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Planning woody biomass supply in hot systems under variable chips energy content

Marques, A; Rasinmaki, J; Soares, R; Amorim, P;

Biomass and Bioenergy

The growing economic importance of the biomass-for-bioenergy in Europe motivates research on biomass supply chain design and planning. The temporally and geographically fragmented availability of woody biomass makes it particularly relevant to find cost-effective solutions for biomass production, storage and transportation up to the consumption facility. This paper addresses tactical decisions related with optimal allocation of wood chips from forest residues at forest sites to terminals and power plants. The emphasis is on a “hot-system” with synchronized chipping and chips transportation at the roadside. Thus, decisions related with the assignment of chippers to forest sites are also considered. We extend existing studies by considering the impact of the wood chips energy content variation in the logistics planning. This is a key issue in biomass-for-bioenergy supply chains. The higher the moisture content of wood chips, the lower its net caloric value and therefore, a larger amount of chips is needed to meet the contracted demand. We propose a Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) model to solve this problem to optimality. Results of applying the model in a biomass supply chain case in Finland are presented. Results suggest that a 20% improvement in the supplier profit can be obtained with the proposed approach when compared with a baseline situation that relies on empirical estimates for a fixed and known moisture content in the end of an obliged storage age. © 2017