Bioenergy Mapping System


Introduction to the Bioenergy GIS


11th May 2011

The bioenergy geographic information system (B-GIS) is provided to assist organisations and individuals with an interest in bioenergy in Ireland.  It aims to collate, in one place, information on bioenergy in Ireland; display this information visually; and provide tools to enable analysis of the provided information.

To understand the different elements of the B-GIS and how to use it, please watch the video below.

How to use Bioenergy Maps video 

To enter the B-GIS, click here.


The rest of this page includes:




What is in it?

The B-GIS provides, in a structured and visual manner, the following:

  • Information
    • Resource information – forestry; energy crops; waste; agriculture;
    • Demand information – biomass boilers installed under Reheat; Greener Homes; some known industrial boilers.
    • Administrative information – boundaries; protected areas
    • On-line wiki – fully describes all aspects of the B-GIS
  • Standard mapping tools
    • Zoom in, out, to full extent of Ireland
    • Move around – pan, go to coordinates, go to county/townland
    • Measure – an area; a line
    • Current location
    • Print function
    • Layer opacity
    • Legend
  • Analysis
    • Distance to roads (to assist with supply chains)
    • Land suitability – for growing energy crops – by selected area or whole country
    • Existing production in selected area (energy crops, major cereal crops)
    • Calculation of expected delivered energy; cost of energy; carbon abatement for:
      • Existing production
      • Potential production (of energy crops)
    • Provision of the B-GIS would not have been possible without the valuable contributions of many organisations and individuals, including:
      • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
      • Forest Service
      • COFORD (and joint project with UCD)
      • Teagasc
      • Environmental Protection Agency
      • Ordnance Survey Ireland
      • Barry Caslin, Teagasc
      • David Dodd, EPA
      • Eugene Hendrick, COFORD
      • Christine Hutton, Rural Generation
      • Bill Madigan, Kilogen
      • Briain Smyth, Biotricity

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What can I do with it?

The bioenergy GIS can be used for many different projects, some of which are described here.


Assess local supply for a proposed bioenergy facility.

Both existing and potential supply can be assessed using the bioenergy GIS.  Forestry and waste information is provided on a county basis; energy crop and agricultural information on a field basis. 

To assess the energy crop potential (existing and potential), use the energy crop suitability tool.  There are a number of ways of utilising this – drawing a polygon, drawing a freeform circle, drawing a circle of preset radius, or on a county basis, which are detailed in the wiki.  What it means is that the energy that can be potentially delivered from energy crop plantations, or potential energy crop plantations within a set distance of the proposed facility can be determined.  This can help to provide confidence to financiers; investors; and decision makers when opting to select a bioenergy facility.  It can be used for the purposes of heating facilities, co-generation facilities, electricity generation facilities, and for potential biofuel facilities.

As an example, it was found that to provide sufficient material for a potential 7MW industrial facility in Ballaghadereen would require less than 2% of the land within25km of Ennis that is highly suitable for growing SRC Willow to be converted.  This demonstrates that supply chains can be very local for biomass facilities.


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Cluster supply or demand

By enabling visualisation of the location of biomass supply and biomass demand, suppliers and purchasers can seek to come together to form clusters of supply or demand and take advantage of improved supply chains, contracts, and decreased risks. 


Locate opportunities

Opportunities for either supply or demand development can be identified using the bioenergy GIS. These opportunities arise from a mismatch between supply and demand. Visually assessing these mismatches point to the location of opportunity.



The bioenergy GIS enables researchers to answer questions such as:

  • What is existing biomass demand for county X?
  • What is the existing biomass supply for county X?
  • What is the potential for biomass supply development in county X?
  • Where are the optimal locations for developing clusters of demand and supply?

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By enabling assessment of biomass resources and demand within an administrative area, planning maps can be better informed.  In particular, the energy crop suitability tool can point to areas most suitable for development of these resources and provide evidence based support for planning decisions – particularly in identifying areas for development of biomass facilities, and land that may be more suitable for retaining for agricultural purposes than development of built facilities.


Farm level analysis

The B-GIS enables visualisation of individual fields and farms, particularly with the satellite layer. Once the farm/field is displayed, the usual tools can be applied – basic measurement tools, and also the crop suitability tool. Note, however, that some of the information that feeds the crop suitability tool is at a much broader scale than field level – e.g. soils and climate. Hence information on crop suitability, at a farm level, should be taken as indicative only. The farm owner should conduct detailed tests on their own land to assess crop potential.


Publications and Presentations

A number of publications and presentations have arisen either using, or referring to the B-GIS. Some of these are linked to below:




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