameter trees and biomass are harvested separately. Biomass can be felled and chipped either pre- or post-conventional timber harvest. This method is less cost effective and is normally done only if two separate contractors are harvesting.
Biomass Harvesting Equipment
The Woodchipper – The primary equipment needed to expand to biomass harvesting is a medium-sized chipper or mulcher. A model that can be mounted to a forwarder or a trailer will make it easy to transport chips to a biomass energy plant or another buyer. Fecon is the leading manufacturer of mulching equipment and the Fecon FCM 22 is a great option for most contractors. The FCM 22 is available in 365 hp or 500 hp and is designed to easily chip whole trees or large branches.
If you are interested in learning more about biomass harvesting equipment or would like to purchase a Fecon mulcher for sale in Washington, Oregon, or California, contact your nearest Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry location to speak with our logging equipment experts.