BeWhere is a techno-economic model that determines the optimal size and geographic distribution of bioenergy production plants.
The economy of the supply chain is calculated with respect to the economy of scale of the corresponding bio-energy production plant
BeWhere was developed at IIASA and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, from 2006 onwards. In 2010 it was expanded by IIASA from the local and national levels to the EU27 level.
The model now works for wood waste, crop residues, lignocellulosic industrial waste and three different biofuel technologies (second-generation ethanol, methanol, and Fischer-Tropsch diesel). IIASA has implemented the Austrian forestry wood market at a very detailed level in BeWhere. This now functions as a key methodology at the aggregated EU27 level.
First-generation biofuels from sugar, starch, and vegetable oil did not achieve the greenhouse gas emission reductions hoped for. Some also had the added disadvantage of competing for land with food production. Growing "food" like corn crops to produce ethanol for vehicles has been heavily criticized. Second-generation biofuels using non-food crops or sources such as forestry residues, municipal waste, algae, biomass grown on non-arable land, or certified wood, are a more sustainable source of biofuel production. However, very large production plants are required to make production costs competitive.
Reaching economies of scale for biofuels can cause logistical problems. Biomass feedstock is often located in the countryside, while production plants are frequently close to ports to facilitate transport by water. The transportation of feedstock from the countryside to the production plant can cause heavy traffic, producing adverse social and environmental effects.
This is why the optimal geographical location and size of the production plant with respect to feedstock and demand location needs to be determined, prior to plant investment and construction, and this can be done using BeWhere.
Last edited: 31 August 2012
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