Integrating multimodal transport into forest-delivered biofuel supply chain design


Integrate multimodal transport into biofuel supply chain.

Propose a multistage MIP model for the least system cost.

Application of Michigan’s pulpwood delivered ethanol supply chain.


An integrated multi-stage, mixed integer programming (MIP) model using multimodal transport was designed for a forest biomass biofuel supply chain to manage logistics. The two transport modes are rail and truck. The objective was to minimize the total cost for infrastructure, feedstock procurement harvest, transport, storage and process. The model coordinated strategic and tactical decisions. Strategic decisions include the number, capacity, and location of storage yards and biorefineries. Tactical decisions included the amount of biomass shipped, processed and inventoried during a time period. The model was validated using the state of Michigan, in the Midwest United States, as the base case. It was uncovered that trucks are preferred over rail for short-haul deliveries while rails are more effective for long-haul transport. Taking advantage of these benefits, the multimodal transport model provided more cost effective solutions.


  • Optimisation;
  • Biofuel supply chain;
  • Multimodal transport;
  • Intermediate storage;
  • Biorefinery

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