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GIS Program to Optimize Feedstock Utilization for Mobile Pyrolysis Units

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1111267.(doi:10.13031/2013.38518)
Authors:   Miae Ha, Clyde L Munster, Sergio Capareda, Don Vietor, Tony Provin, Marco Palma
Keywords:   Mobile pyrolysis units, feedstock logistics, GIS, bio-oil, corn stover, sorghum

Mobile pyrolysis units can be used to convert low-density biomass to high-density bio-crude oil at feedstock production fields thereby minimizing transportation costs. A grid-based GIS program was developed to identify optimum locations for mobile pyrolysis units in order to minimize transportation distances for corn stover and energy sorghum feedstocks in the North Central region of the U.S. This GIS program was based on an analysis of transportation networks, cropping patterns, feedstock production rates, and oil refinery locations. Model builder was used to automate the GIS analysis and the actual locations of planted corn and sorghum fields were obtained from the cropland data layer (CDL) database (USDA, 2010a) from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) (USDA 2010b). Network analyst, as an extension of ArcGIS, was used to find the best route to move the mobile pyrolysis units to new locations and to identify the closest refinery to receive the bio-crude oil. The use of mobile pyrolysis units also minimizes the transportation costs to land apply the low-density biochar byproduct back to feedstock production fields. The mobile pyrolysis unit feedstock rate is 40 tons/day. Feedstock hauling distances varied from 2,000 m for a 1 month move time to 10,000 m for a 12 month move time. Distances from the mobile pyrolysis units to the closest oil refinery varied from 81 to 707 km.

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