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Geospatial Model

Optimizing Biorefinery Location and Feedstock Supply

Building a profitable bioenergy industry requires careful attention to biomass logistics and spatial questions of where biomass will be available and how expensive it will be to access the product markets. To study these factors, we are using the Geospatial Bioenergy Systems Model (GBSM). The GBSM was developed to analyze the question of scaling and system design for bioenergy applications.

With the GBSM, we are analyzing possible biorefinery locations and size, feedstock sourcing, logistics, and which markets to serve.

Optimal systems configurations are found with a profit maximizing optimization model by combining geographic information on feedstock supplies and demands for products and transportation costs with cost and performance models of the biorefineries. The optimal system configurations will provide insight into which locations are most likely to be profitable and at what size.

In addition, the GBSM has been adapted to integrate with the poplar supply scenarios generated by the crop adoption model (BCAM), allowing for analysis of coordinated biomass contracting and biorefinery site selection. Additional improvements being implemented are the following:

  1. Quantifying the costs associated with connecting to existing rail infrastructure
  2. Land value
  3. Cost of compliance with air quality regulations
  4. Identifying existing industrial zones.

Map of the western United States showing optimal cellulosic biorefinery locations and their biomass supplies.
Sample output from GBSM showing optimal biorefinery locations in the western states and their biomass supplies.