Evaluation of Michigan Biomass Transportation Systems

We want to understand the capability of Michigan's transportation system in delivering woody material to energy-producing facilities.

Research question

This project provides an assessment of current road, rail and marine transportation infrastructure in forest regions of Michigan. In addition to mapping the physical locations of transportation infrastructure, we identify the suitable types of road vehicles, rail cars and marine vessels for biomass transportation, and their availability in Michigan. The project also investigates operational constraints and costs of each transport mode. Finally, we identify potential synergies between modes for efficient use of a multi-modal transportation network.



An extensive literature review of biomass transportation and related research has been conducted to identify past work in the field and key technologies. The review concentrates specifically on the USA and Scandinavian countries. The project develops a GIS database of available road, rail and port infrastructure to assist in the modeling of transportation network. An effort is made to incorporate most relevant infrastructure information, such as seasonal highway weight restrictions, location, capacity and condition of rail landings and yards and condition of docks and access roads. The operational constraints and available equipment analysis are conducted by interviewing and contacting Michigan transportation providers. Finally, transportation cost analysis was developed for selected case studies to identify the transportation alternatives and their tradeoffs.


Progress and Results

Final reports for this project have been completed.


Final Project Report:

Evaluation of Michigan Biomass Transportation Systems
Evaluation of Michigan Biomass Transportation Systems: Appendix