login name
ITA english

Project BIOENERGY 2016


Power System Research


Giovanna Pinuccia Martignon

Activities carried out during the reporting period have led to advancements towards the final products planned by the Bioenergia Project, as summarised in the Report with respect to the four fields of the bioenergy sector to which the Project has chosen to turn its attention: from biogas to biomethane; biomass combustion ; biorefining of agro-industrial residues (rice husk) to ernergy carrier (bio-H2) and bio-products; waste to- energy.

Activities carried out during the reporting period have led to advancements towards final products planned by the Bioenergia Project, as summarised in Report with respect to the four fields of the bioenergy sector to which the Project has chosen to turn its attention: from biogas to biomethane; biomass combustion; ernergy carriers (bio-H2) and bio-products from an agro-industrial residue(rice husk); waste to- energy.

From biogas to biomethane. With respect to both the solid sorbent based on DEA an based on the arginine, a performance not responding to expectations resulted from activites carried out to optimize and validate the RSE BioMEtUp technology for the upgrading of biogas to biomethane. Conversely, positive results dereived from experimental tests with the sorbent zeolite of which an validation in real conditions started on the BioMEtUp pilot plant. The support of RSE to national standardization activities in the field of biomethane and its end-uses continued. By collaborating with the technical board Biometahne (promoted by the Lombardia Region to promote the national biogas-biomethane chain) RSE contributed to the join drafting of a guideline on that matter (“Biometano: a che punto siamo. Le regole, la filiera, le barriere”), finally published in the RSE Colloquia series.

To the upgrading of biogas to biometahno directly refers the research activity “Analysis, optimization and system integration of a novel technology for biogas upgrading into biomethane via CO2 removal” carried out by Ing, F. Capra within a Doctorate promoted by Politecnico of Milan and related to the Bioenergy Project; having reached now its conclusion, it examines, through specific modeling simulations, performances, advantages / disadvantages, even the economic profile, of different upgrading solutions, including that base on solid sorbent (DEA) developed by RSE. The similarly correlated European project ASC2-Amine-impregnated Alumina Solid Sorbent for CO2 Capture in which RSE is involved, has continued its works during the referrnce period towards an on field validation of a specific pilot plant that use the same solid sorbent technology (DEA in this case) applied for the upgrading the biogas in the BioMEtup pilot plant, but for a different purpose: to remove CO2 from emissions of large combustion plants.

Biomass combustion, An innovative furnace for the combustion of corn stalks round bales was designed in collaboration with stakeholder (Soc. OFRA) which will be tested next year and validated as the thermic source of a cogeneration plant (consists on the coupling of a superheated water boiler with a 110 kWel ORC turbo-cogenerator). RSE was mainly involved in the designe of an innovative feeding system, able (ie. through : granulometric reduction, production, collection and transportation into the combustion chamber using a special supervisory and control system in order to guarantee the continuity of the process and the correct dosing of the biomass) to solve problems experimentally observed in the previous year as one of the main factor affecting the final response of the co-generative plant (which are fundamental requirements for good management of the cogeneration unit. The development of a thermal-fluid model started to in the reference year, to represent the superheated water recovery boiler of the ORC plant that will be use to validate the combustion solution) and to obtain indications about the required exchange surfaces and obtainable efficiency. A short overview on the availability of other agricultural residues (lignocellulosic-based residues from the management of vineyards) and their potential for energy recovery, in combustion plants too, was produced. On the matter of emission of pollutants from combustion plants, the contribute of RSE to the work of national and international standardization Bodies continued. With respect to the pollutant formaldehyde (emissions of biogas combustion plants), a first experimental campaign was carried out by analyzing gaseous sample collected at an operating plant with two methods (spectrophotometry (EPA 323) and HPLC (VDI 3862-2). A good degree of relationship among methods responses was observed. A further experimental campaign will take place next year. A raw draft designe and a technical-economic feasibility study of a combined treatment system for combustion gases (joint elimination of particulate matter and Nox) was produced, showing it a good potential for application in small-medium sized biomass plants. Next year it will realized and and installed at a stakeholder plants to perform a field validation campaign. Finally, the project promoted by SNPA/ISPRA - and to which RSE collaborates - aimed to apply an intercomparison procedure for the assessment of the quality of the measures taken to emissions, was successfully completed.

Ernergy carriers (bio-H2) and bio-products from an agro-industrial residue(rice husk). The enrichment of the selected residual biomass rice husk, this activity is based on, follows the biorefinery concept that includes the extraction of a bioactive compound (γ-orizanol), the production of a bioenergy carries (bio-H2) and, last but not least, the potential use of the final residue (digested sludge). Experimental activities were conducted in collaboration with two Italian University (Udine and Milan) to assess the recovery of γ-orizanol from the rice husk, by applying a CO2 superctitical extraction method (an average yeald of about 500 mg/100 g s.s was obtained). And to define optimal conditions to produce Bio-H2 through a dark fermentation process, applied to the residue of a such extraction procedure or directly to the rice hus (a maximum yield of 3000 mLH2/L day was exerimentally obtained), mixing such residues with sludges from animal dejections (a positive effect on the quality of the digested sludge was observed, making it more suitable as soil fertilizer).

Waste to- energy. Datasets (waste production, MBT plants and SRF production, waste-to enery plants) predefined and partially compiled in the previous year have been filled with residual data already collected and with those now available for the year 2015, chosen as base year for both the final analysis of state and the scenarios that will be produced the next year. A larger set of indicators was introduced and applied to these raw data, to derive more detailed figures of the degree of use of the residual matter and the performance of plants directly (incinerations plants, co-incineration plants, power pkants,.. ) or indirectly (MBT plants producing SRF and other MSW derived fuels) involved in the energy recovery from waste. An update of their 2010-2015 trend of and an advancement towards the final state analysis (reference year: 2015) have been so produced. A Lyfe Cycle Costing study (to assess the economic impact) of the national chain “waste-MBT-SRF-energy” started in the reference period with the choice of methodology (an environmental LCC), case studies (MBT type plants among those in operation in Italy) and opening the search for specific plant data. It will be compelte during the next year. The same national chain will be explored for its envronmental impact too (an LCA study): on thi matter a survey of existing studies was produced in order to identify the most relevant aspects to be considered next year when performing the LCA study. A contribution to the progress of standardization in the field of SRF and their end-use in WtE plants was produced through the active role of RSE in national and international regulatory committees. By collaborating with international standardization Bodies and also with the task 36 of IEA Bioenergy, the Porject had the opportunity not only to disseminate its results but also to achieve a feedback for example on the current situation of a market, that of SRFs, already existing in Europe and Italy too, now of interest for other countries (i.e. some countries in the Asian area), but still having more than one aspect of inhomogeneity.