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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3504682, 9 pages
Research Article

Assessing the Impact of a Vinasse Pilot Plant Scale-Up on the Key Processes of the Ethanol Supply Chain

1Division of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Instituto Tecnológico de Orizaba, Avenida Oriente 9, 852 Colonia Emiliano Zapata, 94320 Orizaba, VER, Mexico
2Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Avenida del Charro, 450 Norte, Colonia Partido Romero, 32310 Ciudad Juárez, CHIH, Mexico

Received 21 May 2016; Accepted 17 July 2016

Academic Editor: Salvatore Cannella

Copyright © 2016 Rocio Ramos-Hernández et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the byproducts generated in the cane sugar production is molasses, which is used for ethanol distillation. However, one of the problems of distilleries is vinasse. Vinasse is highly water pollutant and is dumped untreated in lakes or rivers and damages the environment. The company FALA developed a pilot plant that uses vinasse to produce a type of livestock feed called MD60. In this paper, the impact of the pilot plant’s scale-up in the key processes of the company’s supply chain is analyzed. With the help of a sensitivity analysis, this study finds the values that would allow the company to improve its order fulfillment indicator and to increase profits, assuming an expected demand by the introduction of this new product into the market. The results show that (1) the pilot plant fulfills 32% of the orders, (2) according to the current vinasse storage capacity, it is possible to fulfill up to 77% of the orders by scaling up the pilot plant, (3) to satisfy 100% of the orders, it is necessary to use all the vinasse generated, and (4) the highest profit is reached by processing all the vinasse and by considering the upper sale price.