The aim of this task is to propose developments to the existing harvesting technologies and systems. The objective is to test such developments on the field where practically feasible and financially affordable. As a result, the improved/developed machines during numerous tests and demonstrated at a later stage of the project as well as design and sketches for future improvements of machines will be available.
Early generation harvesting technologies were mainly developed at larger scale (>€100k machines, >€250k harvesting systems), however, there is a need to replicate the best technologies at smaller scale (<€50k machines, <€150k harvesting systems) in order to adapt to smaller scale and dispersed production systems.
Project partners Nobili and SSSA will further develop a prototype grass energy crop harvester that they have been considering. The machine is relatively small scale, but they aim to increase the capacity with changes to the cutting mechanism and the working width. It will be applied to Sorghum, Miscanthus and Giant Reed. Project partners RRes and CRL will seek to improve the cutting head and the cutting mechanism of an existing smaller scale SRC harvester so that it presents the stems to the intake mechanism better and causes less damage to the stool and thereby re-growth potential. Stool damage will be assessed by the non-destructive methods for measuring re-growth used. The project partner FCBA will sketch a small scale harvester to cut older coppice of approximately 5 season’s growth.