Sustainable biomass power plant location in the Italian Emilia-Romagna region

   page       BibTeX_logo.png   
Massimiliano Cattafi, Marco Gavanelli, Michela Milano, Paolo Cagnoli
ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology 2(4), pages 1–19
July 2011

Biomass power plants are very promising for reducing carbon oxides emissions, because they provide energy with a carbon-neutral process. Biomass comes from trees and vegetables, so they provide a renewable type of energy. However, biomass plants location, along with their provisioning basins, are heavily regulated by economical aspects, often without careful consideration of their environmental footprint. For example, some Italian biomass plants import from overseas palm-tree oil that is economically convenient. However, the energy consumed for the oil transportation is definitely greater than the energy produced by the palm-tree oil burning. In this way biomass power plants turn out to be environmentally inefficient, even if they produce renewable energy.

We propose an Integer Linear Programming approach for defining the energy and cost-efficient biomass plant location along with the corresponding provisioning basin. In addition, the model enables to evaluate existing plants and their energy and cost efficiency. Our study is based on real data gathered in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Finally, this optimization tool is just a small part of a wider perspective that is aimed to define decision support tools for the improvement of regional planning and its precise strategic environmental assessment.

keywordsComputational sustainability, facility location