Heuristic algorithms for siting alternative-fuel stations using the Flow-Refueling Location Model

Seow Lim, Michael Kuby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


This paper presents three heuristic algorithms that solve for the optimal locations for refueling stations for alternative-fuels, such as hydrogen, ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, or electricity. The Flow-Refueling Location Model (FRLM) locates refueling stations to maximize the flow that can be refueled with a given number of facilities. The FRLM uses path-based demands, and because of the limitations imposed by the driving range of vehicles, longer paths require combinations of more than one station to refuel round-trip travel. A mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) version of the model has been formulated and published and could be used to obtain an optimal solution. However, because of the need for combinations of stations to satisfy demands, a realistic problem with a moderate size network and a reasonable number of candidate sites would be impractical to generate and solve with MILP methods. In this research, heuristic algorithms-specifically the greedy-adding, greedy-adding with substitution and genetic algorithm-are developed and applied to solve the FRLM problem. These algorithms are shown to be effective and efficient in solving complex FRLM problems. For case study purposes, the heuristic algorithms are applied to locate hydrogen-refueling stations in the state of Florida.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010


  • Combinatorial optimization
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Heuristics
  • Location
  • OR in energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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