New smartphone app to model log drying and reduce transport costs
A new smartphone app has been developed to predict the moisture content of log piles undergoing infield drying. Inputs in the preliminary version of the app include log type, tree species, location and season. Future development will include more specific weather information. The app was developed as part of a project funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) to maximise cost-savings.
Infield log drying has the potential to significantly reduce transport costs by reducing moisture content, and the weight, of the load.
That’s not surprising when you consider that water accounts for over 50 per cent of the weight of freshly harvested logs.
Researchers funded by FWPA with support from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), conducted field trials in various weather conditions to measure drying rates.
This information was used to create an initial version of a smartphone app to predict drying rates over time.
Vital data was collected through ongoing testing of Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus globulus log piles, as well as a number of individual logs for comparison. While this data was used to develop a preliminary version of the predictive smartphone app, further development will see certain deficiencies in the data addressed through additional testing and research.
Future projects will examine:
- different drying rates in different log types, and in different conditions and locations
- value and volume loss resulting from infield log and biomass storage
- the potential for loading trucks with additional volumes of dry versus green material
- means of paying for logs, chips or biomass based on their moisture content or volume, rather than their green weight
- balancing the costs and revenues from infield drying to determine optimum storage times for logs and biomass.