The state of biomethane plants in Italy: some considerations in view of a new decree

This article aims to examine the state of development of biomethane in Italy, object of 3 seminari on line, between October and November 2020, taking up some arguments made with Snam and Federmetano, on this occasion. More than two years after the second decree came into force and seven years after the first, the effects of which had been virtually nil.

Of course, all this time, the market has become fully aware of the reality of biomethane as an important and sustainable energy source, and there are many new economic entities that have entered this sector, whose importance has been fully enhanced by Snam, the largest national operator of the gas network.

With the second decree on biomethane, the legislator has treasured the lessons learned with the former, starting from the method. The decree was in fact born after six months of consultation with the operators concerned and has a coherent and well-articulated approach, concentrated, according to a shared logic, on the priority to the transport destination, in light of the delay in this sector, compared to other renewable energy sectors, and without forgetting the strength of the national industrial chain in natural gas transportation.

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FORSU and agricultural biomethane plants

In most European countries, there has always been a clear and strong separation in biogas / biomethane plants between those fueled by agricultural biomass and those fueled by waste, although, from the chemical point of view, the composition of the digestate in the fermenter has little difference between the two.  Agricultural biogas is produced, as well as a share of cultivated biomass (being phased out, in homage to the guidelines of the ILUC directive, concerning raw materials to be used for biofuels, and is concerned about the potential competition of energy crops against food crops), especially from agricultural by-products and waste .  

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Liquefied biomethane and agricultural plants

Much has been said about biomethane injected into the natural gas network, also in the webinars organized by Agroenergia. Certainly important players in the waste sector have traced the path for the development of this sector, not only in the center-north but also in the south, albeit so far to a limited extent compared to the need for use in automotive, but with good prospects in the short term and even more interesting if the reference decree of 2018 to encourage the conversion of agro-zootechnical plants.

The combination of biomethane produced by the fermentation of the organic fraction fits optimally into the circularity of the economy if this product is self-consumed by a fleet of methane vehicles used for separate collection or service or feeds a fleet of city buses: all means using CNG - gas compressed to more than 200 bar.

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From clean hydrogen to green ammonia. The ideological contradictions of the Green deal.

Re-publication of an article by Mario A. Rosé on Agronotizie

The trade association Hydrogen Europe is presented as a partnership between the European industries promoting technologies related to the use of hydrogen and the European Commission. This is a lobby, in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the term, or: "Group of people trying to influence lawmakers on a particular topic" (definition from the Oxford Dictionary ). We will not go into the merits if the interest of the association is that declared on the institutional web page - decarbonising the European economy- or the economic one of a group of multinational industries and spin-offs, or even worse, if it only serves to mask the hegemonic forces of the countries to which these companies belong under a "technical" appearance. In this article we will analyze what the consequences could be for our farms if the Italian government were to unconditionally follow the doctrine of "clean hydrogen" promoted by the Green Deal.

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The selection of the inoculum for the biogas plant – III Part

Easy Methane Lab

For each by-product its digestate!

Re-publication of an article by Mario A. Rosé on Agronotizie

In Part I of this article we have explained how an anaerobic digestion system works by comparing it with a “breeding of bacteria”. For the proper functioning of a biogas plant, its manager must know how to choose the inoculum according to the by-products with which the digester will be fed, just as a breeder chooses the breed to breed according to the business purpose, for example dairy or beef cattle. On the sidelines of the verification of methanogenic activity (SMA) – explained in Part II of this article – it is important to verify the ability of the inoculum to degrade complex organic matrices, such as cellulose, proteins and fats.

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How to select the inoculum for the biogas plant – Part II

BRS bioprocess control

The specific methanogenic activity (High school): realization and interpretation of the test results.

Re-publication of an article by Mario A. Rosé on Agronotizie

In Part I of this article we have illustrated how the biological activity of an inoculum is measured by introducing a certain amount of reference substrate into a test reactor and verifying that for each gram of COD (Chemical oxygen demand) are produced at least 350 Ncm3 of methane.

Let's analyze in this Part II of article le peculiarities of the test of Specific Methanogenic Activity (High school).

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How to select the inoculum for the biogas plant – Part I

AMPTS LIGHT

The specific methanogenic activity (High school): a very useful test but still to be normalized. Re-publication of an article by Mario A. Rosé on Agronotizie

“I often say that when you canto measure what you are talking about, and express it in numbers, thensai something of it; but if you can'tmeasure it, if you can't express it in numbers, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory; it can be the beginning of knowledge, but he will not have allowed you, in your mind, to advance in the progress ofscience, whatever the discipline”.
  William Thomson, The Barons of Kelvin (Lesson on “Electrical units of measurement”, 3 May 1883)

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The biological self-management of the biogas plant

eudiometer

Re-publication of an article by Mario A. Rosé on Agronotizie

Optimally manage a biogas plant it means becoming a "breeder of bacteria".
Like farm animals, i battery they do their best if they are kept in conditions that are optimal for them, it is therefore essential to monitor the various aspects that affect the functioning of the entire anaerobic system. It is known to all that the different manufacturers and some independent workshops, offer biological care service.
Typically all of these services have a weakness: the results are not provided in real time. Moreover, the analyzes provided, generally they only concern the dynamics of the anaerobic degradation process, but not the verification of the biomass quality – silage or by-products that are – with which the system is powered.

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Biomass hydrogen and Green Deal: It is possible to circumvent the Laws of Thermodynamics with an EC directive?

Re-publication of an article by Mario A. Rosé on Agronotizie.

L’European Green Deal (Italian text in This Page), strongly supported by the Von der Leyen administration, is the manifesto that the European political class proposes as a recipe for:

“... build a Europe in which there will be no local pollution, nor loss of biodiversity, nor global impact on the climate, nor energy poverty, businesses will be competitive, the just and prosperous society, and no one will be left behind”.

Read with a critical spirit, purely technical and devoid of ideological bias, the document looks more like a utopian wish list than a guideline, because there is a lack of concrete actions to achieve the set objectives. The content includes several claims that are not supported by any evidence, For example:
“The rapid decrease in the cost of renewable energy, combined with a better definition of support policies, has already reduced the impact of renewable energy on household energy bills” (sic).

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