Biomass & Bioenergy, Vol.54, 77-82, 2013
Effect of piece size and tree part on chipper performance
A commercial drum chipper was fed alternately and piecewise with poplar stems and poplar tops, in order to determine the effect of piece size and tree part on machine performance. Chipping stems required most of the available power (231 kW) delivered by the tractor, whereas chipping tops took about half that much. However, productivity was twice as high with stems, compared to tops (i.e. 25 and 11 t h (1) of oven dry wood, respectively). As a consequence, specific fuel consumption per unit product was 15% lower with stems, compared to tops - i.e. 0.61 and 0.72 L m(-3), respectively. Mean feeding speed was 0.37 m s(-1) for stems and 0.41 m s(-1) for tops, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.1677). Productivity and fuel consumption were strongly related to piece size, but tree part had its own additional effect, independent from size and possibly related to form. When chipping tops it is advisable to feed more pieces at a time, in order to partly compensate for the effect of piece size. Operators expecting to chip primarily small-size materials may acquire special chipper versions with wider drums and additional side rollers, for smoother mass feeding. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.