2024 journal article

Nth-plant scenario for blended pellets of Miscanthus, Switchgrass, and Corn Stover using multi-modal transportation: Biorefineries and depots in the contiguous U.S.

Biomass and Bioenergy.

Source: ORCID
Added: March 15, 2024

The sustainability of the biofuel industry depends on the development of a mature conversion technology on a national level that can take advantage of the economies of scale: the nth-plant. This study addresses the logistic challenge of mobilizing national cellulosic feedstock supplies for a sustainable bioenergy industry. A Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model was developed and updated to deliver on-spec biomass that considers both a desired quantity and quality at the biorefinery. Our supply chain analysis includes multi-modal transport (truck and rail), varying depot and biorefinery sizes, and feedstock blends of corn stover (harvested by either a two- or three-pass method), switchgrass, and miscanthus. The following US states: Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Texas were identified as key locations for producing accessible miscanthus. Based on our most optimistic scenario, using trucks as the only transportation mode in 2040 with a cost target of $79/dt, corn stover, switchgrass, and miscanthus could help meet 48% of the EPA target, 173 million dry tons that translate into 7.8 billion GGE. The addition of rail transportation for biomass delivery to biorefineries could help meet 79% of the EPA target, 283 million dry tons that translate into 12.7 billion GGE.