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Open AccessArticle

Spatial Analysis of Biomass Resources within a Socio-Ecologically Heterogeneous Region: Identifying Opportunities for a Mixed Feedstock Stream

Department of Geography, Penn State Institutes for Energy and the Environment, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Department of Geography, School of Policy Studies, Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 209-232;
Received: 4 January 2014 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 29 January 2014 / Published: 25 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
PDF [1076 KB, uploaded 25 February 2014]


Local bioenergy will play a crucial role in national and regional sustainable energy strategies. Effective siting and feedstock procurement strategies are critical to the development and implementation of bioenergy systems. This paper aims to improve spatial decision-support in this domain by shifting focus from homogenous (forestry or agricultural) regions toward heterogeneous regions—i.e., areas with a presence of both forestry and agricultural activities; in this case, eastern Ontario, Canada. Multiple land-cover and resource map series are integrated in order to produce a spatially distributed GIS-based model of resource availability. These data are soft-linked with spreadsheet-based linear models in order to estimate and compare the quantity and supply-cost of the full range of non-food bioenergy feedstock available to a prospective developer, and to assess the merits of a mixed feedstock stream relative to a homogenous feedstock stream. The method is applied to estimate bioenergy production potentials and biomass supply-cost curves for a number of cities in the study region. Comparisons of biomass catchment areas; supply-cost curves; resource density maps; and resource flow charts demonstrate considerable strategic and operational advantages to locating a facility within the region’s “transition zone” between forestry and agricultural activities. Existing and emerging bioenergy technologies that are feedstock agnostic and therefore capable of accepting a mixed-feedstock stream are reviewed with emphasis on “intermediates” such as wood pellets; biogas; and bio-oils, as well as bio-industrial clusters. View Full-Text
Keywords: GIS; bioenergy; biofuel; supply-cost; Ontario; siting GIS; bioenergy; biofuel; supply-cost; Ontario; siting

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Calvert, K.; Mabee, W. Spatial Analysis of Biomass Resources within a Socio-Ecologically Heterogeneous Region: Identifying Opportunities for a Mixed Feedstock Stream. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3, 209-232.

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