Optimizing the location of biomass energy facilities by integrating Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

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Woo, Heesung ORCID: 0000-0002-7649-0953, Acuna, Mauricio ORCID: 0000-0003-1409-5699, Moroni, Martin ORCID: 0000-0003-1199-8788, Taskhiri, Mohammad Sadegh ORCID: 0000-0002-9871-361X and Turner, Paul ORCID: 0000-0003-4504-2338 (2018) Optimizing the location of biomass energy facilities by integrating Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Forests, 9 (10). ISSN 1999-4907


Internationally forest biomass is considered to be a valuable renewable energy feedstock. However, utilization of forest harvesting residues is challenging because they are highly varied, generally of low quality and usually widely distributed across timber harvesting sites. Factors related to the collection, processing and transport impose constraints on the economic viability of residue utilization operations and impact their supply from dispersed feedstock locations. To optimize decision-making about suitable locations for biomass energy plants intending to use forest residues, it is essential to factor in these supply chain considerations. This study conducted in Tasmania, Australia presents an investigation into the integration of Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and Geographical Information systems (GIS) to identify optimal locations for prospective biomass power plants. The amount of forest harvesting biomass residues was estimated based on a non-industrial private native resource model in Tasmania (NIPNF). The integration of MCA and a GIS model, including a supply chain cost analysis, allowed the identification and analysis of optimal candidate locations that balanced economic, environmental, and social criteria within the biomass supply. The study results confirm that resource availability, land use and supply chain cost data can be integrated and mapped using GIS to facilitate the determination of different sustainable criteria weightings, and to ultimately generate optimal candidate locations for biomass energy plants. It is anticipated that this paper will make a contribution to current scientific knowledge by presenting innovative approaches for the sustainable utilization of forest harvest residues as a resource for the generation of bioenergy in Tasmania.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/45078
DOI 10.3390/f9100585
Official URL https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/9/10/585
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3007 Forestry sciences
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3802 Econometrics
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4609 Information systems
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords biomass energy, renewable energy, decision making processes, timber harvesting sites, forestry
Citations in Scopus 40 - View on Scopus
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