Analysis and optimization of transport processes in the case of a fluctuating seasonal supply of biomass for power plants

  • Project team:

    Cienfuegos, Bernardo (Dissertation)

  • Start date:


  • End date: 2014
  • Research group:

    Energy – resources, technologies, systems

Project description

Biomass energy production has gained particular interest in recent years due to the progressive depletion of conventional fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, and the growing government policies about better environmental sustainability of power generation processes in terms of air pollution control.

The activities in the biomass supply chain for a power plant can be responsible for a number of environmental impacts: fossil fuel use and emissions, noise, visual intrusion, health and safety issues, water pollution, traffic generation, and others. It is of fundamental importance that the environmental benefits that result from using biomass fuels outweigh the environmental impacts and resource consumption that they incur.

The implementation of biomass energy sources depends on an efficient biomass resource management due to the relevance of the involved costs that are generally higher in comparison to competing non-renewable energy sources. The best cost-efficient supply chain will not necessarily provide the best benefit in environmental terms. The biomass logistics have an important role, not only from an economical point of view but also in respect of supply security and environmental impacts.

The transportation costs for a biomass power station are especially relevant because of the complex nature of biomass raw sources and the opportunity related to the raw materials availability. When transportationing, the following details have to be considered: an often only seasonally available input; different transportation options; complex economics, ecologic and social implications of a selected solution, among others.

The proposed solution is to develop advanced logistic optimization models which should consider the complexity of the problem and provide the efficiency needed in terms of costs and ecological impact. The decision model will be developed with the consideration of concrete locations in Chile and Germany.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Prof Dr. Liselotte Schebek
Advisor: Dr. Witold-Roger Poganietz
Doctoral students at ITAS: See Doctoral studies at ITAS


Dipl.-Ing. Bernardo Cienfuegos
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe