Date of this Version
Biomass and Bioenergy 66 (2014), pp. 12-26; doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.03.013
Biomass bales often need to be aggregated (collected into groups and transported) to a field-edge stack or a temporary storage before utilization. Several logistics scenarios for aggregation involving equipment and aggregation strategies were modeled and evaluated. Cumulative Euclidean distance criteria evaluated the various aggregation scenarios. Application of a single-bale loader that aggregated bales individually was considered as the “control” scenario with which others were compared. A computer simulation program developed determined bale coordinates in ideal and random layouts that evaluated aggregation scenarios. Simulation results exhibited a “diamond pattern” of bales on ideal layout and a “random pattern” emerged when ≥ 10% variation was introduced. Statistical analysis revealed that the effect of field shape, swath width, biomass yield, and randomness on bale layout did not affect aggregation logistics, while area and number of bales handled had significant effects. Number of bales handled in the direct method significantly influenced the efficiency. 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 (4%-16%) than the baler path. Simplistic methods, namely a direct triple-bale loader with MDP (64%-66%), or a loader and truck handling six bales running parallel with MDP (75%-82%) were highly efficient. 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.