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Master of Agribusiness

A Transportation and Location Optimization Model: Minimizing Total Cost of Oilseed Crushing Facilities in Kansas

Nicole (Luna) Meiners, Cedar Rapids, Iowa., defended her thesis, “A Transportation and Location Optimization Model: Minimizing Total Cost of Oilseed Crushing Facilities in Kansas”. She is a Customer Quality Specialist for the Cargill Texturizing Solutions. Meiners was a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.

Markets for alternative fuels are of great interest to both public and private companies, as well as government agencies looking to differentiate fuel sources to achieve improved and sustainable operational efficiencies. This creates a growing need for innovation and an increased supply of biofuel feedstocks for bioenergy options such as bio-jet fuel.

“Biofuels are intended to either replace or supplement traditional fossil fuels. My thesis aims to assess the logistical feasibility of producing oilseed bio feedstocks and the practicality of building new crush facilities specifically for bio-jet fuel production in Kansas,” Meiners said.

Meiners developed an optimization model that determined even average yields per acre and modest adoption rates by farmers willing to incorporate rapeseed into their crop rotations could provide enough feedstock to supply one or two crushing facilities, depending on a variety of additional factors, including bio-jet fuel demand in Kansas. Sensitivity analysis was performed on key model factors and determined that the most influential factor on both size and number of proposed crushing facilities was the market demand for bio-jet fuel.

Dr. Jason Bergtold, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Meiners’ thesis advisor, said, “The research done by Mrs. Meiners will help to develop markets for third generation biofuels to advance the biofuel industry.”  

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/32627.