Canadian Biomass Magazine

NREL releases Web-based BioEnergy Atlas

September 30, 2010
By U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Sept. 30, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Atlas is now available.

Sept. 30, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(NREL) has released the BioEnergy Atlas, an Internet portal that provides
access to two bioenergy analysis and mapping tools. The BioPower and BioFuels
tools allow users to layer related bioenergy data onto a single map to gather
information on biomass feedstocks and biopower and biofuels potential,
production, and distribution. BioEnergy Atlas is an improvement over current
tools in that it enables more timely and accurate analysis of the potential of
given sites to be successful biomass producers.

BioEnergy Atlas users will include government and state agencies, universities, the
petroleum and pipeline industries, research institutions, vehicle
manufacturers, investment firms, GIS companies, private citizens, and media.
Technology providers and biofuels project developers can easily view areas with
the highest concentration of available feedstocks and target those areas for
project development. The tool also highlights geographical areas where more
infrastructure is needed, which will help federal and state policy makers
identify areas for focus. The tool combines the geographic visualization of
regional resources and energy usage with high-level yield calculations to provide
first-level screening of project feasibility and state bioenergy potential.

Users can select and apply a multitude of geographic data layers, including a variety of
biomass feedstocks, existing biofuels, biopower and traditional power plants,
alternative and traditional fueling stations, and energy use statistics. The
BioPower updated functionalities include query, analysis, and state
view. The query function allows users to access data behind the map and to
select and download data from a selected region or single point on the map. The
analysis function offers common conversion factors that allow users to
determine the potential biopower or biofuels production for selected feedstocks
in a specific area. The state view function provides biofuels data from a
single state, including summaries of state energy use and fueling
infrastructure and resources. The state view function is available
currently in the BioFuels Atlas; a similar function specific to biopower data
will be available in the BioPower tool later in 2010.

NREL developed the BioEnergy Atlas with funding from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)’s Blue Skyways Collaborative and the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE)’s Biomass Program. The tools are built on the NREL OpenCarto
platform, a collaborative mapping and analysis architecture that hosts
applications on hydrogen, transportation, concentrated solar power, and now
biomass fuels and power. Data are provided by DOE, EPA, and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.


The BioEnergy Atlas is accessible at

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