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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Zahra Vazifehkoorabbasloo, Information and Systems Engineering

Applications of Equilibrium Modeling and Game Theory in Biomass Supply Chain Management

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 (all day)

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Thesis Office



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


The increasing attention towards renewable energies as solutions to environmental problems and future energy security has made biomass-based energy an attractive option. Biomass energy not only reduces dependence on fossil fuels but also helps mitigate environmental impacts. Effective biomass supply chain management is essential for bioenergy production, covering the entire process from feedstock harvesting to energy conversion facilities. Despite its advantages, biomass-based energy faces challenges such as low energy density, seasonal availability, and variable costs. Moreover, inefficient interactions and conflicting interests among supply chain participants hinder its development.

To address these challenges, efficient decision-making structures and coordination among supply chain entities are crucial. This PhD thesis focuses on coordination in biomass supply chains using game theoretical tools, which are well-suited for addressing conflicting objectives. The research encompasses three main attempts:

  1. Evaluation of the impact of power distribution on supply chain efficiency through game theoretic modeling, considering various leadership schemes.
  2. Assessment of the role of government incentives using game theoretic analysis to determine the most effective approach for incentivizing biomass development.
  3. Design of game theoretic contract approaches for coordinating biomass supply chains while considering environmental impacts, including revenue sharing and quantity discounts.

Non-cooperative approaches, particularly Stackelberg game and equilibrium models, are emphasized within the game theoretic framework. A case study of northern Canadian communities is proposed to validate the feasibility of replacing diesel with bioenergy for heat and electricity consumption.

Preliminary work on modeling supply chains with different leaders using Stackelberg games has shown promising results, demonstrating the dominant role of communities in supply chain efficiency. The outcomes of this research have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Sustainable Cities and Society and Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. Additionally, a coordinated approach involving quantity discounts and revenue sharing has been proposed to evaluate the economic and environmental impact of bioenergy development. This approach has shown potential for improved economic performance and significant reductions in environmental impact. By employing game theory and coordination strategies, this thesis contributes to the understanding and optimization of biomass supply chains, promoting sustainable energy systems and addressing the challenges faced in the bioenergy sector.

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