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Open AccessArticle

Decreasing the Fuel Consumption and CO2 Emissions of Excavator-Based Harvesters with a Machine Control System

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la Valorizzazione del Legno e delle Specie Arboree (CNR IVALSA), Via Madonna del Piano 10, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
Australian Forest Operations Research Alliance (AFORA), University of the Sunshine Coast, Locked Bag 4, Maroochydore DC, Queensland 4558, Australia
Fibria-Suzano, Operational Development, Forestry Operations, Rod. Gen. Euryale de Jesus Zerbine, km84, Jacareí, SP 02186-010, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(1), 43;
Received: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 9 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics and Human Dimensions)
Compared with purpose-built units, excavator-based harvesters offer many advantages, but they also face one main limitation: a much higher fuel consumption, which also results in higher CO2 emission levels. The fuel efficiency of excavator-based harvesters can be increased by a better interface between the excavator and the harvester head. This study aimed to determine the performance of a new adaptation kit, specifically designed to improve the communication between these two components. The new kit offers real-time adjustment between the power demand of the harvester head and the power output of the excavator, which should help reducing fuel consumption while stabilizing hydraulic fluid temperature. The test was conducted on 53 excavator-based harvesters purchased and managed by a large Brazilian company. Time use, fuel consumption and production were monitored continuously for one full month, before and after installation of the kit. Overall, the study covered 40,000 h of work, during which the harvesters cut, processed, and debarked 4.5 million trees, or 650,000 m3 of wood, under bark. Fuel consumption amounted to 900,000 liters. After installing the adaptation kit, productivity increased 6%, while fuel consumption per hour decreased 3.5%. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per product unit decreased 10%, as an average. The effect of random variability typical of an observational study prevented formulating an accurate figure for the amount of fuel that can be saved by installing the adaptation kit. Yet, one may confidently state that, in most cases, installing the kit results in a reduction of fuel use, and that such reduction is most often in the range from −10 to −20% on a per m3 basis. View Full-Text
Keywords: logging; productivity; eucalypt; plantation; Brazil logging; productivity; eucalypt; plantation; Brazil
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Spinelli, R.; De Arruda Moura, A.C. Decreasing the Fuel Consumption and CO2 Emissions of Excavator-Based Harvesters with a Machine Control System. Forests 2019, 10, 43.

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