January 2007

New Web Site Identifies Biomass Resources in Florida

Though there has been a great deal of national attention in recent months about the uses of ethanol crops for transportation fuel, Florida has now taken its first steps to begin to become a player in this area by the creation of a biomass Web site.

Screen capture of the biomass Web site
A screen shot of the new biomass Web site.

Funding early last year from the Florida Energy Office allowed FSEC to work with Florida International University on creating a unique Web site giving a visual assessment of the state’s biomass resources.  “This Web site is a key component of a biomass plan for Florida,” explained FSEC’s David Block, Director Emeritus, who has followed the project’s results and who had worked with FIU on a previous biomass project.   He noted that “Biomass for Florida is an absolute must and the key is to first identify the locations of the resource. Everyone has heard about E-85 and other biomass-related transportation fuels, but if we’re going to produce fuels like this in Florida, we need to find out what the potential really is.  This Web site is going to answer questions like this for us.”

Former FSEC staff member Jennifer Szaro directed the biomass effort, which included the web site and a detailed literature review and creation of material resource maps for bioenergy and biofuels with draft resource data on such feedstocks as wastewater treatment facilities, yard waste collection facilities, sugar farms and processing facilities and additional citrus waste.

All of this can be found on the site at http://hcetgis.hcet.fiu.edu/Website/FL_Biomass.  FSEC directed FIU’s work in creating a highly pictorial overview of all the biomass resources in Florida, allowing visitors to the site to click on locations to see the different types available, ranging from crop products to landfills.  “This is clearly a first step in considering the development of ethanol plants in Florida,” Block explained.  “The fuel offers great potential and the Web site information will help decision-makers plan for future transportation fuels.”

The site is still being developed and new features, including a users guide, are planned for the future.