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Mechanized harvesting of bamboo plantations for energy production: Preliminary tests with a cut-and-shred harvester

Guerra, Saulo Philipe Sebastião, Oguri, Guilherme, de Jesus Eufrade, Humberto, Xavier de Melo, Raoni, Spinelli, Raffaele
Energy for sustainable development 2016 v.34 pp. 62-66
bamboos, biomass production, cost effectiveness, crops, energy, farms, fuels, harvesters, mechanical harvesting, mechanization, occupational health and safety, plantations, supply chain, tractors
Bamboo plantations can help expanding biomass production to marginal lands, while requiring limited chemical and labour inputs. However, the development of a modern industrial bamboo energy chain requires an adequate level of mechanization. The study presents the preliminary test of a new single-pass cut-and-shred harvester, designed for application to a powerful farm tractor. The machine is especially suited to negotiating disorganized crops, which offer challenging conditions for the more efficient forager-based harvesters. The results show that productivity may exceed 6 fresh th⁻¹, which is close to the assumed theoretical limit for this machine type. Fuel use is over 3l fresh t⁻¹, while harvesting cost varies around 33 €t⁻¹. Fuel use and harvesting cost are still relatively high, but they are likely to decrease as operators gain experience with the new system, and as the system itself is further improved. In any case, cost reduction is only one of the benefits accrued by mechanization, which also plays a major role in improving worker safety and overall supply chain efficiency.