Logistics of agricultural residues like straw are already quite well developed in Europe. However, whereas straw logistics stay at this advanced stage, an important alternative source of biomass, the agricultural pruning and branches from up-rooted crops, are currently not being utilized and their logistics associated are basically inexistent in Europe.
The EuroPruning project will demonstrate all the developments and tools generated attending to the new improved logistics for pruning residues. This includes harvesting, transport and storage for agricultural prunings (fruit tree, vineyards and olive grove)
Demonstrations will be carried out by actors potentially participating in future logistic chains for the procurement of agricultural prunings:
Farmers (cooperatives) will utilize prototypes to compile prunings from the soil, and will leave the collected material in clumps nearby the field. Farmers or transport companies (depending on the case) will move the biomass to the site of storage.
Farmers/middlemen/logistic operator will get the collected prunings and will store them in large piles for 6 months.
Logistic operators/transport companies will utilize a smart tool box to compile the biomass and transport to final destination.
Final consumer (heating plants or power facilities) will receive the biomass, and will perform the validation.
Three pilot-scale real operation demonstrations of three logistic chains representative of the three selected biogeographical regions will demonstrate the machinery, the storage and the integrated smart-box system
Agricultural prunings are not being utilised for energy purposes because of several constraints, and Europruning project aims to be the take-off for their extensive utilisation in Europe as source of energy generation.
The overall objective of the project is to develop and demonstrate a, non existent, new logistic chain for the use of biomass from pruning residues.
Europruning will address this objective demonstrating and validating that it is feasible and possible to:
Compile permanent crop prunings from fields with affordable costs of operation with the specific machinery developed in the project.
Comply with environmental interests by leaving part of the organic material (leaves and twigs) at field.
Trace the agricultural prunings by means of a traceability system where farmers, transporting companies, middlemen and final user participate.
Optimise the collection of the harvested prunings, which will remain in clumps distributed near the fields, with the utilization of a best-route smart toolbox.
Achieve a high-quality material for the final consumer.
Additionally to the practical results, the pilot-scale real operation demonstrations of EuroPruning will show to farmers, logistic operators and companies of the energy sector along Europe that the use of the agricultural prunings is feasible, economically viable and profitable for large scale (Spanish demo site) and small scale (French and German demo sites) supply chains.
CIRCE is the project leader, in charge of its coordination and management, and will act as an intermediate actor between the European Commission and the consortium of the project.
Besides taking part in most of the activities of Europruning, such as the definition of the biomass requirements and specifications in the whole value chain, the design of harvesting methods and machinery, or the coordination of the demonstratorns, will lead the research activities on:
Storage: Study and design of the storage facilities (location, sensors, ventilation), as well as the optimal storage conditions of the pruning residues (particle size, humidity etc.) in order to analyse the impact of these measures on the biomass quality for its use as combustible. At the same time these studies will contribute to avoid the risks derived from this storage, as inhalation of gases or fire generation.
Demonstration and monitoring: Real conditions tests of the developments performed to validate the logistic chain, carrying out every proposed activity, from the harvest to the final delivery to the consumer.