By Tony Kryzanowski
Mulching and vegetation control contractors, equipment dealers, forestry representatives, government representatives, and scientists were recently treated to the first of a series of biomass harvesting and collection system demonstrations hosted by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC).
The first demonstration was the patent-pending, Gyro-Trac Bio-Energy Biomass System (BBS) all-in-one wood fibre mulching and baling system.
Tim Keddy, CWFC Wood Fibre Development Specialist, says the demonstrations of the Gyro-Trac BBS system—conducted at various locations from Ontario to Alberta—were meant to introduce individuals to the type of biomass harvesting and collection systems that are available.
Three other systems, the Fecon Bio-Harvester, the AAFC biomass harvester prototype and the Anderson Bio-Baler, will also be demonstrated at various locations throughout Canada this summer. These demonstrations are part of CWFC’s program to develop and evaluate different mid-supply chain options for harvesting and delivery of woody biomass in Canada.
“We’re showing what different options are available at demonstrations throughout Canada and hoping that industry will find a system that works for them and begin to apply it commercially,” Keddy said to the group gathered at a demonstration held at the University of Alberta Ellerslie Research Station in Edmonton.
Wayne Gradwell, Brushing Supervisor with ACE Vegetative Service, says they already use a Gyro-Trac mulcher in their business. The company’s interest in attending the demonstration of the Gyro-Trac BBS system was to investigate how the unit collected, processed and packaged the material once it was mulched.
“A lot of our clients are requesting that we remove the mulch from control sites and so what we are doing right now is burning it on the right-of-way or taking it to a different facility or location,” says Gradwell. “So this way if it is baled, there is less volume to transport and it doesn’t require the use of other equipment for the baling.”
He adds that the equipment did work as advertised, with the only caveat being that he would like to see a bit more speed in the production of each round bale. However, he says if ACE Vegetation Service is able to earn $50 from the sale of each 800 – 1000 kilogram bale, then it would make the effort financially worthwhile. While the technology works, he says it still remains to be seen where markets can be developed for the bales once they are produced.
The Gyro-Trac head office is located in Summerville, South Carolina, although the technology was developed in Quebec. The company has five units that have been working in Florida for about a year. It was the crew from the company operating the equipment in Florida, Oliver’s Bush Hogging, who toured with the Gyro-Trac 270 HP BBS unit across Canada; they had experience working with the equipment in a commercial application and could answer questions from demonstration attendees. Gyro-Trac also produces a 350 HP BBS system. The prime mover and baling unit can be purchased as a package or separately.
The unit was put to work in a variety of environments during its tour, processing both hardwood and softwood as well as wood infected with the mountain pine beetle.
What’s different about the Gyro-Trac BBS system vs. its standard mulcher is that the cutting head shoots the mulch to a conveyor, instead of on to the ground. The conveyed mulch is processed through a chipper that further reduces the material to between 3” and 4” in diameter before it collects in the BBS tensioning and compacting round baling unit.
The system can process any size diameter wood and in fact works most productively on larger logs and trees because it can process more wood fibre and create more bales without moving. Each unit requires about one hour of maintenance per shift, and in Florida they were able to produce one bale every six minutes on average. Because the mulch is compacted into 800 – 1000 kilogram bales, it adds about 30 per cent more capacity per load when transported vs. non-baled mulch.
Rather than spewing mulch on the ground, the Gyro-Trac BBS system gathers it and compresses it into a round bale ready for shipment.
For more information about upcoming biomass harvesting and collection demonstration events, contact CWFC Wood Fibre Development Specialist Tim Keddy at (780) 435-7212 or tkeddy@NRCan-RNCan.gc.ca or Derek Sidders at (780) 435-7355 orDerek.Sidders@NRCan-RNCan.gc.ca
For more information about the Gyro-Trac BBS, check out www.gyrotrac.com.
View original article source at: www.forestnet.com