A GIS-based Approach to Evaluate Biomass Potential from Energy Crops at Regional Scale

Environmental Modelling and Software, 25 (6), p.702-711, Jun 2010

Fiorese, G. / Guariso, G.

“The aim of the paper is to propose a method to maximize energy production from arboreous and herbaceous dedicated crops given the characteristics of the local environment: geo-morphology, climate, natural heritage, current land use. The best energy crops available in the Italian panorama are identified and the problem of maximizing the bioenergy production over an entire regional area is formulated. Each cultivar is thus assigned to the suitable land accounting for sensitive parameters that characterize it and taking into account current land use. The assumption made here is that marginal land and set-asides can be converted to energy crops without altering current practices and cash crops’ production. The method is based on the integration of GIS data (spatially continuous) with data derived from the agricultural census (spatially discrete). We carry out the analysis for Emilia-Romagna, in Northern Italy. The sustainable growth of energy crops, with an optimized network of conversion facilities distributed in the territory, may significantly contribute to the local energy supply and to climate change mitigation.”