Mathematical modeling of production and biorefinery of energy crops

Lijun Wang, Samuel A. Agyemang, Hossein Amini, Abolghasem Shahbazi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Mathematical models have been widely used to simulate all aspects of bioenergy production systems including the growth kinetics of energy crops, conversion processes, production economics, supply logistics and environmental impacts. There is limited commercial experience to produce and process energy crops at a large scale around the world. Those models can provide powerful tools to design a bioenergy system and evaluate its technical feasibility, economics and environmental impacts. A crop growth model can be used to estimate the yields of energy crops in a region under different growth conditions. A geographical information system (GIS) model can be used to maximize the energy production of energy crops by indentifying suitable land to grow them based on their specific characteristics and the current use of the land. A combination of process models and reaction kinetics provides advanced computational tools for the design and optimization of various biomass conversion processes. The biomass supply chain consists of multiple harvesting, storage, pre-processing and transport options. Mathematical models have been developed to analyze and optimize complex biomass supply systems. A life cycle assessment (LCA) model can be used to compare the environmental impacts of different biomass production and conversion technologies. Various mathematical models applied to bioenergy systems were reviewed. The challenges in mathematical modeling of bioenergy systems which include the difficulty in generalizing a bioenergy system, the lack of physical and chemical properties of various biomass, the complexity of multi-scale processes and the validation of the models were then discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-544
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Biomass supply logistics
  • Biorefinery
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Crop growth kinetics
  • Geographical information system
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Mathematical modeling


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