Beyond green planet : a comprehensive and systematic second-generation biomass supply chain optimisation

  • Jixiang ZHANG

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Biomass energy utilization plays crucial role in both energy security and environmental production. Biomass utilization has been developed for decades, while it still considered as underutilized industry at present. One of the major restrictions is the supply chain related cost control. This thesis will analyse from three aspects (long-term, medium-term and short-term) to optimise biomass supply chain. The goal of this thesis is to establish an efficiency and low-cost integrated biomass supply chain framework, which involved modelling optimisation assisted by experiments. Firstly, for biomass supply chain long-term optimisation, sufficient feedstock source is a key for biomass plant stable operation, thus, biomass potential assessment is necessary. A novel biomass potential assessment method was proposed in this thesis, which considered the effect of biomass feedstock removal on soil health. The thesis evaluated agricultural residues potential from three aspects (theoretical, technical and sustainable potential) in China as a case study, and analysed residues spatial distribution and production. It found that 1001.47 Mt of residue is produced annually (theoretical potential), including corn stalks (440.64 Mt), rice straw (241.45 Mt) and wheat straw (176.46 Mt). for sustainable consideration, that can be considered, 143.20 Mt residues were seen as sustainable potential, which could provide from 22.2 to 27.8 TWh power supply each year. Secondly, biomass supply chain medium-term optimisation plays crucial role in connecting both long-term and sort-term, among that logistics cost accounts the largest proportion of biomass supply chain. The logistics algorithm modelling optimisation and pre-treatment methodscharacteristics experimental assessment contribute to biomass supply chain medium-term optimisation. A case study of logistic system optimisation was proposed and studied, which integrated with the decision making of long-term optimisation. The results showed that the integrated logistics related cost and greenhouse gas emission under long-term optimisationassisting reduced 0.02% and 0.01% respectively. Thirdly, by-products valorisation is another way to reduce total biomass supply chain cost in short-term optimisation. This thesis proposed a conceptual zero waste biorefinery process network design, and investigated a novel concept of corn stalk-based ethanol production as a case study. The results showed that the optimised ethanol production cost and greenhouse gas emission reduce 20.5% and 73.1% respectively. At the end of this thesis, variable future work of biomass supply chain optimisation is presented for consideration. This thesis provide a comprehensive solution for the problem of biomass supply chain cost control and efficiency improvement, which various stakeholders benefit from this thesis. For example, long-term optimisation, the investigation of biomass potentialassessment provide an overview not only to policymaker for decision making, but also to investors for avoiding disorderly competition. Medium-term optimisation, the robust logistic model saved logistic cost for investor, meanwhile, reduced CO2 emission further contributing to public health. Short-term optimisation, the conceptual zero waste biorefinery process designfor by-product valorisation is another three birds one stone conception which benefits investors, environment and human well-being.
Date of Award7 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorJun Li (Supervisor) & Ashleigh Fletcher (Supervisor)

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