Forest biomass-to-biofuel factory location problem with multiple objectives considering environmental uncertainties and social enterprises

Chun-Cheng Lin, Jia Rong Kang, Guan Lin Huang, Wan Yu Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Forest biomass energy enjoys merit of large production, renewability, and clean combustion. However, most related works focused on only the objective of minimization of cost or pollution, but seldom on the social aspect. Social enterprise provides business models that cope with social or environmental problems, e.g., offering employment opportunities in disadvantaged areas. Therefore, this work considers social enterprises and environmental uncertainties in a forest biomass-to-biofuel factory location problem with multiple objectives, which determines whether to open forest biomass-to-biofuel factories at their potential locations to meet the energy demand and other practical constraints. Aside from minimization of cost and carbon emissions, the concerned problem additionally considers the objective of maximizing the job offers provided by opening factories from the social enterprise aspect. Additionally, based on the fuzzy theory, this problem includes the following environmental uncertainties: uncertain number of inventory days, uncertain job offers per unit of surplus factory scale, uncertain biomass production amount, and uncertain biofuel demand due to the price fluctuation of fossil fuels. This work employs the GIS to determine candidate locations of acquiring forest biomass and opening factories, and then solves the problem by fuzzy multi-objective linear programming. Through simulation, we observe the conflict among objectives, compare the differences between the proposed method and previous methods, and analyze the key factors that affect practical implementation. Simulation results show that when the total biofuel demand exceeds 200 million liters per year, the proposed method provides 16% more job offers than the previous method that focused on only cost minimization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121327
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2020


  • Biomass-to-biofuel factory
  • Facility location problem
  • Fuzzy multi-objective linear programming
  • Fuzzy theory
  • Social enterprise
  • Sustainability


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