Computers & Chemical Engineering, Vol.126, 113-127, 2019
Designing biofuel supply chains while mitigating harmful algal blooms with treatment wetlands
Preventing harmful algal blooms (HAB) in water bodies is an urgent environmental challenge across the world. This is a side effect from the supply chain of products from agricultural biomass, and renders many bio-based products environmentally unsustainable. Most existing efforts for designing sustainable supply chains aim to reduce the life cycle environmental impact, while ignoring nature's role in absorbing the emissions. Using the framework of techno-ecological synergy (TES), this work explicitly accounts for the role of wetlands in absorbing farm runoff to design environmentally sustainable biofuel supply chains. Application to a twenty-one county region of Northwest Ohio, which is largely responsible for HABs in Lake Erie, indicates opportunities for designing techno-ecological supply networks that are economically and ecologically superior to conventional techno-centric networks. Using the TES framework also provides counterintuitive solutions that encourage intensive agriculture with higher phosphorus runoffif there is enough land available for conversion into wetland ecosystems. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.