Lignocellulosic biomass feedstock transportation alternatives, logistics, equipment configurations, and modeling



Lignocellulosic biomass feedstock transportation bridges biomass production, transformation, and conversion into a complete bioenergy system. Transportation and associated logistics account for a major portion of the total feedstock supply cost and energy consumption, and therefore improvements in transportation can substantially improve the cost-competitiveness of the bioenergy sector as a whole. The biomass form, intended end use, supply and demand locations, and equipment and facility availability further affect the performance of the transportation system. The sustainability of the delivery system thus requires optimized logistic chains, cost-effective transportation alternatives, standardized facility design and equipment configurations, efficient regulations, and environmental impact analysis. These issues have been studied rigorously in the last decade. It is therefore prudent to comprehensively review the existing literature, which can then support systematic design of a feedstock transportation system. The paper reviews the major transportation alternatives and logistics and the implementation of those for various types of energy crops such as energy grasses, short-rotation woody coppices, and agricultural residue. It emphasizes the importance of performance-based equipment configuration, standard regulations, and rules for calculating transport cost of delivery systems. Finally, the principles, approaches, and further direction of lignocellulosic feedstock transportation modeling are reviewed and analyzed. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd