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Engineering Considerations in Road Assessment for Biomass Operations in Steep Terrain

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With the increasing interest in the use of biomass for energy, conventional and alternative delivery systems are being evaluated for transporting biomass generated from harvest residuals on steep terrain in the Pacific Northwest. Conventional delivery systems include chipping or grinding of harvest residues (comminution) at the landing or a satellite yard in the forest and transporting the material with chip trucks to a power facility. To address some of the challenges of conventional methods of transporting biomass in steep terrain, chip van manufacturers have been making trailer modifications to increase vehicle maneuverability on forest roads. To evaluate the proper van configurations for implementing a successful biomass transportation system, planners should understand the limitations of the various chip van options. We present guidelines for designing new roads and evaluating existing road systems for chip truck access to forest residuals, as well as some practical field assessment procedures to evaluate accessibility on existing roads.
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Keywords: biomass transport; chip van accessibility; forest road assessment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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