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Forest Biomass for Bioenergy Harvesting


The goal to reduce carbon dioxide (GHG) emissions, as well as technological advances and cheaper products, have propelled the sustainable energy industry’s expansion (Abbas, 2011). In 2017, biomass accounted for 14% of world ’s total, putting it by far the most prevalent renewable energy source (it produced 96% of heat and 9% of electricity) (Kumar, 2021). Bioenergy is one of several possibilities available to assist us meet our energy demands. It’s a type of renewable energy obtained from recently lived organic elements called biomass, and it may be used to make fuel oil, energy, electricity, and goods.

Biomass, like petroleum, is a versatile source of energy (Abbas, 2011). Besides from conversion of biomass to biofuels for automotive consumption, it could also be used to manufacture bioproducts like plastics, lube, industrial chemicals, and a variety of other items that are now manufactured using petroleum or natural gas (Wang, 2020). Integrated biorefineries, modeled after current petroleum refineries, may generate bioproducts in addition to biofuels.

Bioenergy has the potential to reduce its carbon footprint more than other renewables. Scraggly, for instance, that would normally be incinerated in the field can be collected and incinerated in a minimal bioenergy facility (Kumar, 2021). As a consequence, GHG emissions are decreased twice: first in the field as a result of reduced combustion, and again as a result of the use of bioenergy to replace fossil fuels (Wang, 2020). Extensive study is being undertaken throughout the world to evaluate the long-term consequences of various bioenergy and renewable energies (Junginger, 2019). A noteworthy example is the IEA Bioenergy Task 38 project ‘Green House gases Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Networks.’


Feedstock collection is still a relatively new process, but its usage as a form of energy is gaining traction. As international petroleum prices climb, alternative sources of energy such as breeze, sunlight, and biofuel are being used and investigated (Abbas, 2011). The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is committed to promoting and expanding woody biomass as a renewable energy source in Indiana (Wang, 2020). Biomass fuels have the potential to reduce oil imports while also stimulating new agriculture sector growth (Junginger, 2019). Woody biomass harvesting is analogous to pulpwood harvesting. As demand develops, we expect new equipment and methods to emerge, but for the time being, most harvesting will be done using existing equipment.

Woody biomass can be one of the numerous biomass alternatives for lowering energy consumption and carbon emissions. Biomass has surpassed hydropower as the most common domestic renewable energy source, accounting for 3% of total energy consumption in the US: This comprises animal dung, starch, sugar, and crops, as well as any plant and plant-derived elements (Junginger, 2019). Forestry activities, on the other hand, seem to have become increasingly widespread in the United States (Wang, 2020). Sustainability, urban, water quality, and non-water quality concerns associated with biomass harvesting will need to be addressed as more wood-based bioenergy facilities are announced in order for this industry to thrive (Kumar, 2021). Like biomass in other forms, Woody biomass is a renewable resource that can help meet current energy demands.

Wood chips are the most common woody biomass utilized in alternative energy production. Depending on the ultimate product, the chips come in various sizes and cleanliness. Mill waste and harvest leftovers are two main categories for these chips, coming from several sources. The debris left behind after timber harvesting or land clearing is known as harvest residue (Junginger, 2019). A significant tree section is utilized to manufacture veneer, grade timber, or low-quality industrial items such as pallet cants, pallet lumber, or railroad ties; therefore, harvest waste is mostly tops and limbs.

Forest biomass has a number of benefits over intermittent solar and wind generation, including the ability to generate energy in a range of sizes and the ability to transfer power to the grid at a more regular rate. Forest biomass can also be blended with conventional wood to provide biofuel material from detritus that are otherwise burnt on-site, degraded, or removed to reduce fuel concentration in fire-prone locations or facilitate regrowth of cultivated fields (Kumar, 2021). Forest yield pieces may raise the monetary advantages of conserved forest products in markets where they exist, as well as retain carbon stocks in fire-prone ecosystems, delaying the conversion of specific forest areas to other land uses due to the stock’s value.

Environmentalism is necessary in the sense that renewable energy targets set by regions, the steady progression of biomass resources, and the possibility of future expelling of forest produce byproducts (hereafter referred to as “forest biomass”) to be used as a bioenergy raw material are all essential (Junginger, 2019). To guarantee that forest biomass collecting is both environmentally and environmentally diverse, SFM principles, criteria, and metrics are applied. However, once leftovers are collected, procedures that were deemed environmentally viable for traditional stem-only harvesting may no longer be so (Abbas, 2011). Furthermore, while harvesting forest biomass, standard forestry procedures are not always effective.

To contain the spread of plant infections, forestry administrators are recommended to remove trunks, though not for biofuel. Produce leftover (tops and branches) is prohibited for bioenergy in New Brunswick, however pulpwood fiber obtained by whole-tree chipping is allowed. As a result, authorities and quasi-governmental organizations have implemented a variety of associated legislative strategies (such as policies, guidelines, audit programs, and directives) to guarantee that bioenergy production is environmentally sustainable.

Forest biomass extraction principles (also known as “biomass harvesting recommendations”) are a collection of suggested (but not required) practices that give clarity and perception of these operations and can be employed flexibly to accomplish desired or legal results.Biomass extraction limitations are known as “best management practices” in certain jurisdictions; nonetheless, in the America and British Columbia, this phrase usually implies to measures to preserve water quality (Junginger, 2019). BMPs, like recommendations, are usually voluntary and typically incorporate responsive management strategies; nevertheless, they might have an advanced level of behavior than guidelines’ “accepted management practices” and may be implemented.


Biomass is one of the energy sources that many countries have access to. It’s described as a mixture of natural raw materials obtained from living organisms (Junginger, 2019). It’s formed when green plants convert sunlight into organic carbon during photosynthesis, and it’s made up of many types of vegetation as well as plant waste (Kumar, 2021). They are not considered renewable in the optimum human life cycle time period since biomass conversion to fossil energy takes hundreds of years, and burning it disturbs the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide equilibrium. For short-term use, biomass might be considered a renewable energy source.

One of the most encouraging findings is that increased bioenergy use can assist us in meeting the Framework Convention on Climate Change targets, such as regulating atmospheric gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The danger zone is below. Indeed, bioenergy is a renewable energy source derived from “biomass” that may be used to produce transportation fuels, heat, electricity, and shipping to meet present requests (Strandgard, 2022). Primary forestry wastes, tertiary remnants from timber production processing activities, intermediate wastes from ruination, fabrication, and packaging processes, and conventional firewood make up forest biomass. In temperate locations and woods, preliminary leftovers are currently the most viable source of fresh bioenergetic fuel.

During harvesting activities, forestry residues are normally gathered in a suitable place for transit or decaying; otherwise, they are left on the forest land and must be recovered. The biomass and bioenergy industries’ management and supervisory advances will undoubtedly increase the number of locations from which residues are gathered, resulting in the optimal quantity of biomass being taken from a location in the future (Kumar, 2021). As a result, the forest community’s long-term viability in terms of logging residue clearing, particularly interior clarity, is a significant issue. Meanwhile, understanding forest biomass potentials is crucial for investigating their effects on the environment and other industries, notably in the bioenergy industry.

Bioenergy derived from forest vegetation is known as forest bioenergy. Forestry biomass must be evaluated for bioenergy and biofuel production in order to make the greatest use of renewable energy, resulting in acceptable local progress (Abbas, 2011). From a variety of perspectives, forest bioenergy based on indigenous supplies can meet the needs of users, whether they are industrial or non-industrial. As per study, optimum and controlled forest bioenergy usage in suitable regions might reduce the use of fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase trust in the clean energy sector (Abbas, 2011). The future of this business in all of its manifestations will be influenced by market forces, legislation, environmental opportunities, and technological and managerial improvements.

Commercial timber harvesting, fire risk mitigation thinning, scrap cutting, forest rehabilitation, and pre-commercial thinning are all instances of logging residue being a major source of forest biomass. Harvesting, thinning, and biomass are all terms used to describe logging leftovers (Strandgard, 2022). Regarding pragmatic biomass strategy, an accurate evaluation of the available quantity of logging debris is critical in calculating the financial sustainability and earnings of a fuel distribution network. In biomass from before the study, several forestry litter measurement methodologies have been investigated and tested. These techniques have been applied to a variety of forest kinds and management scales. Precision biomass quantification methodologies are required at the state level.

Roundwood or sawlogs are used in the wood – based industry to manufacture structural wood products such as lumber and plywood (Junginger, 2019). During the treatment of wood, lumber plants generate a lot of trash. Thanks to approaches that boost the value of a hitherto regarded environmental contamination, mill byproducts are now being used to generate bioenergy and bio-based forest products. Bark, pieces, bits, offcuts, slabs, and fine debris like flakes and sawdust are all examples of sawmill leftovers, and they come in a range of sizes and shapes (Abbas, 2011). Mulch, kindling, hog fuel, animal bedding, engineered wood products (EWPs), and pulp sector raw material are just a few of the waste products that are commonly used.

Increasing oil prices and environmental considerations have fostered the rise of alternative energy sources as biofuels (Strandgard, 2022). Forest bioenergy is recognized as a valuable asset as a renewable energy source in many countries. Forest leftovers, which comprise small-diameter trees, tops, limbs, and fragments, are by-products of typical logging and can be utilized to produce carbon-positive bioenergy and organic forest products (Manolis, 2019). Many countries are already utilizing waste to provide an alternative to fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. Using modern combustion, gasification, palletization, pyrolysis, briquettes, and torrefaction techniques, forest residues may be transformed into steady and sustainable biofuel and organic goods.

Getting the feedstock gathered, processed, and delivered at acceptable costs is significant in utilizing woody biomass for energy generation. Efficient feedstock harvesting methods must be tailored to each source’s specific requirements (Junginger, 2019). For example, logging residue collection can include biomass processing into a standard logging operation. Understory biomass and small woody species provide unique challenges that are difficult to overcome with current harvesting techniques. New technology is being created in various fields (Briones-Hidrovo, 2021). The performance of fundamental operations like felling, primary transport, processing, and highway transport may be used to characterize and assess harvesting technology. The three primary felling methods covered here are manual (chainsaw), feller-buncher, and swath cutting. Manual skidding or forwarding can be used to transport tiny woody biomass.

The cost of biomass extraction may be significantly reduced by using an intermediary processing step to turn the biomass into chips or bundles. Swath cutters and chip forwarders are two new technologies developed to increase tiny woody biomass harvesting (Strandgard, 2022). A portable conveyor device has also been tested to help manual biomass cutting and removal. Evaluating different harvesting methods is difficult because of the extensive range of possible equipment setups and interactions between site circumstances and biomass properties (Briones-Hidrovo, 2021). Any combination of equipment may be analyzed and compared using a generic biomass removal model based on specifying standard parameters for the primary functions.

The low bulk density of woody biomass in its unprocessed state is one of the challenges of transporting it for energy and bio-based goods. Because air is a critical component of the carried volume, low bulk density raises transportation costs. Furthermore, the material’s unique texture makes technical handling challenging (Wang, 2020). Compaction or comminution by chipping, grinding, or shredding can enhance the bulk density and alleviate difficulties related to the material’s texture. Processing biomass feedstock into little bits, on the other hand, may pose additional issues by reducing storage durability and lifespan (Junginger, 2019). Forest operations rely heavily on transportation and distribution. They can impact the entire production chain depending on how they are arranged.

Woody biomass feedstock for energy can be supplied by truck or rail to forest products production operations. On the other hand, rail is rarely employed in the Southeast (Abbas, 2011). Trucks are almost primarily utilized, and the specific configuration varies depending on the combination of truck and trailer. The transportation design is typically determined by how the biomass is pre-processed at the logging site (Junginger, 2019). This information sheet gives a quick overview of the different vehicle and trailer combinations used to carry biomass.

The majority of forestry goods and harvesting materials are transported in trucks. In 2005, trucks supplied around 90% of the pulpwood to mills in the United States. Tractor-trailer or fixed truck types are used to transport forest supplies. Tractor-trailers (Wang, 2020). The majority of commodities in the South are presently transported in road tractor-trailer combinations with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 80,000 pounds. These combos make use of conventional road networks rigs and six- to ten-wheel twin suspension motorway lorries with either a classic (engine in front of the chamber) or cab-over-engine structure (Briones-Hidrovo, 2021). Road tractors are normally between 12,000 and 20,000 pounds in weight and can have sleeping compartments as well as hydraulic power for trailer operations like self-unloading carpeting.

Cargo trailers are pulled by road tractors (Strandgard, 2022). These vehicles are built to carry more goods and provide the flexibility to change the cargo area’s kind, size, and layout. Trucks have been repaired (Abbas, 2011). Cargo space is built within the operator cab and chassis of fixed vehicles. Fixed trucks are typically less than 40 feet in length and have a lower payload capacity than road tractors (Briones-Hidrovo, 2021). Fixed trucks are often shorter than road tractor-trailer combinations, allowing for more mobility in congested places. Fixed trucks function better when carrying shorter distances due to their smaller payload capacity. When it comes to moving woody biomass, there are various trailer alternatives (Manolis, 2019). Trailers made of logs. Log or bunk trailers transport trees, poles, or short wood in racks.

Trailers for shipping containers. Container trailers are meant to transport bulk materials, and the containers themselves are built to be handled filled. As a result, they have thick walls and supports, and their overall cubic volume capacity is lower than bulk vans or log trailers. They may be left on a job site and filled as needed, then removed and replaced with an empty container (Briones-Hidrovo, 2021). They can also store data on the end user’s computer. Furthermore, container trailers may be more appropriate for collecting yards with restricted road access or lesser quantities (Manolis, 2019). Container trailers transport the majority of foreign commerce cargo transported by truck from ship ports and a significant part of solid garbage collected in the United States.

Forest products are transported via bulk trucks, often known as chip vans. When driven by a road tractor, they are enclosed box trailers with a width of 8 to 8.5 feet and a height of 12 feet or less. An open-end or an open-top are standard features of bulk trailers (Wang, 2020). The majority of box trailers are constructed for containerized freight instead of vans conveying harvested products, as seen on most roadways. Emptying bulk vans involves putting them on a tipping platform, elevating the front of the trailer, and unloading the contents from the back (Strandgard, 2022). Bulk vans with incorporated hydraulically-operated self-unloading flooring that transport the contents from within the trailer to the back and out the tailgate are becoming more common in the southern region and places lacking big biomass plants.


Finally, in the South, the tractor-trailer/bulk van combination is often the most cost-effective means of moving woody biomass (Manolis, 2019). This layout is possible because of the generally straight highways in the South. Because of the bulk van’s excellent payload capacity and low weight, it is cost-effective (Briones-Hidrovo, 2021). If woody biomass is transported from truck to rail or water, a tractor-trailer/container trailer combination may be more suited since the containers housing the biomass may be hoisted from the truck to the train or boat (Wang, 2020). Where longer trucks have trouble handling frequent turns, fixed trucks with enclosed beds may be more suited.


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