Development of the IBSAL-SimMOpt Method for the Optimization of Quality in a Corn Stover Supply Chain
Variability on the physical characteristics of feedstock has a relevant effect on the reactor’s reliability and operating cost. Most of the models developed to optimize biomass supply chains have failed to quantify the effect of biomass quality and preprocessing operations required to meet biomass specifications on overall cost and performance. The Integrated Biomass Supply Analysis and Logistics (IBSAL) model estimates the harvesting, collection, transportation, and storage cost while considering the stochastic behavior of the field-to-biorefinery supply chain. This paper proposes an IBSAL-SimMOpt (Simulation-based Multi-Objective Optimization) method for optimizing the biomass quality and costs associated with the efforts needed to meet conversion technology specifications. The method is developed in two phases. For the first phase, a SimMOpt tool that interacts with the extended IBSAL is developed. For the second phase, the baseline IBSAL model is extended so that the cost for meeting and/or penalization for failing in meeting specifications are considered. The IBSAL-SimMOpt method is designed to optimize quality characteristics of biomass, cost related to activities intended to improve the quality of feedstock, and the penalization cost. A case study based on 1916 farms in Ontario, Canada is considered for testing the proposed method. Analysis of the results demonstrates that this method is able to find a high-quality set of non-dominated solutions.