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Transport cost estimation model of the agroforestry biomass in a small-scale energy chain
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1  Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CREA)


The delivery of biomass products from the production place to the point of final use is of fundamental importance within the constitution of energy chains based on the biomass use as renewable energy source. Transport can be one of the most economically expensive operations of the entire biomass energy production process, which limits choices in this sector, often inhibiting any expansive trends. An accurate geographic identification of the locations of the different biomass sources, can be used to estimate the potential available biomass for energy transformation in a small-scale supply chain. This tool can be useful also to develop a map of the economic sustainability of biomass sources in a specific territorial area. This work reports the results of a study focused on assessing the sustainability of transport costs calculated in relation to different types of biomass sources present in proximity of a biomass power plant of a small-scale energy supply chain, located in central Italy. The study geographically located and assessed residual biomass through remote sensing and photo-interpretation. The estimation of the residual biomass present on the territory was carried out on each land use separately. The elements involved in the calculation of the transport cost concerned the identification of the area under study on the basis on a maximum travel time of 60 minutes. The transport costs model considered the available options of the road network practicability, in relation to the characteristics and morphology of the territory. The proposed analysis allows to highlight and visualize on the map the areas of the territory characterized by greater economic sustainability in terms of lower transport costs (including load a unload) of residual agroforestry biomass from the collection point to the final point identified with the biomass power plant of the small-scale energy supply chain considered.

Keywords: energy chain; transport cost; residual biomass; travel time
Comments on this paper
Rodolfo Picchio
Session Chair comment
Dear Authors,

your topic represents an issue of great interest in this period. Beyond several aspects influencing the biomass for renewable energy production, transport operation cost is often a critical issue and sometimes a limiting factor. This study focused on the economic aspects of energy transformation process, from the collection point to the power plant. The remote-sensing approach made possible to extend the integrated analysis on multiple local patches, in order to develop a map of the economical sustainability of specific areas concerning residual agroforestry biomass sources, promoting the cost-effectiveness of small-scale supply chains. I congratulate with you and I hope to read further developments of this research soon.

Session Chair

Rodolfo Picchio
Giulio Sperandio
Dear Professor,
We are grateful to you and the organizers of the online Conference for giving us the opportunity to participate and make our research known. Thank you for encouraging the further development of the research that the authors intend to carry out by expanding the sustainability analysis of the recovery of residual biomass in a context of small-scale energy supply chain not only from an economic but also an environmental point of view.
Thank you very much.
Best regards
Giulio Sperandio