Modeling work plan logistics for biomass recovery operations using spatial analysis
Industrial timberland managers and biomass contractors are faced with a variety of challenges when implementing biomass recovery operations in mountainous terrain. Recent studies found that a centralized grinding supply chain that utilizes modified dump trucks to pre-haul loose slash and a decoupled chip truck transportation system maximizes the utilization rate of machines and recovery of forest residues. System logistics resulted in low costs of collection and transportation as well as improved access to available biomass. This study used a geospatial analysis approach to identify the optimal locations for centralized grinding sites and trailer landings based on the spatial distribution of biomass, existing road networks, and terrain characteristics. Network analyst was then used to model the supply chain from the harvest unit to the energy facility. The resulting models provide explicit details on developing an operational work plan that is economically and operationally successful in large-scale biomass recovery operations. Through the use of spatial and network analysis, this study demonstrates how operational managers can develop a comprehensive work plan that provides a framework for centralized woody biomass harvesting operations. This was achieved by identifying the locations of landings, the amount and distribution of available biomass, modeling the forest freight supply chain, and the estimating the cost of transportation. The resulting models identified the location and amount of available biomass within 94 harvest units, 95 possible centralized landing locations, 15 trailer landing locations, and transportation routes and cost from the stump to the energy plant.