Least-cost allocation strategies for wood fuel supply for distributed generation in Denmark: a geographical study

    • International Journal of Sustainable Energy (Print Edition). 23, 4 (2004) 187-197
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    Access to low-cost wood chips in sufficient amounts is a main pre-condition for successful operation of distributed bioenergy plants. In saturated biomass markets, such as in Denmark, transport costs are a major determinant of fuel price flexibility. As transport costs and fuel availability highly depend on the geography of the energy system and its preferred energy sources, regional studies of biomass supply and logistics can give plant operators, forest managers and transport companies, the required information about fuel cost and supply cost. This paper presents a method based on geographical information systems (GIS) for allocating forest wood chip resources to energy plants in Denmark. The GIS combines plant location and fuel consumption with mapped wood chip production and a road network database, and allows for studies of supply costs and least-cost allocation. Resource areas for 35 wood chip consuming plants are mapped with which discrepancies of supply and demand can be analysed. Cost-supply curves are used for the assessment of supply economy and geo-sensitivity analysis. The paper concludes that the method developed can be used to analyse interference of least-cost supply of wood chips with plant location and size.