Forest based biorefinery supply chains - Identification and evaluation of economic, CO2, and resource efficiency

University dissertation from Luleå : Luleå University of Technology

Abstract: Biorefineries for production of fuels, chemicals, or materials, can bean important contribution to reach a fossil-free economy. Large-scaleforest-based biorefineries are not yet cost competitive with their fossil counterparts and it is important to identify biorefinery supply chain configurations with good economic, CO2, and biomass performance if biorefineries are to be a viable alternative to the fossil refineries.Several factors influence the performance of biorefinery supply chains,e.g. type of conversion process, geographical localisation, and produc-tion capacity. These aspects needs to be analysed in conjunction to identify biorefineries with good supply chain performance. There ares everal approaches to improve the performance of biorefineries, wheree.g. integration with other industries can improve the economic perfor-mance by utilisation of excess heat and by-products. From a Swedish perspective the traditional forest industry is of interest as potential host industries, due to factors such as by-product availability, opportunity for heat integration, proximity to other biomass resources, and their experience in operating large-scale biomass supply chains.The objectives of this work were to investigate how different supply chain configurations influence the economic, biomass, and CO2 perfor-mance of thermochemical biorefineries integrated with forest industries,as well as methods for evaluating those supply chains.This work shows that there is an economic benefit for integration with the traditional forest industry for thermochemical biorefineries.This is especially true when the biorefinery concept can replace cur-rent old industrial equipment on site which can significantly improvethe economic performance of the biorefinery, highlighting the role the Swedish forest industry could play to reach a cost efficient large-scale implementation of lignocellulosic biorefineries.The cost for biomass is a large contributor to the total cost of biore-fineries and for traditional techno-economic evaluations, the biomass prices are considered as static variables. A large-scale biorefinery will likely have an impact on the biomass market, which could lead to both changes in the biomass price, as well as changed biomass demand for other industries. A framework where this is accounted for was intro-duced, combining a techno-economic perspective for evaluating the sup-ply chain performance, with a market model which identifies changes in biomass price and allocation due to the increased biomass competition.The biorefinery performance can be determined from several per-spectives and system boundaries, both from a plant-level and a national perspective. To facilitate a large-scale introduction of biorefineries and  maximise the benefit from their implementations, there is a need to identify biorefinery concepts with high performance considering severa system boundaries, which has been explored in this work.

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