January 29, 2010

Multistage system planning for bioethanol production and distribution in California


Yongxi (Eric) Huang, ITS-Davis Graduate Researcher, UC Davis


Predicted growth in energy demand calls for additional sources of energy to supplement traditional energy sources. An important question is how the biofuel infrastructure system should be gradually built up and operated to support sustainable and cost-effective energy production and to serve long-term energy needs of our society. Due to the evolvement of technology and societal energy needs, the dynamics of the system must be taken into consideration. Conventional time-independent snapshot method, as used in all previous studies, is inadequate. In this study, a mathematical model that integrates spatial and temporal dimensions is developed for strategic planning of future bioethanol systems. The planning objective is to minimize the cost of the entire supply chain of biofuel from biowaste feedstock fields to end users over the entire planning horizon from 2010 to 2020, simultaneously satisfying demand, resource, and technology constraints. This model is used to evaluate the economic potential and infrastructure requirements for bioethanol production from eight waste biomass resources in California as a case study. We found that enough biowaste resources are available in the state to supply instate ethanol production between 2010 and 2020 as proposed by the Bioenergy Action Plan. The optimized supply chains result in a cost of delivered ethanol around $1.1 per gallon.

Biographical Sketch

Eric Huang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis. His research focuses on the renewable energy infrastructure system development and network analysis with emphasis on decision making under uncertainty and system dynamics. Since he joined the STEPS program at ITS-Davis, he has studied how to improve the efficiency and reliability of energy infrastructure systems under uncertainty, and developed adaptive long-term energy system planning strategies to incorporate dynamics caused by evolving technology and societal needs. Eric earned his BE in Civil Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China (2003), and ME in Transportation Engineering from National University of Singapore (2005).