Load-Out and Hauling Cost Increase with Increasing Feedstock Production Area

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

The impact of average delivered feedstock cost on the overall financial viability of biorefineries is the focus of this study, and it is explored by modeling the efficient delivery of round bales of herbaceous biomass to a hypothetical biorefinery in the Piedmont, a physiographic region across five states in the Southeastern USA. The complete database (nominal 150,000 Mg/y biorefinery capacity) had 199 satellite storage locations (SSLs) within a 50-km radius of Gretna, a town in South Central Virginia USA, chosen as the biorefinery location. Two additional databases, nominal 50,000 Mg/y (29.1-km radius, 71 SSLs) and nominal 100,000 Mg/y (40-km radius, 133 SSLs) were created, and delivery was simulated for a 24/7 operation, 48 wk/y. The biorefinery capacities were 15.5, 31.1, and 47.3 bales/h for the 50,000, 100,000, and 150,000 Mg/y databases, respectively. Three load-outs operated simultaneously to supply the 15.5 bale/h biorefinery, six for the 31.1 bale/h biorefinery, and nine for the 47.3 bale/h biorefinery. The required truck fleet was three, six, and nine trucks, respectively. The cost for load-out and delivery was 11.63 USD/Mg for the 50,000 Mg/y biorefinery. It increased to 12.46 and 12.99 USD/Mg as the biorefinery capacity doubled to 100,000 Mg/y and tripled to 150,000 Mg/y. Most of the cost increase was due to an increase in truck cost as haul distance increased with the radius of the feedstock supply area. There was a small increase in load-out cost due to an increased cost for travel to support the load-out operations. The less-than-expected increase in average hauling cost for the increase in feedstock production area highlights the influence of efficient scheduling achieved with central control of the truck fleet.

Cundiff, J.S.; Grisso, R.D.; Resop, J.P.; Ignosh, J. Load-Out and Hauling Cost Increase with Increasing Feedstock Production Area. AgriEngineering 2023, 5, 1694-1712.