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Techno-economic modeling of the supply chain for torrefied biomass
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Torrefaction and densification of biomass can provide an important piece in the puzzle of phasing out fossil fuels in favor of renewable alternatives. This new energy carrier shares many of the advantages with fossil coal in terms of energy density, hydrophobicity and burner feeding but is carbon neutral and renewable. It also lacks the challenges of many other renewable alternatives, especially irregular availability.

A model was developed in Excel as sales support for BioEndev, one of the leading actors in the process of taking torrefaction to a commercial market, assessing the black pellet supply chain from feedstock to end user and comparing it to white pellets. Data was obtained from literature, industry and BioEndev. The model can be used for different parameters for price of feedstock, capital and operating expenditures, transport and handling costs and analyze 28 different cases. It also includes simplified calculations for energy input and greenhouse gas emissions.

A case study for two different supply chains was performed with the model. One assessed a production facility in northern Sweden with distribution to a consumer in Denmark. The other a torrefaction plant in southeastern USA with distribution to a consumer in the Netherlands.

The cost for delivering black and white pellets from Sweden to Denmark was found to be 33.0 €/MWh and 35.3 €/MWh respectively. For the case of delivering from USA to the Netherlands, the total supply chain cost was 27.6 €/MWh for white pellets and 24.7 €/MWh for black pellets.

Suggestions for further work are to 1) develop the model outside this study’s limitations, for example by adding integration options for the torrefaction facility or by different end user configurations, and 2) expand the scope to also comparing black pellets to coal to see how big the gap is and which political incentives that could shrink this gap. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 41 p.
Keyword [en]
torrefaction, torrefied, black pellets, logistics, supply chain management
National Category
Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-89698OAI: diva2:722991
External cooperation
BioEndev AB
Subject / course
Educational program
Master of Science Programme in Energy Engineering
Available from: 2014-06-10 Created: 2014-06-10 Last updated: 2014-06-10Bibliographically approved

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