Plant powered with agricultural biomass to produce biogas, with which to feed a cogenerator for the production of thermal and electrical energy.
The Aureli Mario company for about 50 years has been cultivating large carrot surfaces in the Fucino area with its ever-expanding crop.
Driven by the innovative propensity together with the optimization of the agronomic rotation in the field with the adoption of dedicated crops and willing to reduce its energy dependence from the outside, the company has chosen to adopt the circular economy practice also for secondary products of carrots not edible, also to provide its own contribution to the production of renewable energy.
In 2010 the company adopted an impressive biomass energy plant from renewable sources, creating a plant for the production of electricity and thermal energy recovery. Moreover, the organic digested material is a valid natural fertilizer for crops. The plant is powered by the by-products of the company and is integrated with dedicated crops used for agronomic rotation. The electricity produced makes the company 100% independent, while the heat recovery reduces the need for thermal energy necessary for production processes by 25%. The final digestate, being an excellent soil improver, reduces the consumption of farm fertilizers by 50%. The water used for the various processes, purified, is reused to irrigate the farm land and the organic material obtained from the treatment goes to the anaerobic digestion, also producing biogas. The water obtained from the evaporation of carrot juice or other vegetables is also re-used in steam boilers.
The plant was built using only company’s funds
Evidence of success
The plant now allows to have 100% of the electricity and 25% of the heating needed for the transformation processes of the company, allowing, in addition, to reduce the contribution of 50% purchased fertilizers. A wise agronomic rotation of the land, thanks to the dedicated crops, the use of waste and the production of energy to be used directly in the company are the concrete proof of the success of this practice.
The biggest challenge was and still is the bureaucratic one. The new technologies and the possibilities of exploiting them fully are still little known and in some cases unjustifiedly opposed. It is necessary to let people better know and understand what the positive potential of these technologies
Potential for learning or transfer
The good practice of the production of renewable energy, successfully achieved by the plant activated in Ortucchio with the use of dedicated productions and non-edible residues of the processing of the carrot, can be applied both in the same territory and in other regional and extra-regional environments, load of similar production cycles.
Moreover, with the by-products of different crops such as grapevine, olive and fruit trees, that is with the wood and the branches of the annual pruning, as well as with the urban green waste, it is possible to hoard them to feed biomass plants, mainly oriented to the production of thermal energy, for example through district heating networks.
The main obstacles to overcome are above all those of a certain resistance of the public opinion, rightly always worried by the possible polluting emissions and not inclined to accept the risks, although minimal given the modern technology that allows to abate these emissions enormously