Managing biomass feedstocks: selection of satellite storage locations for different harvesting systems
Keywords:herbaceous biomass, switchgrass, harvest, handling, storage location
Biomass feedstocks including switchgrass and corn stover are currently being considered for use in direct combustion systems, and for value-added products such as ethanol. A major roadblock associated with utilization of biomass feedstocks is the high cost of handling and storage due to low bulk density of these feedstocks. A wide variety of existing harvest systems creates logistics difficulties for bioenergy industries. The utilization of herbaceous biomass materials requires low-cost handling systems to collect, store, and transport year round. This then requires selecting the most economical methods from various existing handling systems for loose and baled biomass materials. How these different harvesting systems can be integrated into a cost-effective supply system is a challenge. A method of selecting lowest cost harvest and handling machine system was proposed; the model developed could calculate costs of different systems so as to assist field managers to select the best handling method for every point in a given location of a biorefinery plant. The results of the model calculation can provide users a map which shows the lowest-cost handling scenario for all handling systems analyzed by this program. This result will enable biorefinary industries and landowners to determine the most cost-effective way to harvest, store, and transport biomass materials according to the size of the biorefinery plant.