Modeling the woody biomass supply chain for energy production in northwestern Ontario
Alam, Md. Bedarul
Forest harvest residue
Forest management units
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Efficient procurement and optimal utilization of woody biomass for bioenergy production requires a good understanding of biomass supply-chain management. The general objective of this research is to develop decision support models for analyzing and aiding decision-making for optimal woody biomass supply chain management for energy production in northwestern Ontario (NWO). The specific objectives are: exploration of data sources and methods for assessing woody biomass availability, assessment of availability of woody biomass feedstock for energy production in the forest management units (FMUs) of NWO; development of a road network optimization model to optimize woody biomass feedstock transportation from forest cells (1 km x 1 km grid) to power plants; and development of optimization models for analyzing the optimal woody biomass supply from forest cells to one power plant with monthly production schedules (dynamic mathematical programming model) and to four competing power plants (modeling the woody biomass competition issues) in NWO. The spatial assessment study found that in the 19,315 depletion cells (the forest areas where some level of timber harvest took place during 2002-2009) within the study area about 2.1 million green tonnes (gt) of forest harvest residue and 7.6 million gt of underutilized wood are technically available, which is enough to supply the annual biomass demand (2.21 million gt) of the four power plants were they to convert to using only renewable energy sources.