Integrating olive grove maintenance and energy biomass recovery with a single-pass pruning and harvesting machine
Spinelli, R.; Magagnotti, N.; Nati, C.; Cantini, C.; Sani, G.; Picchi, G.; Biocca, M.
Biomass and Bioenergy
|Kind of publication:|
Pergamon - Elsevier
|Abstract in Italian:|
|Abstract in English:|
In Italy, olive tree groves may offer up to a million tonnes of dry biomass per year as pruning
residue. Searching for a cost-effective way to tap this potential, the authors tested a new
machine, capable of recovering pruning residue at the same time as pruning. The precommercial prototype was tested on four different plots and compared to a simpler tractor-base mechanical pruning unit. The authors conducted detailed time-studies in order to determine machine productivity and residue recovery cost.The integrated machine can treat between 0.2 and 0.6 ha h1, producing between 0.33 and 1.03 tonnes of fresh residue hour1. Its integrated residue recovery function does not slow the pruning, which actually proceeds faster than with the tractor-base unit, due to the more efficient multiple-disc cutting bar. The marginal cost of residue recovery hovers around 40e45 € fresh tonne1. However, the new machine must not be considered just as a biomass harvester, but rather as a mechanical pruning unit with an integrated biomass recovery function. Its main benefit derives from the capacity of performing a very effective mechanical pruning, and the residue recovery function is a secondary benefit yet unavailable on standard pruning machines. Its deployment must be seen in the context of a general effort to modernize olive grove management and to develop an integrated biomass production system, rather than as a further attempt to build a specialised biomass supply chain.
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