The cost of bioenergy production, regardless of the conversion technology and energy type produced, are highly dependent on the cost and quality of the biomass feedstock.
Management of the quality and cost of woody biomass supply chains has been a cornerstone of successful bioenergy development overseas, particularly across Europe. This project will establish field trials with both the Australian forest industry (key woody biomass suppliers) and bioenergy project developers. The trials will produce knowledge and systems that optimise supply chain management to deliver a quality improvement of the woody biomass for energy production (managing moisture/energy content) and minimise supply chain costs through optimised integration with existing forest resource supply chains.
Trial sites will be in plantations and forests managed across the commercial forestry areas of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. The trials sites are designed to provide a range of data on change in wood quality as a result of different environmental conditions and to provide improved knowledge on different pre-treatment systems and integration with different existing supply chains. This wide range of trials is possible due to the wide collaborative network already in place with the forest managers all of which are part of the Australian Forest Operations Research Alliance based out of the Forest Industries Research Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The trial will provide:
- Knowledge of woody biomass storage to improve desirable quality features for energy production and provide strategies to achieve the desired outcomes in different environmental conditions
- Accurate models for the management of changing woody biomass quality features as to provide certainty in supply to the bioenergy producer
- Optimised planning and management strategies for the handling and pre-treatment of woody biomass for different energy production systems
- Optimised planning and management strategies for effective supply chains and supply chain integration.