Evaluation of the Microclimate in a Stored Softwood Chip Pile for Biopulping

F. Wolfaardt and C. Rabie


Storage of wood chips is preferred to storage of round wood, however, chip deterioration causes considerable problems in chip piles. Factors contributing to deterioration have, therefore, been studied to manage chip storage. The requirements of biopulping processes have renewed interest in the microclimate in these piles. The aim of this study was to assess the suitability of a 3000 ton softwood chip pile for colonization by a biopulping fungus. This study evaluated conditions such as temperature, moisture and CO2 that developed over a 3-week period in the chip pile. Zones that formed within the pile varied in temperature, CO2 concentration and moisture content. The high temperatures that developed in some areas in the chip pile could make a large volume (29%) of the chip pile unsuitable for colonization by mesophilic white-rot fungi. The moisture content in 24% of the chip pile reached 55%, but is not expected to have a large impact on biopulping. The areas of high temperature and high moisture also overlapped. Special management practices would, therefore, be required to produce a suitable environment in the chip pile for uniform colonization by biopulping fungi. High levels of CO2 (12.7%) accumulated for a short period in some areas, but biopulping could still be effective at these levels.

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Holzforschung is an international scholarly journal that publishes cutting-edge research on the biology, chemistry, physics and technology of wood and wood components. High quality papers about biotechnology and tree genetics are also welcome. Rated year after year as one of the top scientific journals in the category of Pulp and Paper (ISI Journal Citation Index), Holzforschung represents innovative, high quality basic and applied research.