Biomass supply chain logistics for co-firing coal power plants
This thesis presents a decision-making model for the use of agricultural lands producing biomass intended for co-firing coal power plants. The model accounts for the yield of biomass from the major soil types in the area surrounding the power plant, the cost of producing the biomass, and the transportation costs associated with a biomass supply chain network. The model is a mixed-integer program with an objective function aimed to minimize the total supply, production, and transportation costs associated with the biomass supply chain. This research introduces a new method of determining the biomass supply potential of a region using the agricultural simulation software, ALMANAC. This case study in southwest Texas is presented using switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). It is determined that, for this case study, a co-firing rate of up to 10% can reasonably accommodate utilizing lands from Wilson and Atascosa counties. The locations to be used for growing the biomass are determined through successive iterations of the model, resulting in the selection of six harvesting locations utilizing three consolidation depots. This model helps decision makers determine if biomass co-firing would be an effective initiative for conforming to new environmental emission standards and how to design their supply chain.