Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Guiping Hu


Renewable fuel is receiving an increasing attention as a substitute for fossil based energy. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has employed increasing effort on promoting the advanced biofuel productions. Although the advanced biofuel remains at its early stage, it is expected to play an important role in climate policy in the future in the transportation sector. This dissertation studies the emerging biofuel supply chain and markets by analyzing the production cost, and the outcomes of the biofuel market, including blended fuel market price and quantity, biofuel contract price and quantity, profitability of each stakeholder (farmers, biofuel producers, biofuel blenders) in the market. I also address government policy impacts on the emerging biofuel market.

The dissertation is composed with three parts, each in a paper format. The first part studies the supply chain of emerging biofuel industry. Two optimization-based models are built to determine the number of facilities to deploy, facility locations, facility capacities, and operational planning within facilities. Cost analyses have been conducted under a variety of biofuel demand scenarios. It is my intention that this model will shed light on biofuel supply chain design considering operational planning

under uncertain demand situations. The second part of the dissertation work focuses on analyzing the interaction between the key stakeholders along the supply chain. A bottom-up equilibrium model is built for the emerging biofuel market to study the competition in the advanced biofuel market, explicitly formulating the interactions between farmers, biofuel producers, blenders, and consumers. The model

simulates the profit maximization of multiple market entities by incorporating their competitive decisions in farmers’ land allocation, biomass transportation, biofuel production, and biofuel blending. As such, the equilibrium model is capable of and appropriate for policy analysis, especially for those policies that have complex ramifications and result in sophisticate interactions among multiple stakeholders.

The third part of the dissertation investigates the impacts of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) market penetration levels on the market outcomes, including cellulosic biofuel production and price, blended fuel market price, and profitability of each stakeholder in the biofuel supply chain for imperfectly competitive biofuel markets. In this paper, I investigate the penetration levels of FFVs by incorporating the substitution among different fuels in blended fuel demand functions through “cross price elasticity” in

a bottom-up equilibrium model framework. The complementarity based problem is solved by a Taylor expansion-based iterative procedure. At each step of the iteration, the highly nonlinear complementarity problems with constant elasticity of demand functions are linearized into linear complimentarity problems and solved until it converges. This model can be applied to investigate the interaction between the stakeholders in the biofuel market, and to assist decision making for both cellulosic biofuel investors and government.


Copyright Owner

Leilei Zhang



File Format


File Size

102 pages