SEAI Mapping Systems Wiki

Bioenergy Map

To view the Bioenergy GIS resource, click here

Welcome to the bioenergy GIS for Ireland, hosted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). We hope that this tool will become invaluable in the development of a strong and vibrant bioenergy industry in Ireland. To this end, we have made available a large number of datasets, many with a spatial aspect, that pertain to bioenergy. These cover (not exhaustively) existing bioenergy resources and existing bioenergy demand, as well as the road network. The bioenergy crop tool provides added value to these data sets:

  1. The number of hectares of land that is highly suitable, moderately suitable or of low suitability for Miscanthus; Oilseed Rape; Reed Canary Grass and SRC Willow within a selected area.
  2. The possible energy and economic value of potentially grown energy crops in the selected area. The calculation tool provided has default values that can be downloaded and modified by the user. It must be used with caution as the soils information data, used in developing this model, has relatively poor resolution.
  3. The bioenergy potential, from existing crops, in the selected area of land.
    • The number of hectares of energy crops and major cereals under production at the last update of the agricultural dataset (currently 2008) is given in a table.
    • The table includes supply chain elements in which costs and volume losses can be inputted. These values can be modified by the user once downloaded.
    • A value for the bioenergy output, and the cost per toe or kWh of this output is calculated based on these inputted values.
    • The tool does not take any account of competing uses or regional variations, and does rely heavily on user inputs into the table (very rough default values are provided).

The identify tool provides some valuable summary data. Use the tool to draw a polygon on the map, for which information is returned on, amongst other things, the number of greener homes boilers installed in the area; the energy crop tool data for the area; the soils and forestry information for the area; and information on waste (at county level). The development of the bioenergy GIS would not have been possible without very substantial contributions and assistance from a number of people and organisations. It is not possible to list them all here; however we are particularly indebted to:

  • Barry Caslin and Teagasc
  • David Dodd and the EPA
  • Jack Creaner and DAFF
  • Frank Barrett and the Forest Service
  • Eugene Hendrick of COFORD

For further general information on the bioenergy GIS, please click on the links below:

  • The disclaimer includes information on how to reference the use of any information supplied within the bioenergy GIS
  • Find links to relevant publications
  • General information on Miscanthus and its cultivation
  • General information on Oilseed Rape and its cultivation
  • General information on Reed Canary Grass and its cultivation
  • General information on SRC Willow and its cultivation

What is a GIS? A geographic information system is a visual presentation of data. The data, which will contain some reference to location, is displayed on a map. This is a very powerful tool to quickly identify patterns, and to observe trends, strengths, weaknesses and find opportunities. What is Bioenergy? Bioenergy is the conversion of captured sunlight in the form of plant and animal material into useful energy such as heat, electricity or transport. It is a renewable energy and as such helps to reduce carbon emissions. Some of the more commonly used material used to generate bioenergy include:

  • Forestry residues
  • Purpose grown energy crops (e.g. short rotation coppice willow)
  • Agricultural residues (e.g. animal slurries; straw)
  • Biodegradable fractions of municipal solid waste. These materials are converted into energy directly (using combustion), or indirectly through formation of methane or transport fuels which are then used to provide energy.

Why a Bioenergy GIS? Bioenergy generally occurs at a local scale. Many of the questions asked involve location, e.g.:

  • Where are the resources?
  • Where is the demand?
  • How can we move the resources to the demand?As questions involve location, it makes sense to display the information geographically.

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