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Title: Novel approach for integrated biomass supply chain synthesis and optimisation
Author: Hong, Boon Hooi
ISNI:       0000 0004 9350 2412
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2020
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Despite looming energy crises, fossil resources are still widely used for energy and chemical production. Growing awareness of the environmental impact from fossil fuels has made sustainability one of the main focuses in research and development. Towards that end, biomass is identified as a promising renewable source of carbon that can potentially replace fossil resources in energy and chemical productions. Although many researches on converting biomass to value-added product have been done, biomass is still considered underutilised in the industry. This is mainly due to challenges in the logistic and processing network of biomass. An integrated biomass supply chain synthesis and optimisation are therefore important. Thus, the ultimate goal of this thesis is to develop a novel approach for an integrated biomass supply chain. Firstly, a multiple biomass corridor (MBC) concept is presented to integrate various biomass and processing technologies into existing biomass supply chain system in urban and developed regions. Based on this approach, a framework is developed for the synthesis of a more diversified and economical biomass supply chain system. The work is then extended to consider the centralisation and decentralisation of supply chain structure. In this manner, P-graph-aided decomposition approach (PADA) is proposed, whereby it divides the complex supply chain problem into two smaller sub-problems – the processing network is solved via mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model, whereas the binaries-intensive logistic network configuration is determined through P-graph framework. As existing works often focus on supply chain synthesis in urban regions with well-developed infrastructure, resources integrated network (RIN) – a novel approach for the synthesis of integrated biomass supply chain in rural and remote regions is introduced to enhance rural economies. This approach incorporates multiple resources (i.e. bioresources, food commodities, rural communities’ daily needs) into the value chain and utilises inland water system as the mode of transport, making the system more economically feasible. It extends the MBC approach for technology selection and adopts vehicle routing problem (VRP) for inland water supply and delivery network. To evaluate the performance of the proposed integrated biomass supply chain system, a FANP-based (fuzzy analytical network process) sustainability assessment tool is established. A framework is proposed to derive sustainability index (SI) from pairwise comparison done by supply chain stakeholders to assess the sustainability of a system. Fuzzy limits are introduced to reduce uncertainties in human judgment while conducting the pairwise comparison. To design a sustainable integrated biomass supply chain, a FANP-aided, a novel multiple objectives optimisation framework is proposed. This approach transforms multiple objective functions into single objective function by prioritising each of the objective through the FANP framework. The multiple objectives are then normalised via max-min aggregation to ensure the trade-off between objectives is performed on the same scale. At the end of this thesis, viable future works of the whole programme is presented for consideration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TP Chemical technology