First Spanish demos test three different models to collect and treat the wood from fruit plantations





Systems to provide biomass for farm heating and agro-industry were as diverse as manual fed chipping of pruning, mechanized pruning harvesting and shredding and fruit tree felling and shredding.

During this last pruning season, two large fruit production areas of Aragón (Spain) have been the witnesses of first uP_running demonstrations. The experiences, held during December 2017 and January 2018, have been organized between the entrepreneurs supported by uP_running and the local partners, CIRCE and ASAJA Huesca.

During these demos, different methods were tested and monitored for harvesting and treat both maintenance and graft prunings, as well as plantation removals. More specifically, the purposes of the demos were as follows:

  • 1st demo: Manual chipping of peach tree graft prunings at Casa Miquelás, and self-consumption of the wood chips to heat the quail’s farm
  • 2nd demo: Harvesting with integrated shredder of maintenance pruning from peach trees, at Frutas Aqua facilities
  • 3rd demo: Plantation removal of a nectarine field by two different models: whole tree uprooting and shredding, and separate treatment of aerial part and stumps.

First demo took place at CASA MIQUELÁS (Fraga) and consisted in the manual chipping of peach tree graft prunings, by two operators. The machinery used was a JUNKARRI 250 (see photos below) mounted to an 85 CV tractor. According to the performance tests performed, the chipper was able to produce ~1.7 t/h of chips at 25% water content. Although overall quality of the biomass produced was good, some improvements are foreseen to reduce the occurrence of large pieces in the material produced. These pieces may cause problems later on for the energy use of the biomass, e.g., in the boiler feeding system.

In the second demo, at FRUTAS AQUA facilities, harvesting with integrated shredder and 2 m3 deposit was utilized to collect, directly from soil, the branches obtained after the maintenance pruning of 1 ha peach trees. The operations were performed with a “Biomass 100” shredder from SERRAT manufacturer and the material produced consists in hog fuel, which differs substantially from the wood chips obtained in first demo (see photos below). The performance measured was ~1.6 t/h of material at 33% water content. Some of the lessons learned during this demo are the relevance of well alignment of pruning prior processing, the difficulty to adjust the preparation of pruning in a way that the overall pruning management costs are simplified (as regard as the usual mulching), or the complexity to organize the discharge on trailers or containers in a way that reduces time, costs, and avoids to have 2 persons.

The third demo concerns the plantation removal of 1 ha nectarine trees in Miralsot (Fraga) by GRUYSER-ECOADESO. In that case, a complex demo was carried out, involving two main models and numerous operations:

Model 1:

  • Fruit tree felling by a hydraulic shear mounted on hydraulic arm and haulage of the tree’s aerial part to field side (performance eq. 6.8 t/h)
  • Haulage of whole trees to field side (eq. 13 t/h)
  • Field side shredding of aerial part (5 t/h)
  • Uprooting of stumps with a retro-excavator (eq. 6.1 t/h).

Model 2:

  • Whole tree uprooting with a retro-excavator (eq. 12.5 t/h)
  • Haulage of whole trees to field side
  • Transport and shredding of whole tree at the processing plant (these operations will be carried out in another demo, in May 2018).

According to the results, it is possible to estimate the costs per ton of each operation, and thus Gruyser-Ecoadeso and CIRCE have identified the needs for improvement to make the operations competitive.

In next days, additional demos will be performed in Aragón (Spain) and will involve vineyard haulage and shredding at field side, as well as harvesting with integrated shredder of olive trees prunings.

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