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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #276921

Title: Biomass round bales infield aggregation logistic scenarios

item CANNAYEN, IGATHINATHANE - North Dakota State University
item Archer, David
item GUSTAFSON, COLE - North Dakota State University
item Schmer, Marty
item Hendrickson, John
item Kronberg, Scott
item KESHWANI, DEEPAK - University Of Nebraska
item BACKER, LESLIE - North Dakota State University
item HELLEVANG, KENNETH - North Dakota State University
item FALLER, TIM - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Biomass and Bioenergy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2014
Publication Date: 5/28/2014
Citation: Cannayen, I., Archer, D.W., Gustafson, C., Schmer, M.R., Hendrickson, J.R., Kronberg, S.L., Keshwani, D., Backer, L., Hellevang, K., Faller, T. 2014. Biomass round bales infield aggregation logistic scenarios. Biomass and Bioenergy. 66:12-26.

Interpretive Summary: Biomass bales often need to be collected into groups and transported to a field-edge stack for temporary storage before distribution to feedlots or bioenergy processing facilities. Reducing the distance traveled in this process could reduce the time and fuel spent in collecting bales and associated costs. Several options for bale collection were evaluated for different field and biomass scenarios. A computer program was developed to calculate travel distances for the different scenarios. Results showed that using equipment which can collect multiple bales can reduce the distance traveled by 45% or more, and that further improvements could occur with different types of collection equipment and different collection methods. Results were not sensitive to field shape but were sensitive to differences in field size. This research provides a tool that will be useful to farmers in comparing bale collection methods and in making bale collection equipment decisions. This research also provides valuable information to bioenergy analysts and industry on alternatives to improve biomass bale collection efficiency and reduce biomass costs.

Technical Abstract: Biomass bales often need to be aggregated (collected into groups and transported) to a field-edge stack for temporary storage for feedlots or processing facilities. Aggregating the bales with the least total distance involved is a goal of producers and bale handlers. Several logistics scenarios for aggregation involving equipment with different capacities and aggregation strategies were modeled and evaluated. Effects of field size, field shape, swath width, biomass yield, bale layout, and collection path on aggregation efficiency were determined. Cumulative Euclidean distances of various aggregation scenarios formed the evaluating principle. Application of a single bale loader that collected bales individually was considered the “control” scenario with which others were compared. A computer program was developed which simulated the activities, determined bale coordinates on the field in ideal and random layouts, and evaluated the scenarios. Simulation exhibited a “diamond pattern” of bale layout for ideal baling and a “random pattern” emerged clearly when at least 10% variation on bale collection length was introduced. Bale loader capacity significantly influenced the logistics efficiency. Statistical analysis revealed that the effect of field shape (L/W = 1–8), swath width (1.52–5.49 m), biomass yield (3–15 Mg/ac), and randomness on bale layout (0%–20% variation) did not affect aggregation logistics, while area and number of bales handled had a significant effect. In ranking aggregation methods, the self-loading bale picker with minimum distance path (MDP, 80%) and parallel transport of loader and truck with MDP (78%) were ranked the highest, and single bale central grouping the lowest (29%) among 19 methods studied. The MDP was found significantly more efficient than the baler path. It was found that a simple direct triple bale loader with MDP (63%– 66%) as well as a loader and truck handling six bales running parallel with MDP (75%–82%) were highly efficient. The best method was a theoretical 32 bale picker with MDP, which was 92%–96% more efficient than the control. Great savings on cumulative distances that directly influence time, fuel, and cost were realized when the number of bales handled was increased or additional equipment was utilized.