Biomass logistics chains

Economic, environmental and social aspects of the energy crop biomass logistics chain will be addressed in this part. The project partners will develop a model of the supply-chain that would help to integrate and optimize the logistics system by choosing among different technology options. These include transport routes, storage sites, pre-conditioning and processing technologies (e.g. pelletization or briquetting), harvesting (cutting date, type of technology used), type of feedstock (grassy or woody). The model will take into account the technical interdependencies between different options (the fact that some of the alternatives along the chains are related or incompatible) as well as the requirements of the biomass conversion plant.

Potential and sustainability with respect to the three aspects will be studied separately by developing and using different relevant methodologies and models. Thus, the three aspects will be addressed in four tasks comprising: development of a set of methodologies that form one single methodology together and the use of this methodology to analyse, optimize and assess logistics for energy crops biomass.

The work on biomass logistics will be carried out in 4 tasks:

  • Economic optimization:

    Development and use of an optimization model for the whole supply chain from farm to end-user that optimizes the activities of the supply chain given an economic criteria (e. g. maximize profit or minimize costs). Seasonal variations and uncertainty can be explicitly taken into account.

  • Environmental assessment:

    Analysis of the environmental impacts generated by the different biomass logistics systems, with a specific focus on energy, material, water and land use, GHG emissions, eutrophication, acidification and ecotoxicity. Impacts will be calculated following the framework of LCA and SUMMA/LCA.

  • Social assessment:

    The social sustainability of alternative logistics systems will be assessed, focusing on, job creation, quality of life, equity, diversity, social mixing/cohesion, participation/governance and maturity, as well as barriers and potentials for innovation. Key methods will be input/output analysis and qualitative institutional analysis centred on the concepts of economic, social and cultural capital.

  • Case description, overall assessment and recommendations:

    Detailed definition of the two cases and relevant subcases/scenarios. Synthesizing the economic, environmental and social assessments of the cases/scenarios and making recommendations regarding the biomass logistics system.

Miajadas plant and Burgundy Pellets logistics chain will be used as starting points and will be expanded in order to analyse the potential of the new or improved technology in a wider context. One of the cases will be expanded with respect to the region studied and technical options included. The other case will be less expanded and more focused on the characteristics of that specific case. These 2 cases were selected to cover a range of representative value-chains and end-uses (pellets as biomaterials or heating fuel, bioelectricity, 2nd generation bio-ethanol for transport), scales (from 3,000 to 5,000,000 tons of biomass processed per year), climatic zones (Mediterranean vs. temperate, continental climates), and feedstock (oats and triticale as annual crops, Miscanthus as a perennial grass, and poplar SRC).


  1. Guidelines and fact sheets’ templates for reporting economic and environmental indicators to stakeholders
  2. Feedstock supply scenario
  3. Biomass supply chain optimization model
  4. LCA of different types of feedstock for selection of the appropriate ones for briquetting tests
  5. Report social capital and innovative capacity
  6. Sustainability assessments (economic, environmental, social)
  7. Overall assessment and recommendation of biomass logistics system
  8. Guidelines for the implementation of the optimization model and assessment framework of new biomass supply-chains in Europe