Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

A GIS methodology for optimal location of a wood-fired power plant: Quantification of available woodfuel, supply chain costs and GHG emissions

Sanchez-Garcia, S.; Athanassiadis, D.; Martinez-Alonso, C.; Tolosana, E.; Majada, J.; Canga, E.


The objective of this study was to establish a Geographical Information System (GIS) based methodology to analyze the viability and optimal location of a new hypothetical wood-fired power plant in a specific region. The available woodfuel of Eucalyptus globulus suitable for energy use was calculated based on a WISDOM database (Woodfuel Integrated Supply/Demand Overview Mapping) which takes into account physical and legal accessibility of the resource. Available woodfuel is defined as the material remaining on the ground (crown and bark) after harvesting Eucalyptus stems, discounting the volume required to meet the current energy demand.Various spatial analyses were performed using ArcGIS 10.2.1, particularly the Network Analyst tool, to identify the optimized location of the new power plant. Then, considering the most common biomass harvesting system in a specified region, the costs and GHG emissions of the supply chain for this demand point were calculated. Total costs were calculated using machine productivity data and minimized distance calculation and GHG emissions by the amount of CO(2)e emitted, based on the Life Cycle Analysis methodology using productivity and fuel consumption data. A sensitivity analysis was also carried out to test the influence of moisture content and transport distances on the total cost and the GHG emissions.The results show that bundling was the highest cost (63.67% of total costs), followed by trucking (26.80%) and forwarding (9.53%). The GHG emissions for the whole system were 9.17 Kg CO(2)e/MWh, with the trucking being the greatest contributor, and bundling the second. The energy balance ratio (energy required as a percentage of energy produced by the system) was slightly over 2%, demonstrating high efficiency.The methodology presented here will help policy makers to evaluate possible locations for any future wood-fired power plants in terms of the lowest economic costs of supplying woodfuel and its environmental impact. This study extends on the scope of prior research, providing a realistic and detailed methodology for planning and logistics decision making in relation to the dynamization and sustain ability of woodfuel for energy use. (C) 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Woodfuel; WISDOM; Accessibility; GIS analysis; Harvesting costs; Life cycle assessment

Published in

Journal of Cleaner Production
2017, Volume: 157, pages: 201-212

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)