Effect of harvest region shape, biomass yield, and plant location on optimal biofuel facility size

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


The development of biofuel production facilities using renewable biomass faces many hurdles. One of these is determining the appropriate size of the facility under different uncertain conditions. Facility size is affected by many factors including transportation cost rate, biomass yields, facility location, and the availability of harvest region. This research focuses on understanding the impact of varying harvest yields that are typical with utilizing forest resources and the use of factors to account for actual road routes instead of Euclidean distance. The results suggest that use of realistic travel distances tends to lower the optimal facility size and increase the unit cost per liter of fuel. Varying harvesting yields do have an effect, but this is more a relation of actual location of the facility and less to do with varying yield across the region from which the biomass is harvested.

Publication Title

Forest Policy and Economics