Information Management in Solid Wood Fuel Order-Supply Process

Information Management in Solid Wood Fuel Order-Supply Process

Pasi Eino Haverinen (Aalto University, Espoo, Finland), Abel Terefe (Aalto University, Espoo, Finland), Weiming Wu (Aalto University, Espoo, Finland) and Ari Serkkola (Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJGC.2015010102
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The validity and accuracy of information and its fast distribution is significant in effective wood fuel procurement. The authors' objectives were i) to define the solid wood fuel procurement process of regional power plants, ii) to define a conceptual data model for the wood fuel order-supply process and iii) to create an application for managing the process. They did an interview study for representatives of 38 power plants, their fuel suppliers and subcontractors about wood fuel procurement. They studied further six plants and one major supplier with focus group interviews. It was found that a lot of data is available, but it's not utilized efficiently. The authors used a methodology of designing information systems architecture and use-case derived methodology to determine the conceptual data model for the order-supply process and to develop an application to control it. Altogether, the hypothesis of the significant and wide-ranging role of information in the order-supply process was confirmed. The study gives a basis to further develop the systems to manage this information.
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1. Introduction

Monitoring and estimating forest biomass resources, their supply and usage in power plants are the key elements in energy production from wood. Their significance has increased as the use of wood fuel in producing renewable energy for societies has grown. EU’s climate and energy targets for the year 2020 include that of all the energy used 20% should originate from renewable resources (European Parliament and Council 2009). In many countries forest biomass has an important role in achieving this target (Europolitics, 2012; Hakkila, 2006; Routa et al., 2013; Röser, 2011; Wolfsmayr, 2013). Interest for wood based liquid and gaseous fuels and their production facilities is strong and increasing (Jenkins, 2014), but at present use in solid form as wood chips is dominant (Routa et al., 2013).

Efficient order-supply process is crucial for power plants using wood chips (Kanzian et al., 2013; Shabani et al., 2013). An important factor in this is the management of information. Supply chain and usage of wood fuel become more effective with real time information of its heating value and timely pick-ups of energy wood piles: the efficiency of the incineration process increases and the transportations become more profitable when haulages of wood material with high moisture content are avoided (Acuna, 2012; Röser, 2011). Managing information about available solid wood fuel resources, their accessibility and quality, processing of fuel and its incineration is also required.

Advanced measuring technology, different web-based services and geographic positioning systems provide plenty of valuable data for the procurement process (Hultnäs et al., 2012; Ranta, 2005; Zambelli et al., 2012). However, the utilization of this data and its processing into useful form of information is often not very effective, especially among regional power plants.

In the previous studies there have been several approaches in the field of forest biomass resource management. The following perspectives have been proposed in the literature:

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