Assessing the sustainability of biomass supply chains for energy exploitation

Athanasios Rentizelas

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Biomass use has increased significantly lately, partly due to conventional fuels price increase. This trend is more evident in rural areas with significant local biomass availability. Biomass may be used in various ways to generate heat.

In this work, the focus is on comparing two different biomass energy exploitation supply chains that provide heat at a specific number of customers at a specific cost. The first system is pellets production from biomass and distribution of the pellets to the final customers for use in domestic pellet boilers. The second option is centralized energy co-generation, which entails simultaneous electricity and heat generation. In the latter case, heat is distributed to the customers via a district heating network whereas electricity is fed to the electricity grid. The biomass source examined is locally available agricultural residues and the model is applied to a case study region in Greece.

The aim of this work is to determine how these two different biomass exploitation options perform in sustainability terms, including the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability. The effect of trying to optimise separately the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability on the system design is examined, while at the same time taking into account the social dimension. Furthermore, a bi-objective optimisation is employed, to overcome the limitations of the single-objective optimisation. Both the upstream and the downstream supply chains of the pelletizing/CHP units are modelled.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2014
EventThe Eighteenth International Working Seminar on Production Economics - Innsbruck, Austria
Duration: 24 Feb 201428 Feb 2014


ConferenceThe Eighteenth International Working Seminar on Production Economics


  • sustainability
  • biomass
  • pellets
  • CHP
  • electricity generation
  • logistics
  • supply chains

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