Optimization of biofuels production via a water–energy–food nexus framework Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. Biofuels have emerged as an attractive renewable alternative to satisfy the global energy demands. The large-scale production of biofuels requires the installation of biorefining systems that involve strategic decisions for the logistics and operation in the production of biofuels such as location, feedstock type(s), production capacities and interactions with the surrounding environment. This work proposes an optimization framework for the design of a biorefining system while accounting for the interactions with the surrounding watershed using a material flow analysis technique through the design of an efficient supply chain for the production and distribution of feedstocks, grains and biofuels considering the water and land requirements. The proposed model deals with the uncertainty involved in the project (e.g., prices of feedstocks and products, biofuel demands and precipitation in the watershed). A mixed-integer linear programming model is proposed to simultaneously consider the economic and environmental objectives. A case study located in Mexico is solved for a set of scenarios with the purpose of illustrating the capabilities of the proposed optimization approach. The results show strong trade-offs between the considered objectives and the impact of uncertainties.

author list (cited authors)

  • López-Díaz, D. C., Lira-Barragán, L. F., Rubio-Castro, E., Serna-González, M., El-Halwagi, M. M., & Ponce-Ortega, J. M.

citation count

  • 22

publication date

  • July 2017