Discrete-event simulation of biomass preprocessing 

INL’s discrete-event simulation models identify bottlenecks in biomass preprocessing as a function of the physical and chemical characteristics of the biomass.

Variability in biomass moisture, ash, and physical and mechanical properties has been shown to greatly impact operability of the pioneer biorefineries. The efficiency of preprocessing equipment is generally considered for single pieces of equipment, without considering its interactions with the other equipment in the system. However, a failure, breakdown or reduction of biomass flow in a piece of preprocessing equipment impacts every downstream piece of equipment.

With discrete-event simulation, each operation has defined starting and ending points, the flow of material though the system is a defined path, and the flow rate of material (or throughput) is determined by the interaction of the equipment and the feedstock characteristics.