Managing woody biomass transportation for improved biomass economics Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/mc87pt423

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  • With rising fuel costs and enhanced environmental concerns, the use of renewable energy has been steadily considered and widely expounded as a solution to the challenges of global energy security and climate change. The use of woody biomass, in particular, has received considerable attention for energy production due to the potential availability of large volumes from fuel reduction thinning operations and healthy forest restoration plans. However, woody biomass utilization is not as economically attractive as fossil fuel due to the high production and transportation costs compared to the relatively low market values of these materials. Therefore, identifying or developing cost effective production and transportation systems has become an economically critical issue to expand biomass utilization. In woody biomass production, the transportation of wood raw materials from the sources to the conversion facilities is the largest single component of production costs for many suppliers around the world. Therefore, small increases in transportation efficiency could significantly reduce the overall production costs. The purpose of this study was to provide new knowledge which leads to improvements in the economic feasibility of using woody biomass for energy through reductions in transportation costs. This dissertation: • Developed prediction models to estimate the travel times including terminal (loading and unloading) times to haul woody biomass from non-forest sources to conversion facilities in western Oregon and determined the effects of off-forest road classes on transportation times and costs. The travel time prediction model developed was shown to be a good predictor for travel time through a validation procedure. The average percent difference between actual and predicted travel times was only 6 percent. • Developed a computer model, named BIOTRANS, to estimate the biomass transportation productivity and cost and evaluated the effects on transportation costs of different truck configurations, transported material types, and travel route characteristics. Different truck configurations and transported material types significantly affected transportation costs. A 4 axle truck and single trailer was the most cost efficient hauling configuration for the conditions studied and shavings have 30 percent higher trucking costs than other material types. • Developed an optimization model to solve a truck scheduling problem for transporting four types of woody biomass in western Oregon. For an actual 50-load order size, the truck scheduling model produced significant improvements in solution values within 18 seconds. The average reductions in transportation cost and total travel time were 18% and 15%, respectively. • Reviewed collaborative management systems and described the potential implementation of collaborative transportation management in the woody biomass transportation industry.
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