Transportation of forest biomass on steep terrain involves logistical challenges. Trucks with large single trailers are often unable to travel on forest roads due to their narrowness, tight curves, adverse grades and limited areas to turn around. A shorter trailer must be used but then transportation capacity is limited by the trailer volume due to the low bulk density of the processed biomass, particularly when the biomass is dry. With double trailers, transportation capacity can be limited by allowable legal weight based on axle number and spacing. We developed a simulation model that explores the economic feasibility of using double-trailer configurations to transport forest biomass to a bioenergy facility from the grinder at a landing or from a centralized yard in Washington, Oregon and California. Results show that double trailers can be a cost effective alternative to single trailers under limited conditions in Oregon and Washington, but they are not a competitive option in California due to the state's transportation regulations.
Funding Statement (additional comments about funding)
This research was partially supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Biomass Research and Development Initiative program, award number DE-EE0006297; and by the Northwest Renewables Alliance (NARA). NARA is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2011-68005-30416 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.