Biomass feedstocks including crop residues and energy crops hold great potential for energy source. They are currently being considered for use in direct combustion systems and for value added byproducts such as biofuels or biocrude. A major roadblock associated with utilization of biomass feedstocks is the high cost of handling and storage due to low energy and bulk density of these feedstocks. In addition, a wide variety of existing harvest systems creates logistics difficulties for bioenergy industries and specific solutions sometimes are required to reduce costs.
The utilization of herbaceous biomass requires optimized handling systems to collect, store, and transport year round. This then requires selecting the most economical methods from various existing handling systems for loose and baled biomass materials. How these different harvesting systems can be integrated into a cost-effective supply system is a challenge. The number of harvest days or the window of harvest depends on the type of crops, geographic and climate conditions, soil and nutrient management strategies, etc. The window of harvest could greatly impact on harvest, handling and storage costs. Efficient use of existing harvesting and handling equipment in a limited harvest window is desired.
In the article “Harvest Systems and Analysis for Herbaceous Biomass“, Grisso, Liu and Cundiff (2011) described the main key issues that need to be considered when making decisions on a logistic system for a bioenergy plant.