An application of the vehicle routing problem to biomass transportation


An application of the vehicle routing problem to biomass transportation

Pruning is a cultural operation linked to Mediterranean agricultural management and it offers through its wastes the chance to procure biofuels. Currently, these residues are disposed of by burning or shredding, not being exploited because of several technical difficulties in extraction, handling and transport as well as because of the lack of accurate data on the quantity and suitability of these residues. However, recent work has reported methods of supplying new biomass detection models and concentration locations. These make it possible to tackle reliable collection plans as a part of the decision support system in a biomass supply management information system. This paper addresses the biomass collection problem, as an application of the classical vehicle routing problem, where minimum cost routes have to be calculated for a fleet of several agricultural vehicles (chippers, trucks, tipper trailers and tractors). A hybrid approach based on genetic algorithms and local search methods is presented to solve a real case study. Results show a significant improvement in the operational efficiency obtained by applying such methods that come from the industrial engineering domain.


  • Bioenergy;
  • Biomass supply;
  • Logistics;
  • Optimisation;
  • Genetic algorithms

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