Alterra and CLM, supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency, jointly launched the tool BioESoil that allows farmers and advisors to assess the impacts of bioenergy production on soil quality.

With a worldwide rising demand for biomass, uncontrolled production may cause a serious deterioration of soil quality. However, so far no methodology existed to assess the impact of biomass production on soil quality.

Calculated assessment
The tool BioESoil calculates the impact of various variants of bioenergy production systems on soil quality, such as anaerobic digestion, bioethanol, vegetable oils, gasification and combustion. The tool indicates where nutrients and organic matter may be preserved or reintroduced to maintain acceptable soil fertility and organic matter levels. The tool has a user-friendly interface and suits both large and small scale bioenergy users, producers and consultants. It is accompanied by a manual that explains the contents of the tool and provides background information.

Available for download
The tool has been developed and tested in consultation with NGOs, consultancy and certification companies and representatives of biomass producers. This new tool is now available for download on www.BioESoil.org (English) and http://www.BioESoil.nl(Dutch).

Importance of soil quality
Soil quality plays an essential role in the production of biomass: sufficient nutrients in the soil are needed to maintain production levels. This tool can help bio-energy producers, consultants and certification organisations to determine the impact of bio-energy production on soil fertility and soil organic matter. The tool can therefore be used in bioenergy certification.