Storage dynamics and fuel quality of poplar chips
Barontini, M.; Scarfone, A.; Spinelli, R.; Gallucci, F.; Santangelo, E.; Acampora, A.; Jirjis, R.; Civitarese, V.; Pari, L.
Biomass and Bioenergy
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Poplar cultivation for wood/timber production has a growth production cycle of about 10
e15 years. Usually the stem is separated from the crown and used to produce material of
different kind such as veneer, pallets, panels, etc. For wood industries, crowns generally
represent waste material to be disposed of, causing economic and time losses. It is
generally believed that the costs of managing crown biomass are higher than the potential
incomes obtainable. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile investigating the possibility of using
these byproducts as energy source and evaluating their value as a fuel. However, storing
such residues presents several problems connected with spontaneous microbial
degradation. The aim of this work was to evaluate the storage effects on chipped biomass deriving from the crown and stem wood of poplar and how they affect fuel quality and dry matter losses. A storage trial was carried out with three piles of stem wood chips and three of crown chips coming from a 15 year old poplar plantation. The piles were stored outdoors for six months under the same climatic conditions.
The effect of storage on fuel quality was evaluated with respect to moisture content,
gross and net calorific values, chemical composition, ash content, and bulk density.
The variation of temperatures inside each pile due to heat development was continuously
monitored and showed different trends between piles depending on source material.
Results showed that chips from crown material had better storage properties and exhibited
lower decay than chips from stem wood.