Kuptz Daniel, PhD

Evaluation of Fuel Quality, Throughput Rate and Energy Consumption During Non-Industrial Wood Chip Production with Three PTO Driven Chippers

volume: 43, issue:

Physical wood chip quality is essential for failure-free and low emission combustion in small-scale boilers ≤100 kW. In Bavaria, these furnaces are often operated by farmers or private forest owners that produce their own fuels using small to medium sized PTO-driven chippers. As secondary fuel processing steps such as industrial screening are usually too expensive for private forest owners, the selection of suitable raw materials and process parameters to directly produce high quality fuels during chipping are deemed especially relevant for this user group. In the present study, three commonly used small-scale chippers ≤150 kW, i. e. a drum, a spiral and a disc chipper where evaluated in terms of fuel quality, throughput rate and energy consumption during wood chip production. Chipping was done using stem wood of European beech and Norway spruce. Machine settings were the ones recommended by the chipper manufactures for the production of high quality fuels. Additional chipping variants included the use of different raw materials such as crown residues of European willow and varying machine settings including blunt knives, increasing spiral cut length, large screen mesh sizes or increased PTO speeds. Representive wood chip samples were taken after each trial and analysed in their physical fuel properties according to international standards for solid biofuels but also using a continuously measuring image analysis device to determine particle length and particle shape. For all three mobile chippers, wood chips with the particle size class »P31s« according to the revised ISO 17225-4:2021 could be produced when stem wood was used as assortment. Fine content of chips, i. e. particles ≤3.15 mm, was lowest for the spiral chipper and increased for the drum and disc chipper, especially when blunt knives or narrow screen meshes were used for chipping. At the same time, blunt knives increased the particle shape factor (PSF) of the bulk materials indicating a rather broken particle surface structure compared to clean cut particles. Throughput rate decreased and energy consumption increased when fuels with small particle size were produced, e. g. when narrow screen meshes or narrow chipping spirals were applied. This trend was particularly pronounced when blunt knives were used for chipping due to grinding of the material. All three chippers could be recommended for the production of high quality fuels for small-scale boilers when suitable machine settings and raw materials are applied for chipping.


Web of Science Impact factor (2022): 3.200
Five-years impact factor: 3.000

Quartile: Q1 - Forestry

Subject area

Agricultural and Biological Sciences