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Preliminary Analysis on Mowing and Harvesting Grass Along Riverbanks for the Supply of Anaerobic Digestion Plants in North-Eastern Italy

Boscaro, Davide, Pezzuolo, Andrea, Grigolato, Stefano, Cavalli, Raffaele, Marinello, Francesco, Sartori, Luigi
Journal of agricultural engineering 2015 v.46 no.3 pp. 5
anaerobic digestion, biogas, biomass, cutting, energy, field capacity, food production, grasses, harvesting, labor, methane, mowing, vegetables, Italy
The increasing demand of vegetal biomass for biogas production is causing competition with food production. To reduce this problem and to provide new opportunities it is necessary to take into consideration different kinds of vegetable biomass that are more sustainable. Grass from the maintenance of non-cultivated areas such as riverbanks has not yet been fully studied as a potential biomass for biogas production. Although grass has lower methane potential, it could be interesting because it does not compete with food production. However, there is a lack of appropriate technologies and working system adapted to these areas. In this paper, different systems that could be available for the mowing and harvesting of grass along riverbanks have been preliminarily assessed through the evaluation of the field capacity, labour requirement, economic and energy aspects. The splitting of the cutting and harvesting phases into operations with different machinery seems to be the best system for handling this biomass. However, these solutions have to take into consideration the presence of obstacles or accessibility problems in the harvesting areas that could limit the operational feasibility and subsequent correct sizing.