Cost-Benefit Analysis Using GIS: an Application to the Forest Bioenergy sector

Grilli, Gianluca (2017) Cost-Benefit Analysis Using GIS: an Application to the Forest Bioenergy sector. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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This doctoral thesis introduces a novel methodology to optimize the use of forest biomass for energy purposes at regional scale, by means of GIS applications and economic tools. The procedure calculates, at first, the energy potential of a given forested area, as well as a reasonable location and dimension of a district heating power plant, based on local energy availability and energy demand. In a second step, it runs a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to assess the economic feasibility of the plant. The CBA considers financial costs and benefit, social benefits and environmental costs, estimated by means of market and non-market valuation techniques. Financial, social and environmental flows are combined to produce four different scenarios, for which the net present value is calculated. Afterwards, a probabilistic sensitivity analysis is carried out, to assess the stability of the results when different assumptions of input values are included. Such procedure have been tested in an Italian case study, the valleys of Gesso and Vermenagna in the Piedmont region. These alpine valleys are interesting, because forests are at present under-utilized. At the same time, the presence of the Alpi Maritime Natural Park provides constraints to the use of natural resources; for these reasons, a carefull planning of the activities is fundamental to assure sustainability. The GIS methodology has been developed in GRASS GIS and automatized in python, while econometric computations were carried out in R. This procedure may facilitate energy planning and increase the efficiency of the forest-timber-energy chain.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
PhD Cycle:29
Subjects:Area 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie > AGR/01 ECONOMIA ED ESTIMO RURALE
Area 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie
Area 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie > AGR/05 ASSESTAMENTO FORESTALE E SELVICOLTURA
Uncontrolled Keywords:GIS; cost-benefit analysis; forestry; forest biomass
Funders:Eurac research
Repository Staff approval on:26 Apr 2017 09:27

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