Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Models and Algorithms to Solve a Reliable and Congested Biomass Supply Chain Network Designing Problem under Uncertainty
by Poudel, Sushil Raj, Ph.D., Mississippi State University, 2017, 189; 10267643
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation studies two important problems in the field of biomass supply chain network. In the first part of the dissertation, we study the pre-disaster planning problem that seeks to strengthen the links between the multi-modal facilities of a biomass supply chain network. A mixed-integer nonlinear programming model is developed to determine the optimal locations for multi-modal facilities and bio-refineries, offer suggestions on reliability improvement at vulnerable links, production at bio-refineries, and make transportation decision under both normal and disrupted scenarios. The aim is to assist investors in determining which links’ reliability can be improved under specific budget limitations so that the bio-fuel supply chain network can prevent possible losses when transportation links are disrupted because of natural disasters. We used states Mississippi and Alabama as a testing ground for our model. As part of numerical experimentation, some realistic hurricane scenarios are presented to determine the potential impact that pre-investing may have on improving the bio-mass supply chain network’s reliability on vulnerable transportation links considering limited budget availability.

In the second part of the dissertation, we study the impact of feedstock supply uncertainty on the design and management of an inbound biomass co-firing supply chain network. A two-stage stochastic mixed integer linear programming model is developed to determine the optimal use of multi-modal facilities, biomass storage and processing plants, and shipment routes for delivering biomass to coal plants under feedstock supply uncertainty while considering congestion into account. To represent a more realistic case, we generated a scenario tree based on the prediction errors obtained from historical and forecasted feedstock supply availability. We linearized the nonlinear problem and solved with high quality and in a time efficient manner by using a hybrid decomposition algorithm that connects a Constraint generation algorithm with Sample average approximation algorithm and enhanced Progressive hedging algorithm. We used states Mississippi and Alabama as a testing ground for our study and conducted thorough computational experiments to test our model and to draw managerial insights.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Marufuzzaman, Mohammad, Bian, Linkan
Commitee: Burch V, Reuben F., Medal, Hugh R., Zhang, Li
School: Mississippi State University
Department: Industrial and Systems Engineering
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: DAI-B 78/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Industrial engineering
Keywords: Biomass supply chain network, Congestion prevention, Disaster management, Network reliability, Progressive hedging algorithm, Sample average approximation
Publication Number: 10267643
ISBN: 9781369706185
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