New online atlas to move bioenergy fuels from source to commodity

Dec. 21, 2010

The market for bioenergy just got a boost from a collaborative effort to make existing biomass availability information widely available.

Launched this week, the Wisconsin Bioenergy Information and Outreach Network provides a comprehensive source of information for entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers and policymakers to find resources and technologies to develop and grow the bioenergy sector in Wisconsin. The tool is a collaborative knowledge project developed by UW-Madison Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility, UW-Extension, the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative and the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

The atlas supplements national data sets with data unique to Wisconsin. The tool will help utilities and municipalities assess forest biomass supply potential, give entrepreneurs access to supply and technology networks, and provide policymakers with statewide information on bioenergy and environmental resources.

"We work with small-scale bioenergy producers who are continually searching for substrate sources or markets as well as networking opportunities," says Robert Brylski, director of Green Diesel Wisconsin Foundation. "This tool is extremely valuable to the small-scale bioenergy industry, and will be a great boost to the growing local energy production portfolio in Wisconsin."

While Wisconsin relies on out-of-state fossil fuels for energy, potential bioenergy fuel sources are abundant in the state. Harnessing the powerful stores of energy in biomass for electricity, heating and liquid transportation fuels would give the state a competitive advantage to manage energy costs when fossil fuel prices spike.

"In Wisconsin we have all of the natural resources we need to develop a thriving bioenergy market, including the knowledge and ingenuity to pull it together," says Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative Director Troy Runge. "This portal will help market participants and policymakers do just that."

If funded, planned future phases of the project would add an online marketplace for suppliers, aggregators, buyers and consultants to conduct business. Access the tool online by clicking here.