Optimal location of biorefineries considering sustainable integration with the environment

Volume 100, January 2017, Pages 65–77

Special Issue: Control and Optimization of Renewable Energy Systems

Edited By Nael H. El-Farra and Panagiotis D. Christofides


A mathematical model for designing a distributed biorefining systems is presented.

The proposed model incorporates the interactions with the surrounding watershed.

The nexus between water-energy-agriculture is considered.

A case study from the central-west part of Mexico is presented.


A typical biorefining supply chain exerts substantial impact on the regional water resources. Indeed, a complex relationship exists between the production of biomass, the processing of biomass into fuels and chemicals, the usage of fresh water, and the discharge of wastewater. This paper introduces an optimization framework for the design of a biorefining system while accounting for the interactions with the surrounding watershed. Special attention is paid in the use of fresh water and the discharge of wastewater to the surrounded watershed. The optimization approach also accounts for the selection of feedstocks, location of cultivation sites and biomass processing facilities, and conversion technologies. Economic and environmental objectives are used. A case study for the central-west part of Mexico is presented. The results show that economic gains may be achieved while optimizing water usage and discharge and satisfying watershed constraints.


  • Biorefineries;
  • Sustainable use of resources;
  • Material flow analysis;
  • Sustainable watersheds;
  • Optimization;
  • Biofuels

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