Once harvested, timber is gathered by our lightweight agile forwarder and stacked at the roadside of the woodland where the timber has been felled. To reduce the chance of ground moisture wicking up in to the woodfuel, the timber is placed on load-bearing beams to keep the drying wood above the ground. This approach also reduces the risk of the timber being contaminated by grit and soil.
The drying stacks are located away from the drip-line growing of trees in exposed, sunny locations. The objective being to maximise the timbers’ opportunity to be dried by both the wind and sun. The stacked timbers are orientated in line with the prevailing winds direction, maximising airflow through the stack.
The storage of seasoned fuel chip in covered buildings is essential to ensure continuity of supply (of wood chip fuel) for heat demand customers, during periods of inclement weather.
Seasoned timber stacks are set out on hard concrete stands (in distribution hubs) outside of the covered storage buildings. This timber acts as a fuel reserve that can be chipped into the covered building, when fuel chip stock levels become low and access to timber stacked in woodlands is difficult due to weather conditions.
Fuel Chip Ltd’s sister company Practicality Brown generates high volumes of woodchip from one of its core business, that of commercial mechanised vegetation and tree clearance project work.
The cleared vegetation and the trees felled during our project work are often chipped on the project site as part of the operational process. As a consequence our ‘whole tree chip’ has a high moisture content (wet). This wet chip is blown directly from the chipping machine into one of our fleet of hook-bins to prevent contamination by soil or gravel.
The hook-bins with wet chip are transported back to one of our regional distribution / storage hubs and are tipped outside onto a concrete hard standing.
To accelerate the drying process, especially during winter months, We now have the use of 2 transportable biomass drying units with a capacity to dry up to 150M3 per day.
These bespoke state of the art biomass drying plants were commissioned in Summer 2014 and now allow us to both control moisture content accurately and to react quickly to new supply contracts.