Dr. Jonathan Resop, Senior Lecturer in the MS GIS program, along with Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus Dr. John Cundiff and Professor Dr. Robert Grisso, has published the manuscript, "Central Control for Optimized Herbaceous Feedstock Delivery to a Biorefinery from Satellite Storage Locations," in the journal AgriEngineering. The research studies the logistics of transporting herbaceous feedstock to a theoretical biorefinery and explores the optimization of a central control program to organize delivery from remote locations.
Read the article here.
The delivery of herbaceous feedstock from satellite storage locations (SSLs) to a biorefinery or preprocessing depot is a logistics problem that must be optimized before a new bioenergy industry can be realized. Both load-out productivity, defined as the loading of 5 × 4 round bales into a 20-bale rack at the SSL, and truck productivity, defined as the hauling of bales from the SSLs to the biorefinery, must be maximized. Productivity (Mg/d) is maximized and cost (USD/Mg) is minimized when approximately the same number the loads is received each day. To achieve this, a central control model is proposed, where a feedstock manager at the biorefinery can dispatch a truck to any SSL where a load will be available when the truck arrives. Simulations of this central control model for different numbers of simultaneous load-out operations were performed using a database of potential production fields within a 50 km radius of a theoretical biorefinery in Gretna, VA. The minimum delivered cost (i.e., load-out plus truck) was achieved with nine load-outs and a fleet of eight trucks. The estimated cost was 11.24 and 11.62 USD/Mg of annual biorefinery capacity (assuming 24/7 operation over 48 wk/y for a total of approximately 150,000 Mg/y) for the load-out and truck, respectively. The two costs were approximately equal, reinforcing the desirability of a central control to maximize the productivity of these two key operations simultaneously.