An online tool for providing a view of raw materials and economic potential of biogas in Iowa has a new home on the Web at http://www.iowabiogasmodel.us/
The Iowa Biogas Assessment Model (IBAM) is an economic analysis tool integrated with a geographical information system (GIS). The tool is made for use by entrepreneurs, policy makers, and the general public.
The goal is to increase awareness of the availability of waste streams, of federal and state incentive programs, and of the economic value of biogas. Mark Mba Wright, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an affiliate of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State, led the university’s portion of the project. “What’s unique about our tool is that it combines mapping data with an economic spreadsheet that makes it very easy to not only capture the facility location but also to get a first approximation of what the cost of that facility might be,” he said.
Here’s how it works: the user picks a location on the map, and selects a collection radius. Based on that site and area, the system estimates the potential biogas resources of the type selected by the user, represented in cubic meters per year. The facility is then sized according to the biogas collected, and its capital and operating costs are estimated. The tool contains more than 20 layers of data for biogas resources, including agriculture residue, feedlots waste/manure, and human activity.
The data on which the system is built is all publicly available, although Wright said the developers added some missing data and combined data to adjust it to improve the estimate of biogas potential. The sources of the data include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, among others.
The tool was originally a collaboration between Iowa State University and EcoEngineers. It was funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
EcoEngineers is a renewable energy consulting firm, working to help build a clean energy economy on the backbone of the water-energy nexus. EcoEngineers’ in-depth technical and regulatory expertise serves a variety of clients, including producers of biofuels, fuel distributors, grid operators, municipalities, refiners and end-users. EcoEngineers’ roster of services includes lifecycle carbon analysis and reduction, energy credit certification and transaction management, detailed program (RFS, LCFS, CFP, etc.) compliance management, etc. EcoEngineers’ renewable energy consulting, auditing and compliance management expertise helps clients optimize operations and protect their clean fuel investment. Wherever called to serve, EcoEngineers is committed to clean water, clean air, and clean energy.