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Supply chain configuration for biomass‐to‐energy: the case of torrefaction

Supply chain configuration for biomass‐to‐energy: the case of torrefaction Purpose – One way of overcoming logistics barriers (poor transportation, handling and storage properties) towards increased utilisation of biomass is to introduce a pre‐treatment process such as torrefaction early in the biomass‐to‐energy supply chain. Torrefaction offers a range of potentially beneficial logistics properties but the actual benefits depend upon how the supply chain is configured to address various elements of customer demand. Hence, the aim of this paper is to develop a framework for torrefaction configuration in a supply chain perspective for different types of customers. Design/methodology/approach – Sophisticated pre‐treatment processes are yet to reach the commercialisation phase. Identification of possible supply chain configurations is in this paper done through a conceptual approach by bringing together knowledge from related research fields such as unrefined forest fuel, pellets and coal logistics with prescriptions for configuration derived from the subject area of supply chain management (SCM). Findings – A framework that explicates different elements of supply and demand of torrefaction is proposed, and exemplified by three distinct supply chains. Depending on demand, torrefaction serves different purposes, bridging gaps in place, time, quality and ownership. Furthermore, different supply chain configurations will pose different requirements on torrefaction in terms of producing different product quality, durability, energy density and hydrophobicity of the pellets. Research limitations/implications – The proposed framework entails a set of propositions, but requires further development through empirical studies using complementary research methods such as interviews or surveys and quantification through techno‐economical or optimisation from a supply chain perspective. Practical implications – This paper provides a framework that can inform decisions makers in biomass‐to‐energy supply chains, in particular at torrefaction plants, on upstream and downstream implications of their decisions. Originality/value – The findings have implications for biomass‐to‐energy supply chains in general, and in particular, the paper provides a supply chain perspective of pre‐treatment processes, where previous research has focused primarily on technical aspects of torrefaction. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Energy Sector Management Emerald Publishing

Supply chain configuration for biomass‐to‐energy: the case of torrefaction

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1750-6220
DOI
10.1108/17506221311316489
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – One way of overcoming logistics barriers (poor transportation, handling and storage properties) towards increased utilisation of biomass is to introduce a pre‐treatment process such as torrefaction early in the biomass‐to‐energy supply chain. Torrefaction offers a range of potentially beneficial logistics properties but the actual benefits depend upon how the supply chain is configured to address various elements of customer demand. Hence, the aim of this paper is to develop a framework for torrefaction configuration in a supply chain perspective for different types of customers. Design/methodology/approach – Sophisticated pre‐treatment processes are yet to reach the commercialisation phase. Identification of possible supply chain configurations is in this paper done through a conceptual approach by bringing together knowledge from related research fields such as unrefined forest fuel, pellets and coal logistics with prescriptions for configuration derived from the subject area of supply chain management (SCM). Findings – A framework that explicates different elements of supply and demand of torrefaction is proposed, and exemplified by three distinct supply chains. Depending on demand, torrefaction serves different purposes, bridging gaps in place, time, quality and ownership. Furthermore, different supply chain configurations will pose different requirements on torrefaction in terms of producing different product quality, durability, energy density and hydrophobicity of the pellets. Research limitations/implications – The proposed framework entails a set of propositions, but requires further development through empirical studies using complementary research methods such as interviews or surveys and quantification through techno‐economical or optimisation from a supply chain perspective. Practical implications – This paper provides a framework that can inform decisions makers in biomass‐to‐energy supply chains, in particular at torrefaction plants, on upstream and downstream implications of their decisions. Originality/value – The findings have implications for biomass‐to‐energy supply chains in general, and in particular, the paper provides a supply chain perspective of pre‐treatment processes, where previous research has focused primarily on technical aspects of torrefaction.

Journal

International Journal of Energy Sector ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 5, 2013

Keywords: Torrefaction; Pre‐treatment; Supply chain configuration; Logistics; Supply chain management; Distribution management

References