Solving a woody biomass truck scheduling problem for a transport company in Western Oregon, USA
With rising fuel costs and enhanced environmental concerns, the use of renewable energy has been steadily considered and widely expounded as a solution to the challenges of global energy security and climate change. The use of woody biomass, in particular, has received considerable attention for energy production. However, high production and transportation costs can be a barrier to woody biomass utilization in some regions. Identifying or developing cost effective production and transportation systems has become an economically critical issue to expand biomass utilization. We developed an optimization model to solve a truck scheduling problem for transporting four types of woody biomass in western Oregon. For an actual 50-load order size, the truck scheduling model produced significant improvements in solution values within 18 s. The average reductions in transportation cost and total travel time were 18% and 15%, respectively. âº Transportation costs can be a barrier to woody biomass utilization. âº Woody biomass truck scheduling optimization model was developed. âº Significant reductions (∼15%) in transport time and cost found. âº Solution times less than 20 s. âº Works with a range of truck configurations and biomass types.