Integral System to Determine Feasible Regions for Biomass Utilization
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Biomass is a renewable resource that has attractive characteristics for manufacturing many types of products such as biofuels, specialty chemicals, and generation of energy. In this regard, several studies have addressed diverse important features as new technologies for biomass treatment, approaches for potential location of refineries, models to evaluate the relation between availability and price, among others. However, two important issues need to be considered: potential places for biomass availability considering geographic constraints and uncertainty associated to the biomass availability over time. Thus, this paper presents an approach to locate potential sites for biomass extraction considering environmental, social and geographic limitations, using a tool based on geographic information systems. The paper takes into account geographic constraints such as protected areas exclusion, physical conditions for example flat versus mountainous terrain, wetland zones and water bodies¿ location. Also, social constrains such as distance to urban and rural communities were considered. There are other restrictions for feasibility: distance to highways and roads, distance to electrical power grids and power plants, and distance from water sources. Additionally, the proposed approach includes different biomass availability for a specified region. This feature was included in the geoprocessing model by generating several scenarios for biomass availability; which are based on historical data. The method was tested for a nationwide case study in Mexico to locate potential biomass suppliers to generate biofuels and high added value products. Results show the variation of potential locations for biomass suppliers to be used in the proposed biomass processing system, while the availability of bioresources changes. Furthermore, results illustrate the influence of the type of raw material in the location of these suppliers. This method is useful to define potential locations to be taken into account in a posterior problem such design supply chain or planning problem, decreasing considerably the number of options to choose accounting social, environmental and geographic issues.