Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Performance of an Innovative Bio-Based Wood Chip Storage Pile Cover—Can It Replace Plastic Tarps?

Prinz, Robert; Routa, Johanna; Anerud, Erik; Bergström, Dan; Sikanen, Lauri


There is currently great general interest in reducing the use of fossil-based materials. Fossil-based tarps are still widely used as cover for wood chip storage piles, causing additional waste or requiring further waste treatment in the supply chain. This study aimed to investigate the performance of an innovative bio-based wood chip pile cover compared to conventional treatments (plastic-covered and uncovered) in eastern Finnish conditions. The experiment evaluated the drying process during the storage of stemwood chips during 5.9 months of storage. It included the developments of temperature, moisture content, heating value, energy content, basic density, particle size distribution, and the dry matter losses of a total of six piles. As a result, the forest stemwood chips dried by 11%, with dry-matter losses of 4.3%, when covered with the bio-pile cover. Using the plastic covering, the forest stemwood chips dried by 22%, with dry matter losses of 2.9%. At the end of the experiment, the energy content in plastic-covered piles was 6.1% higher than uncovered piles and 3.1% higher than bio-pile-covered piles. While differences in the key drying performance parameters can be observed, the differences between uncovered piles and those covered with plastic tarps, as well as between the bio-based and the uncovered piles, were not statistically significant. We conclude that the bio-based cover, under the studied conditions, do not render better storage conditions than in current practices. However, our study indicates possible fossil-substitutional benefits by using a bio-based cover, which calls for further R&D work in this matter.


bioenergy; forest fuels; bio-pile cover; stemwood chips; wood chip storage; dry matter loss

Published in

2022, Volume: 15, number: 5, article number: 1680