Multi-Criterion Decision-Making Analysis for Sustainable Bio-Fuel Supply Chain

Multi-Criterion Decision-Making Analysis for Sustainable Bio-Fuel Supply Chain

Thangaraja J. (VIT University, India), Vijayakumar M. (National Institute of Technology Warangal, India) and Yatharth Gupta (VIT University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5424-0.ch011

Abstract

Present estimates indicate India's bio-fuel demand as 0.5 billion gallons in 2012 which will grow to 6.8 billion gallons by 2022. While fossil fuel science and technology is well established, the scientific understanding and technological implications of biofuels are not clearly laid out. In recent years, a large number of assessments have been conducted to assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of biofuels. However, contradicting results were noted in the published articles. The current chapter attempts to understand the importance of triple bottom line (TBL) aspects for the life cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA) over the conventional life cycle analysis (LCA) of biofuels-based supply chain. Along with energy and environmental indicators, LCSA also evaluates the economic and social factors. Hence, a statistical assessment with multi-criterion decision-making (MCDM) analysis has been implemented to highlight and achieve coherence in conducting the sustainability analysis of biofuels supply chain.
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Introduction

The majority of fossil fuel, viz. petrol or diesel is consumed by the transportation sector. The present estimates indicate that the demand for fossil fuel is increasing significantly. This rapid increase has adversely affected the environment through greenhouse effect and global warming. In order to meet the growing demand for energy, there is a need for a sustainable alternative fuel. Biofuels have emerged as a promising option to displace the fossil fuel consumption. Extensive research, with respect to the biofuel production, property characterization, engine performance and emission studies are conducted and their potential as alternative fuels have been assessed (Talebian-Kiakalaieh, Amin, & Mazaheri, 2013; Stumboarg Wong, & Hogan, 1996; Thangaraja Anand, & Mehta, 2016; Sarin, 2012; Ramos, Fernández, Casas, Rodríguez, & Pérez, 2009; Rajkumar & Thangaraja, 2016; Thangaraja & Pramod, 2015; Thangaraja, Anand, & Mehta, 2014). However, considering the Indian scenario, it is important to access the life cycle sustainability analysis of biofuels to make them as a viable option in near future.

A plethora of literature is available regarding the sustainability analysis of biofuels. These literatures include field research, optimization analysis and impact assessments on social aspects of biofuels. An investigation was carried out to understand the benefits and limitation of the biofuels industry in order to achieve sustainable fuels (Jidon & Naoko, 2010). A framework was also developed for evaluating the biodiesel sustainability from vegetable oils (Mio, Posocco, Laurini, Pricl, & Fermeglia, 2017). A study about the sustainability of biofuels through the supply chain technique and to understand the future perspective and sustainability of biofuels for the U.S. energy portfolio (Jennifer & Bruce, 2016) was conducted. The integration of the notion of production cost ratios and life cycle energy efficiency have been carried out for the sustainable assessment of biofuels (Menghsan & Walter, 2016). Further studies were conducted to study the new trends which have been directed towards the enhancement of production of biofuels and analyzed them on the basis of their sustainable energy production.

Selection of the most optimized alternative for the sustainability of biofuels can be considered as a complex multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) problem and demands an extensive evaluation process. MCDM involves selection of best-suited option from the set of alternatives, each of which is analyzed against multiple criteria. Previously there was study aimed at identifying the critical success for promoting sustainable development of biofuel industry in China using multi-criteria decision making. The multi-criteria decision-based methodology which integrates the key factors involved in the transport system along with the sustainability issues and also showcased a case study based on Spain for the impact assessment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in comparison to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and diesel oil as transportation fuels. The systems to support policy formation for sustainable biofuels production based on multi-criteria analysis was done in this field.

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