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Optimization of sawmill residues collection for bioenergy production

Zamar, David S., Gopaluni, Bhushan, Sokhansanj, Shahab
Applied energy 2017 v.202 pp. 487-495
bioenergy, biomass, energy, energy conservation, pulp and paper industry, pulp and paper mills, sawmills, trucks, water content
The collection of sawmill residues is an important logistic activity for the pulp and paper industry, which uses the biomass as a source of energy. We study a vehicle routing problem for a network composed of a single depot and several sawmills. The sawmills serve as potential suppliers of biomass residues to the depot, which in turn processes and distributes the residues to the pulp and paper mills. This problem consists of identifying the best daily routing schedule for a fixed number of trucks. The objective is to maximize the ratio of energy returned on energy invested, while satisfying a minimum daily amount of dried biomass residues. There are several random components in the problem, including the availability and moisture content of the biomass residues. We use a combination of scenario analysis and heuristics to solve this stochastic vehicle routing problem. A performance comparison of the proposed method reveals an estimated daily energy savings of 6 GJ over the benchmark method.