This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A decision support system for biorefinery location and logistics




Sukumaran, Sujith

Type of Degree



Industrial and Systems Engineering


The use of forest biomass, a renewable resource, as a source of fuels or chemicals is hindered by logistics. Economic success of the bioenergy concepts and their products may also depend on the solution to the logistics problem. A decision support system (DSS) has been developed to identify locations for biorefineries in the state of Alabama. The DSS is comprised of two models, a location and an economic model. In the location model, biorefinery location and the catchment area for the biomass are identified in such a way that it will incur the least transportation cost. It also selects the type and number of equipment needed for the first three stages of the supply chain such as loading, transport from forest site to road site and preprocessing. In the economic model, the DSS uses the cost outputs from the location model and cost inputs from the user to calculate the investment and the rate of return on investment. The user has initially to choose from a list of biomass conversion technologies which are to be used in the biorefinery. The DSS supports decision makers in analyzing the biomass supply, estimating the profitability of investments, and evaluating necessary investments in infrastructure and equipment for biorefineries.