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A GIS based assessment of bioenergy potential in England within existing energy systems

Citation Thomas, A.R.C., Bond, A.J. and Hiscock, K.M. A GIS based assessment of bioenergy potential in England within existing energy systems. 2013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2013.01.010.
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Author(s) Thomas, A.R.C., Bond, A.J. and Hiscock, K.M.
Opus Title Biomass and Bioenergy
Pages 107-121
Volume 55
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2013.01.010

This paper presents an analysis of the spatial supply and demand relationships for biomass energy potential for England, using Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping techniques. Due to energy use and cost of biomass feedstock transportation, the spatial relationship between potential supply and demand is crucial to efficient usage of this distributed feedstock. Previous studies have identified potential for biomass generation at individual sites, according to local factors dictating viable transport distances and costs. The research presented here necessarily takes a more generalised approach, to allow national scale assessment of capability to meet fixed location demands, and quantify theoretical potential generation under relevant scenarios. The approach is illustrated for England, although techniques are applicable elsewhere when suitable data are available.

Mappingfor England indicates that of the 2,521,996ha viable for cultivation ofMiscanthus, 1,998,435ha are within 25km of the identified potential end uses of feedstock, and 2,409,541ha are within 40km. Potential generation exceeds the 2020 UK biomass generation target of 259PJ, whichever radius is applied. However, predictions assumeMiscanthuscultivation at all appropriate sites, and no policy interventions to limit transport distance.

Results from national scale analysis may be useful in informing government decisions, for example to identify impacts on total generation potential of incentives affecting decisions on allocation of overlap feedstock. Variation in GHG balance and environmental impacts between cultivation sites creates spatial variation in benefits of bioenergy, which should be taken into account inaddition to the spatial relationship between supply and demand.