In New Zealand, residues from the harvest of plantation forests have been identified as the largest potential source of biomass for energy production to replace fossil fuels. Barriers to the increased use of biomass include uncertainty of supply as local plantations may not have an even age distribution, and the cost of delivery as forests are frequently remote from energy users. A GIS-based model was developed to predict supply curves of forest biomass material for a site or group of sites, both now and in the future. The GIS biomass supply model was used to assist the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority's development of a national target for biomass use for industrial heat production, to determine potential forest residue volumes for industrial heat and their delivery costs for 19 processing plants of the dairy company Fonterra, and towards investigating options for electricity generation from local resources for small, remote settlements. The results of these applications are presented and potential further developments to the model are outlined.
Journal of Spatial Science, 2012, Vol 57, Issue 2, p. 213-232