News Release: NREL Releases BioEnergy Atlas – a Comprehensive Biomass Mapping Application

Sept. 28, 2010 | By Heather Lammers | Contact media relations

BioEnergy Atlas, a Web portal that provides access to two bioenergy analysis and mapping tools, was released today by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The visualization screening tools, BioPower and BioFuels Atlas, allow users to layer related bioenergy data onto a single map to gather information on biomass feedstocks, biopower and biofuels potential, production and distribution. BioEnergy Atlas is an improvement over current tools in that it enables more timely and accurate analysis of the potential of given sites to be successful biomass producers.

BioEnergy Atlas users will include government and state agencies, universities, the petroleum and pipeline industries, research institutions, vehicle manufacturers, investment firms, GIS companies, private citizens, and media. Technology providers and biofuels project developers can easily view areas with the highest concentration of available feedstocks and target those areas for project development. The tool also highlights geographical areas where more infrastructure is needed, which helps federal and state policymakers identify areas for focus. The tool combines the geographic visualization of regional resources and energy usage with high-level yield calculations to provide first-level screening of project feasibility and state bioenergy potential.

The BioEnergy Atlas is accessible at

Users of the tools can select and apply a multitude of geographic data layers including a variety of biomass feedstocks, existing biofuels, biopower and traditional power plants, alternative and traditional fueling stations and energy use statistics. The BioPower updated functionalities include query, analysis and state view.  The query function allows users to access data behind the map and to select and download data from a selected region or single point on the map. The analysis function offers common conversion factors that allow users to determine the potential biopower or biofuels production for selected feedstocks in a specific area. The state view function provides biofuels data from a single state including summaries of state energy use and fueling infrastructure and resources.  The state view function is available in the BioFuels Atlas today, and a similar function, specific to biopower data, will be available in the BioPower tool later this year.

NREL developed the BioEnergy Atlas with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Blue Skyways Collaborative and DOE’s Biomass Program. The tools are built on the NREL OpenCarto platform, a collaborative mapping and analysis architecture that hosts applications on hydrogen, transportation, concentrated solar power, and now biomass fuels and power.  Data are provided by DOE, EPA, and the U.S.D.A. 

NREL is DOE’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. 


Visit NREL online at