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New online platform maps Australia’s biomass availability

A new online platform called AREMI identifies the location, availability, and volume of biomass, and has been flagged as a "pivotal tool" to boost investment in Australia’s renewable energy sector. Businesses and investors now have access to a data-rich platform that maps out Australia’s biomass hotspots.

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A screenshot of the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) platform.

The Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) platform collates and consolidates data currently housed by multiple organisations such as Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and AgriFutures Australia’s Australian Biomass and Bioenergy Assessment (ABBA) project and maps available biomass resources across Australia.

The mapping platform was developed by CSIRO’s Data61, Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technology Research and Development being developed to share mapping data and information with the renewable energy industry.

The AU$3.27 million project is managed by AgriFutures Australia, the trading name for Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC), a statutory authority of the Federal Government and received AU$2.19 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

AgriFutures Australia ABBA Project Manager, Julie Bird, said that AREMI creates better links between potential biomass suppliers, such as farmers and foresters, and end users.

The platform is supporting businesses to get more value from organic material, often destined for a landfill, by improving information, access and quality, said Bird.

The AREMI platform helps researchers, policymakers and bioenergy project investors make decisions on renewable energy development opportunities. In Queensland (QLD), Southern Oil used the AREMI data to identify 12 primary processing sites for biomass, which was then transported to their bioenergy refinery in Gladstone.

Examples such as these show enthusiasm for establishing a bioenergy industry and how collation of new datasets can support new bioenergy initiatives. A lack of reliable information on biomass availability poses a roadblock to the development of bioenergy products across Australia. The AREMI platform offers a free, interactive tool to map biomass resources which can be used to develop regional solutions, she said.

AgriFutures Australia’s involvement in biomass and bioenergy aims to raise awareness in rural industries about opportunities to engage in the bioenergy supply chain as feedstock producers.

According to Bird, ABBA is an important project helping to identify biomass locations and success stories which will be fundamental to shaping Australia’s future energy economy and driving investment in renewables innovation.

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