(206c) Strategic Planning for Regional Biodiesel Manufacturing Under Uncertainty | AIChE

(206c) Strategic Planning for Regional Biodiesel Manufacturing Under Uncertainty


Liu, Z. - Presenter, Wayne State University
Huang, Y. - Presenter, Wayne State University

Biodiesel is widely accepted as an environmentally benign renewable energy resource. Hitherto, there have been a variety of biodiesel manufacturing technologies developed, which can be classified as those alkali or acid catalyzed, and non-catalyzed under supercritical condition, etc. Although some are more superior to others technically, they may also show some potential disadvantages from the sustainability point of view. Therefore, the feasibility and desirability of technology use must be carefully evaluated.

This paper will present a systematic sustainability assessment and decision making methodology that is developed for conducting strategic planning of biodiesel manufacturing in regions. The key feature of the methodology is its system analysis and decision making under uncertainty. By the methodology, the candidate technologies and process alternatives will be modeled and simulated. A variety of manufacturing conditions related to raw materials, energy availability, product quality and by-product/waste generation etc., will be evaluated. Then, a comprehensive sustainability assessment will be conducted on the design alternatives where varies of uncertain scenarios are considered. For instance, the economic sustainability of the processes will be evaluated using net annual profit under market fluctuation; environmental sustainability will be represented by the affordability to the predicted EPA's regulation on potential environmental impact (PEI); the social sustainability will be reflected by total inherent safety subjected to heuristic satisfaction. By comparing the overall sustainability, the most desirable manufacturing technologies along with process designs can be ranked, and strategic planning on manufacturing locations as well as capacities can also be determined, where the regional needs, market opportunities, etc. are predicted in a short-to-mid term range. The efficacy of the systematic sustainability assessment and decision making methodology will be demonstrated by strategies for biodiesel manufacturing in an automotive centered region in North America.