Baling biomass offers an opportunity to increase the density of the transported material, thus increasing the trucking payload and reducing costs.In cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority, a study (Woodfin and Stokes 1987b, Curtin 1987a and Stokes and others 1987a) explored using a conventional round baler to bale small diameter woody biomass.A Claas Rollant 62 agricultural round hay baler was tested with a modification to the smooth steel rollers to aid in catching and rotating the biomass.Material of mixed species ranging in size from 1 inch to 3 inches was separated by size class and tested.One trial involved crushed and dried material while another trial involved freshly cut, green stems.Of the material tested, the small diameter crushed material proved to be the most successful in creating a bale core, although the density of the core was not acceptable.The authors found that the balerís feed system was not sufficient to pick up stems on the ground and feed them into the baler to begin the core without manual feeding.Once a core was developed, the feeding system became aggressive; material laid out to simulate a windrow was successfully picked up off the ground and baled.Butt orientation of larger stems did pose a problem with the pickup mechanism.The papers suggest equipment modifications that may aid in successfully using this machine for creating bales from biomass.Curtin (1987a) provides a brief overview of the study.Woodfin and Stokes (1987b) and Stokes and others (1987a) are similar reports published in two places (in Biologue and as a Southern Research Station proceedings article) to reach more diverse audiences.Purpose-built biomass balers are available on the market today, but the investigation into this experimental biomass-baler attachment offered a unique way to adapt existing equipment.


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