System maps out best bio-energy sites in Alta.

Called BRIMS, the application tells investors how much agriculture supply there is to help decision making


Companies looking to invest in biofuels or other bio-resources can now more easily look for places to set up in Alberta, thanks to a new online resource.

The application, called the Bio-Resource Information Management System, or BRIMS for short, was developed by Alberta Innovates, an arms-length government agency, and Silvacom, a consulting and software company that deals with land management. The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and Agriculture Financial Services Corp. also contributed data to BRIMS.

“Investors want to know where they should put a facility and how much supply of products is around it,” said Chris Lang, vice-president of business development with Silvacom.

“You need to know these questions when setting up a new industry and this application provides those answers.”

For example, if investors wanted to open a facility that deals with bioresources, the application would tell them how much straw, canola or wood fibres are produced in an area. If there’s enough of those products being produced, then they might feel confident enough to invest there.

“They could see how much of something is being produced, as well as see that there might be a forestry mill nearby for residue,” Lang said. “They could also see if there’s a waste disposal site nearby and tap into that opportunity for their green energy site.”

As well, the application addresses potential environmental issues. It gives investors a sense of which development sites would have negative impacts on water or wildlife.

“There’s value in providing clean drinking water, carbon sequestration and pollination,” said John Peters, the director of energy and environment with Silvacom. “When you change land-use, you also change other values, and they usually have impacts on things like water and carbon sequestration.”

The developers behind BRIMS hope they can improve the application as they gather responses.

“We’ll take in all that feedback and input from users, and we plan to keep on improving the data” said Lang.

People interested in BRIMS can visit the site at BRIMS.ca.

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