Applied Energy, Vol.149, 315-325, 2015
Discrete-event simulation of an information-based raw material allocation process for increasing the efficiency of an energy wood supply chain
Transportation distance, moisture content of the raw material and volume per storage are crucial factors for the economy of forest biomass supply operations from roadside to plant. The present study investigated the current process for raw material allocation in a case study in Eastern Finland and compared it to a newly developed process which is based on the previously mentioned factors with the aim of increasing the energy output during the peak period. It applied discrete-event simulation to assess the effects on productivity of a supply chain consisting of two truck-trailer combinations and a large-scale chipper, economically analyzed the results and compared the current practice to the information-based approach. The results show that the information-based approach increased the productivity in terms of energy output of the supply chain. During the peak period from December to February, when the available fleet works to full capacity and productivity is therefore critical, the energy output in terms of MW h increased by up to 29%. Over the whole year the output increased by up to 8% while the supply costs decreased by up to 7%. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.