Early design-stage biorefinery process selection
Journal article, 2012
A methodology for early design-stage evaluation of biorefinery processes that uses multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) panels was developed with the goal of screening out less promising options. Panel members were asked to rate the relative importance of a set of evaluation criteria for biorefinery process implementation at a pulp and paper mill. Three different panels were conducted, each with this same objective. This report compares and assesses the results from the panels. Two of the MCDM panels were comprised of biorefinery specialists of similar backgrounds from government and academia, and the third panel consisted of pulp and paper industry decision makers. In general, consensus was high between all three panels, and especially between the two biorefinery specialist panels; however, certain differences were noted with the industry panel. For three out of eight criteria, these differences were attributable to a difference in the perspective of the forest industry decision makers and biorefinery specialists. For example, for the return on investment criteria, the specialist panels gave a significantly higher importance to current information from technology suppliers because it provides an important short-term perspective. In contrast, the forest industry decision makers thought that information about a particular technology should be critiqued and adjusted based on a systematic assessment of likely future process performance. Differences between the other criteria were attributed to differing interpretations of the criteria.