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Sustainable Biomass Supply Chain for the Oil Mallee Industry
Summary Short cycle tree crops such as oil mallees have the potential to play an important role in the longterm sustainability of low rainfall agriculture. The economic sustainability of the oil mallee industry depends upon developing markets and industries to utilise the biomass. A fundamental part of this development is the biomass supply chain; the system which links the crop in the farm paddock to the processing factory.

Significant research and development has to date focussed on the development of oil mallee processing facilities and harvesting systems. Only limited formal consideration has been given to the complete biomass supply chain, from field to factory.

This project will undertake a prefeasibility assessment of the oil mallee supply chain, with an aim to optimise the supply of material from the field to the mill. The sugar industry offers a compelling opportunity to undertake a comparative analysis based on similar supply challenges and 100 years of experience. The principles and approach of this study could also be applied to other biomass sources.

The proposed project aims to:
Review the material harvest, handling and processing requirements for a sustainable mallee biomass industry.
Investigate tools, processes and models used in similar biomass industries (such as sugar) which are potentially applicable to the mallee industry
Undertake a desktop assessment of the logistics for mallee supply.
Identify critical elements, gaps and opportunities for further development of a sustainable mallee industry.
Program Bioenergy, Bioproducts and Energy
Research organisation University of Southern Queensland
Objective summary An important part of the development of the oil mallee industry will be to ensure optimised and synchronised supply of material from the field to the mill. This would reduce the costs of harvesting and hauling biomass to maximise farmer and processor returns. The design and performance of the harvester will be contingent on the total delivery system.

It is thus proposed that a prefeasibility study should be undertaken to test how components of the harvest / delivery system are impacted by the source of mallee material (volume, location, quality, harvest window), the harvester/haulage system (capacity, performance, payloads and efficiencies) and the processing system (capacity, operating period, efficiencies and stockpiles).

Systems assessment and modelling would allow sensitivity analysis and evaluation of changes to components in the harvest/supply system and would aid design of optimum harvest and transport arrangements. Systems assessment would include an economic appraisal of impacts of changes in supply design or operations on industry viability.

The specific objectives of the proposed project are:
1)Review the material harvest, handling and processing requirements for a sustainable mallee biomass industry.
2)Investigate tools, processes and models used in similar biomass industries (such as sugar) which are potentially applicable to the mallee industry.
3)Develop a conceptual framework to assess harvest/supply issues.
4)Undertake a desktop assessment of the logistics for mallee supply.
5)Indentify critical elements, gaps and opportunities for further development of a sustainable mallee industry.
6)Determine key performance criteria for components within the harvest supply chain.
Project Stage Closed
Project start date Sunday, May 30, 2010
Project completion date Monday, June 25, 2012
Journal articles from project Not Available
National priority Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries
Rural priority Advanced Technology
RIRDC goal BBE-Bioenergy, Bioproducts and Energy
Principal researcher Erik Schmidt
Research manager Duncan Farquhar
Admin contact Jill Albion