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The Transportation Emission Impact of the Biomass Feedstock Traffic of A Potential Commercial-Scale Biorefinery in East Tennessee

Listed author(s):
  • Yu, Edward T.
  • Fu, Joshua S.
  • Larson, James A.
  • English, Burton C.
  • De La Torre Ugarte, Daniel
  • Wilson, Bradly
  • Yun, Jeongran
  • Gao, Yuan
  • Calcagno, Jimmy

The logistics required to supply biomass feedstock a refinery is crucial to the development of the cellulosic biofuel industry because of the importance of the quality and quantity and bulky nature associated with cellulosic feedstock to the biofuel conversion process. In addition, the potential social and environmental impact of biomass feedstock transportation has also received increasing attention due to the expansion of truck traffic on the current road system. This study applies a spatial-oriented mixed-integer mathematical programming model linked to a GIS resource model to generate a least cost solution of a typical feedstock harvest and logistic system for a potential biorefinery with the capacity of 50 million gallons per year. Moreover, U.S. EPA’s MOVES2010a was used to estimate the baseline emissions for 2010 with national scale option in study region and additional emissions generated from hauling those feedstock with project scale option. Results showed that the transportation cost accounted for nearly one-quarter of total plant gate costs of the large round bales. Also, it was estimated that the biorefinery received about 50,000 truckloads per year, hence creating annually 100,000 truck trips (or 274 truck trips per day) on the road linking the entrance of the biorefinery to the supply regions. The overall VMT increase resulting from additional feedstock truck traffics was 3.7 million miles and the emissions of NOX, CO2, PM10, and PM2.5 emissions increased by 0.32%, 0.13%, 0.60%, and 0.71%, respectively, in these 13 counties studied when comparing with the overall baseline emissions.

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Paper provided by Transportation Research Forum in its series 53rd Annual Transportation Research Forum, Tampa, Florida, March 15-17, 2012 with number 207080.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
Handle: RePEc:ags:ndtr12:207080
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  1. James A. Larson, 2010. "Cost evaluation of alternative switchgrass producing, harvesting, storing, and transporting systems and their logistics in the Southeastern USA," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 70(2), pages 184-200, August.
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