One Person’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure: BRIMS, Alberta’s Next Bio-Resource Investment Tool

In early 2012, Alberta Innovates recognized that there was a lack of publicly available data to support the spatial planning of biomass developments in the province. Companies that are looking to advance their business solutions in the environment and natural resource sectors require solid baseline data to conduct, plan, analyze, and implement projects, which led Alberta Innovates to initiate a project that would assess data and identify information gaps that needed to be addressed in order to create a world-class data resource. In early 2012, Alberta Innovates engaged Silvacom to begin work on the Bio-Resource Information Management System (BRIMS).

When BRIMS is discussed, the first thing that comes to the mind is generally biomass, but it is important to remember that BRIMS is much more. Over the past year, there have been several upgrades to the BRIMS framework, the latest update involved adding supplementary spatially explicit Alberta biomass data, data regarding the constituents associated with biomass, and also further ecosystem service data.

Alberta Biomass Constituents

Constituents refer to the parts or components that make-up a particular item. In the case of BRIMS, biomass constituents are the properties and sub-components that may be of interest to prospective industries and that can help to bring the supply and demand chains closer together.

For example, quantifying all of the constituents that comprise a feedstock is vital to estimating fuel yields and material balance. For instance, someone who might potentially be interested in selling fertilizer produced from livestock manure may not only be interested in the total amounts of livestock manure that is available, but also the amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that is contained within that manure. Including constituents data as part of BRIMS will add an extra step towards helping companies develop a functional business strategy in the Alberta bio-economy.

The Addition of Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the benefits people receive from nature and biomass is one of several ecosystem services that feed into the BRIMS framework. Alberta Innovates and Silvacom have been working with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) to incorporate their ecosystem service modeling and mapping into the BRIMS framework. Ecosystem services that are being considered include:

  • Biomass
  • Climate Regulation (carbon sequestration)
  • Water Purification
  • Pollination
  • Genetic Diversity (biodiversity Intactness)
  • Recreation

BRIMS.ca – The Web Application That Will Help Enhance the Alberta Bio-Economy

Launching publicly in 2017, BRIMS.ca is a fully functional, easy-to-use web application that facilitates access to Alberta’s biomass and other ecosystem services inventories. It is set to enhance the bio-economy by making biomass and ecosystem service data available online in an easy-to-use interface for investors. With BRIMS.ca you will be able to discover information regarding biomass and other ecosystem services such as:

  • How much exists and where is it located;
  • What are the components and quality;
  • What costs, constraints & commitments are associated with its extraction; and
  • What environmental implications there are for managing these resources.

The BRIMS Data – Assisting In Investment Decisions

Some projects require detailed analysis and reporting. Silvacom provides professional services to help organizations understand the data, the biomass available, the ecosystem services present, and the options available to utilize both. For custom analysis, mapping, and detailed business case support using the BRIMS data contact Silvacom today.

For example, the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), a group of municipalities dedicated to sustainable eco-industrial development, leveraged BRIMS with the help of Silvacom to estimate the total potential biomass within six different areas of interest, covering over 9 million hectares. ‘The Pre-feasibility Scan of Potential Biomass Supply’ report is now available on the AIHA website.

What’s Next

BRIMS will continue to position Alberta as a global leader in the collation and provision of biomass and other ecosystem service data and will be used to encourage green investment in the province. BRIMS.ca will launch in the first quarter of 2017 and will be available for public use. In the meantime, please contact Silvacom to discuss your bio-resource data analysis and reporting needs.

For more information on previous phases of BRIMS, please read our earlier blog posts: