Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Guiping Hu


As a potential substitute for petroleum-based fuel, second generation biofuels are playing an increasingly important role due to their economic, environmental, and social benefits. With the rapid development of biofuel industry, there has been an increasing literature on the techno-economic analysis and supply chain design for biofuel production based on a variety of production pathways. A recently proposed production pathway of advanced biofuel is to convert biomass to bio-oil at widely distributed small-scale fast pyrolysis plants, then gasify the bio-oil to syngas and upgrade the syngas to transportation fuels in centralized biorefinery.

This thesis aims to investigate two types of assessments on this bio-oil gasification pathway: techno-economic analysis based on process modeling and literature data; supply chain design with a focus on optimal decisions for number of facilities to build, facility capacities and logistic decisions considering uncertainties.

A detailed process modeling with corn stover as feedstock and liquid fuels as the final products is presented. Techno-economic analysis of the bio-oil gasification pathway is also discussed to assess the economic feasibility. Some preliminary results show a capital investment of 438 million dollar and minimum fuel selling price (MSP) of $5.6 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. The sensitivity analysis finds that MSP is most sensitive to internal rate of return (IRR), biomass feedstock cost, and fixed capital cost.

A two-stage stochastic programming is formulated to solve the supply chain design problem considering uncertainties in biomass availability, technology advancement, and biofuel price. The first-stage makes the capital investment decisions including the locations and capacities of the decentralized fast pyrolysis plants and the centralized biorefinery while the second-stage determines the biomass and biofuel flows. The numerical results and case study illustrate that considering uncertainties can be pivotal in this supply chain design and optimization problem. Also, farmers' participation has a significant effect on the decision making process.


Copyright Owner

Qi Li



File Format


File Size

63 pages

Included in

Engineering Commons