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A decision support system for optimal storing and supply of wood in a Finnish CHP plant

Palander, Teijo, Voutilainen, Juuso
Renewable energy 2013 v.52 pp. 88-94
biomass, buffers, decision support systems, energy flow, forests, fuels, fuels (fire ecology), managers, operating costs, planning, renewable energy sources, wood, Finland
In this study, a decision support system to large-scale and long-term fuel procurement scheduling problems is considered for sustainable energy production. The problems include the allocation of a number of forest biomass procurement chains to an energy plant during different periods. In Finland district and roadside terminals are commonly used as forest fuel buffers of energy plants. However, due to the complex nature of the decentralized procurement problem, it is recently considered as an inefficient procurement chain. Therefore we tested the developed terminal planning system using plant terminal technology and forest fuel buffer decisions to better describe the combinatorial complexity of energy flows. We decoded the dynamic linear optimization program to the decision support system. This makes the approach usable by managers without requiring them to learn advanced programming skills. The total operating costs decreased 14.1% from 5.9 to 5.1 million Euros when the plant terminal technology was included. The properties of the decision support system are discussed and we present two examples of how the system works based on real-world data and plant terminal technology rate (500%) as an optional terminal buffer constraint.