Modeling the biomass supply chain using a discrete, geospatial explicit approach
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The main objective of this master thesis was to provide further insight into the costs, energy consumption and GHG emissions of the FT-diesel supply chain (from field- to refinery-gate) by addressing discrete logistic process details as well as geographic explicit transport details of inter-continental supply chains. To fulfill this objective, a new modeling tool (BLCM-UU) was developed by redesigning and integrating three existing models: the Biomass Intermodal Transportation (BIT-UU) Model that uses ESRI’s ArcGIS Network Analyst; the Biomass Logistic Model (BLM) developed by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL); and the FT Conversion Model developed by van Vliet et al. (2009). The BLCM-UU provides the opportunity to compare the performance (in terms of costs, energy consumption and GHG emissions) of multiple alternative supply chains from various feedstock and source and demand regions and can be used to study the effects of densification (unprocessed, chips, pellets, torrefaction) and new technologies on the overall performance of the supply chain. With the developed BLCM-UU six case studies were conducted to assess the costs, energy and GHG performance of FT-diesel production from stover, switchgrass and woody biomass with the source of the biomass in the United States and with the FT-diesel conversion plant located in The Netherlands. Two main contributors to the total costs of the FT-diesel supply chain were found: first of all the costs for conversion and second of all the costs for long distance transportation. The costs for densification into pellets were found to be low compared to the total costs of the supply chains. The supply of FT-diesel from woody biomass was found to be nearly cost effective (current: $108.48 per barrel crude oil, 21 € / GJ diesel) and will become cost effective at a crude oil price of 121$/bbl. All examined supply chains were found to be robust GHG emission savers and meet the reduction of 60% (with respect to diesel production from fossil sources) as required by the RES Directive (Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC). Therefore it was concluded that long distance transportation does not have to be a barrier for biofuel production chains in Europe with a feedstock supply source at a distant location.