Geographical Information Systems for Biomass Estimate and the Search for Renewable Energy Sources

Geographical Information Systems for Biomass Estimate and the Search for Renewable Energy Sources

Giuseppe Borruso (University of Trieste, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/jaeis.2012010103
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In this paper the attention is drawn on GIS as a support for energy choices for a sustainable development. Given the growing pressures for respecting the environment on one side and on limited non-renewable energy sources, mainly oil-based, on the other side, there is a need to evaluate different alternative sources for integrating those already available and to foster energy saving. This paper is focused on biomasses, and particularly on those originating from cattle and swine breeding. An example is given of localization and quantification of energy potential deriving from animal breeding in Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (North Eastern Italy), focusing on cattle and swine ones, from the analysis of local units and animals registered at municipality level. In this stage of the research, the GIS environment is used to analyse statistical data at municipality level and for computing the theoretical output in energy terms, hypothesising different scenarios.
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2. Renewable Energy Sources: Biomasses

Renewable energy sources represent high potentials in reducing the dependency from fossil fuels. Such sources can be inserted into different ‘energy families’, as the solar one - thermal and photovoltaic - hydroelectric, wind farms, geothermic and from biomasses. These latter are characterized by being organic elements from vegetal and animal sources not used by humans neither as food nor as raw industrial materials (Favretto & Santoprete, 1994), although sometimes also maize is used as organic matter to produce biogas, even if maize could also be used as food.

Vegetal biomasses represent the most refined means of collection of solar energy as vegetal plants by means of chlorophyll photosynthesis convert the energy radiated by Sun into chemical energy with high potential. In such sense biomasses are considered as renewable and long-lasting resources, limited only by the respect of their regeneration pace. Furthermore biomasses are considered neutral in terms of the CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

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