The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $3million in funding to support a national bioenergy database.

The funding will go towards the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) to undertake a comprehensive biomass for bioenergy assessment.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said the $6.2million project would uncover new opportunities and make it easier to develop biomass generation and biofuel projects in Australia.

“RIRDC will deliver a national database that brings together data on biomass resources across Australia, providing a clearer picture of where untapped sources of biomass are available,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“There is currently no central, national source of data to assist with planning of bioenergy projects and existing local data is incomplete.

“Australia’s growing bioenergy industry has cited this lack of reliable information as a significant roadblock to getting new projects off the ground.”

RIRDC will work with states and territories to collect data on the location, volumes and availability of biomass for inclusion on the ARENA-supported Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) platform.

AREMI is a centrally accessible repository for ARENA project information and shares mapping data and information with the renewable energy industry.

Mr Frischknecht said the new resource would build on existing work and assist project development and decision making.

“RIRDC will coordinate current efforts, as well as drawing on and updating existing info, to provide industry and researchers with an accurate estimate of bioenergy potential nationally,” Mr Frischknecht.

“The AREMI platform will enable RIRDC to geospatially map existing and projected biomass resource data alongside other parameters such as existing network and transport infrastructure, land use capability and demographic data.

“This will provide better linkages between biomass suppliers and end users and support local businesses to get more value from organic material destined for landfill, disposal or other low value uses.”

The first stage of the database is scheduled for release in late 2016.  

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