Maize and wheat are two of the most widespread crops worldwide because of their high yield and importance for food, chemical purposes and livestock feed. Some of the residues of these crops (i.e., maize cob and wheat chaff) remain in the field after grain harvesting. In Europe, just maize cob and grain chaff could provide an annual potential biomass of 9.6 Mt and 54.8 Mt, respectively. Collecting such a biomass could be of interest for bioenergy production and could increase farmers’ income. Progress in harvest technology plays a key role in turning untapped by-products into valuable feedstocks. This article presents a study of the performance and the quality of the work of Harcob, an innovative system developed for maize cob collection. Furthermore, the feasibility of using the Harcob system to also harvest wheat chaff during wheat harvesting was also verified. The results showed that it was possible to harvest 1.72 t ha−1
and 0.67 t ha−1
of cob and chaff, respectively, without affecting the harvesting performance of the combine. The profit achievable from harvesting the corn cob was around 4%, while no significant economic benefits were observed during the harvesting of wheat chaff with the Harcob system. The use of cereal by-products for energy purposes may allow the reduction of CO2
from fossil fuel between 0.7 to 2.2 t CO2
. The Harcob system resulted suitable to harvest such different and high potential crop by-products and may represent a solution for farmers investing in the bioenergy production chain.
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