PROJECT OBJECTIVES AND STATE OF
utilization of biomass in distributed power plants,
both for heat generation and possibly for heat and power
co-generation, feeding district heating networks, represents
a priority action with respect to the objectives of
the European Community energy policy, in terms of reduction
of CO2 emissions, energy supply security, energy efficiency,
environmental improvement at local level in highly polluted
residential areas and social acceptability. Properly
selected projects may represent the least cost investment
towards these objectives.
The study aims to reduce the barriers relevant to knowledge
of the biomass market, diffusion of new technologies
and identification of effective investment opportunities
and intends to verify the financial sustainability of
the best projects and the possible requirement for public
The district of Brianza (Northern Italy) offers favorable
elements for a positive outcome and an important impact
of the Project, namely:
a) Large availability of residual and virgin biomass;
b) Technological know-how and experience in new technologies;
c) Intense industrialization and high population density,
associated with strong energy demand;
d) Favorable conditions for the installation of district
Scope of the Project is the technical configuration
of optimum models of energy conversion plants of virgin
biomass or selected residual biomass, based on viable
new technologies. The identification of local opportunities
shall search a proper equilibrium between the local
biomass production and the heat demand.
The work packages plan to:
the legal and regulating conditions for a thermal
utilization of biomass.
the availability of biomass, both virgin and residual,
at present not optimally exploited
the most interesting proven technologies of energy
three power plants models with different size and
operation conditions one as integration into the existing
district heating system of Monza and the other two
as new systems for selected heat users poles.
out a performance analysis and a technical, environmental
and economic evaluation of the three models and assess
their financial viability
the results of the study and conduct actions of investment
OBJECTIVES AND STATE OF THE ART
Project (No TREN/04/FP6EN/S07.30974/503177)
objective is the rational thermal utilization of biomass
in distributed power plants, both for heat generation
and possibly for heat and power co-generation, feeding
district heating networks.
These goals constitute very important aims of the European
Union and Italian energy policy, in terms of least cost
renewable energy exploitation, reduction of CO2 emissions,
energy supply security, social acceptability, energy
efficiency and environmental improvement at local level
in highly polluted residential areas.
study focuses on the district of Monza and Brianza,
a flat area of 363 km2 and a population of 730,000 people,
located just north of Milan, with strong population
density accompanied by pronounced environmental sensitivity,
which offers several local factors providing a favourable
round for a positive outcome and an important impact
of the Project, namely:
area is typically industrial, having 120,000 people
employed in the industry, out of which 12.5 % work
in the wood and furniture sector, that produces
residual, mainly contaminated biomass, with high
intense residential housing, combined with a rather
extreme climate that causes high demand for winter
heating and for summer air conditioning, offers
numerous homogeneous and delimited areas exhibiting
favourable parameters for the implementation of
district heating systems.
the wide availability of residual and virgin biomass,
the state of the art indicates only marginal energy
utilization of the biomass:
virgin biomass is partly utilized as raw material for
different products (compost, particle boards), but is
largely abandoned in the field or disposed of in an
overall management of the residual contaminated biomass
produced by the wood and furniture sectors is not optimized
and in some cases it implies problems in terms of both
high disposal costs and of environmental impact in the
area, especially as refers to small and medium industries.
residual biomass is provided by the general productive
activities, the packing to be eliminated, the collection
and selection of urban waste, the waste of pulpers and
the dried sludge from sewage purification. The available
biomass needs to be classified and selected and properly
utilized for energy production.
demand for buildings and water heating is fed by expensive
fossil fuel, distillate oil and natural gas. The integration
with biomass sources can improve the efficiency and
economy of the production and stimulate the complete
expansion of the system.
most favourable conditions can be found in the town
of Monza (120,000 inhabitants), characterized by an
intensive housing density, where AGAM Spa, the municipal
utility for energy, has already installed a medium size
DH system, which in the year 2001 required a peak heat
supply of 14 MWt. The plan foresees an extension of
the DH up to a maximum peak demand of about 60 MWt.
Heat is obtained from natural gas through CHP plants
equipped with gas motor and gas boilers. The presently
installed capacity is of 23 MWt and 3 MWe.
are 50 municipalities, out of which 10 (besides Monza)
have a population included between 20,000 and 40,000,
where heat is produced by fossil fuel through conventional
and polluting boilers. These areas are in principle
qualified for several new distributed district heating
systems, fed by biomass.
order to increase the production of energy from biomass,
the Project aims to reduce the barriers related with
lack of knowledge of the biomass market and of new technologies,
and with lack of identification and adequate promotion
of specific investment opportunities.
It intends to verify the financial sustainability of
the best projects and the possible requirement for public
support towards implementation of European Energy Policy.
Ingea Consulting S.r.l.
Rete di Punti Energia
European Biomass Association
= Coordinator CR = Contractor
The environmental benefits of the use of renewable resources,
in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions (Kyoto objective)
and of increased security of energy supply, are at the
base of the energetic policy of the European Union and
of Italy. An environmental benefit at local level, related
to improvement of the air quality, is due to take place
as a result of the elimination of conventional heating
boilers, of the selection of environment-friendly technologies
and of the particular attention in the decisions relevant
to plants location.
Moreover, these projects are due to be very significant
in energetic, social and cost effectiveness terms, inasmuch
as they represent rational utilizations of renewable
resources, at present scattered, and are associated
with much higher efficiency (>80%) than the plants
of simple electric power generation (about 25%) having
relatively large size (>10 MWe), which are generally
deemed to be the only actual opportunity for biomass
The energy conversion projects from biomass can be classified
as priority ones for the object of a rational and efficient
use of biomass in a Sustainable Energy System, both
at Italian and European level, but their development
is hindered by considerable barriers, deriving from
the complexity of their numerous components, such as:
Collection, transport and storage system for biomass
of different classes (virgin and residual).
conversion plant of moderate capacity, subject to
new and strict regulatory rules with respect to environmental
Extensive and earthed heat distribution networks and
connection to the electricity grid.
Connection substations for single heat users, including
small ones, equipped with heat exchangers, power control
and heat metering.
Implementation costs are therefore high and public support
is required to cope with the alternative fossil fuel:
accordingly, their present diffusion in the reference
area of Brianza is only limited to a few industrial
plants of modest power.
At European level, the above mentioned barriers have
limited the diffusion of distributed projects of district
heating with biomass to a few areas, particularly favored
by the large availability of biomass and the high demand
of heat: these areas include Austria, some Alpine sectors
of Italy (South Tyrol, Piedmont, Aosta Valley), Holland
and northern countries of the European Union, with prevailing
use of virgin biomass of forestry origin and rare examples
of distributed co-generation. The most significant experiences
are being evaluated in order to identify the success
Specifically, the impact of the Project can be broadly
referred to several contents:
a) Presentation of the legislative and regulations framework
in a new and complex sector such as biomass utilization,
with reference to the specific prescriptions.
b) Rationalization of the biomass market and selection
of the biomass which can be conveniently utilized, within
the specific context of Brianza.
c) Identification of efficient, proven and economic
technologies for biomass transformation, and selection
of the optimum models in the framework of biomass availability
and of heat demand.
d) Example of territorial investigation and planning
of district heating systems, presentation of methodologies
and results in real conditions, in order to disseminate
the knowledge, identify opportunities in the area and
stimulate the application in similar areas.
e) Search for the best equilibrium among thermal and
electric capacity of the plants, availability of biomass
and heat demand, taking into due account the maximum
efficiency and the optimum economic outcome.
f) Reduction of the emissions and improvement of the
environmental impact of the energy sector as a whole.
g) Evaluation of the viability conditions for some actual
cases, in terms of technical, environmental and economic
aspects, singling out benefits, limits, constraints
The study is collecting information on local biomass
availability and energy demand and will present typical
optimum configurations for the biomass utilization,
proposing differentiated models that take into account
key factors (classes of biomass and size of DH systems),
production criteria (heat production only, electric
generation only and co-generation) and levels of emissions
The models will aim, for typical local conditions, to
maximize the efficiency of conversion, pursuing the
equilibrium between availability of biomass and consumption
and obtaining the best financial result in accordance
with the tariff conditions. Advanced, but proven, conversion
technologies shall be adopted, such as biomass combustion
in grate (stationary, traveling or vibrating) or in
fluidized bed (suspension, bubbling, circulating).
of Knowledge and Promotion of Investment
dissemination of the knowledge acquired and organized
in the course of the study, with respect to biomass
market, heat and electric energy market, technologies
of energy transformation, heat distribution networks,
laws and regulations of the sector, will accelerate
the market penetration of innovative energy technologies
with a particular emphasis on the 2010 energy policy
The most significant added value refers to the identification
of investment opportunities under specific, actual local
conditions in Brianza. The models described by the study
may represent typical and replicable configurations
for similar situations widespread throughout the whole
Po Valley in Italy, and also applicable in general to
other Italian and European regions.
The activities of the study include a work package (Work
Package 6: Dissemination of the Results and Investment
Promotion), specifically dedicated to these functions,
The direct involvement of the operators of the sector
during the study, introduced through a specific initial
The elaboration of simplified and effective documents,
due to respond to the points of view of the biomass
producers, the energy users, the public agencies and
the potential investors.
The preparation of summaries and articles of presentation
and dissemination of the results.
The organization of a national seminar dedicated to
the energy sector and the territory at Fiera di Monza
(Pubblidam facility) by CTI and Punti Energia .
The organization of a international seminar to be
held in Monza by AEBIOM.
The study of the models for biomass utilization may
provide the following impact with respect to standards:
1. Increase of the local market of biomass as a fuel
and hence potential application of the regulations presently
under study within the activities of the CEN TC 335
for the characterization of the material.
2. Push towards a modernization of the Italian regulations
relevant to the plants for combustion of fossil fuel,
that even today foresee the compulsory adoption of the
open expansion vessel, with an overall increase of the
construction costs and sometimes decrease of the efficiency
of the energy conversion process.
3. Dissemination of criteria of economic planning and
efficient implementation of DH networks and users connection
adopted in the large systems, so that these criteria
can be applied also in medium size systems.
4. Push towards the development of rules and standards
for the determination of the avoided CO2 emissions and
the saving of fossil fuel, in view of the application
of the Kyoto protocol and of the titles of energy efficiency
to Policy Developments
The European legislative and market references
shall be taken into account for structuring the scheme
of results presentation, in order to facilitate their
understanding and application under the conditions of
other European countries, with different climate, biomass
availability, energy market and criteria of renewable
The search of efficient and cost effective technologies
for distributed generation, and especially for co-generation,
constitutes a theme of interest which is common to the
whole European energy environment. The study intends
to update the relevant information, by activating the
multiple experimented channels and looking for experimentations
and data useful for the basic choices and the performances
The analysis of the combination of different biomass
classes with appropriate energy conversion technologies
shall allow to verify the recent European and Italian
regulatory measures and hence provide elements for improving
The search of least cost for energy efficient, operationally
reliable and environmentally sound projects shall facilitate
the policy of support, still necessary, for the development
of renewable energy in the Italian market conditions,
together with comparative outline with other European
Useful contribution for policy developments will specifically
refer to the search of the conditions for "least
cost" of the proposed solutions for distributed
biomass energy utilization, in comparison with simple
electric generation in large units. The particular positive
aspects of distributed cogeneration with respect to
simple electric generation are listed here after:
Demonstrate reductions in the costs associated with
implementation of new technologies and/or demonstrate
how innovative technological solutions can be integrated
under full-scale operating conditions.
The relatively reduced size of the projects and their
distribution in the territory tend to harmonize the
biomass availability with the heat demand, thus avoiding
long distance transportation of the biomass and facilitating
a high energetic efficiency associated with thermal
production complemented by co-generation.
The reduced transportation minimizes the impacts and
the relevant costs.
Both the simple heat production and the co-generation
allow a conversion efficiency about three times higher
as compared with electric generation (from 25-35%
to 80-90%). Actually, under the Italian conditions
district heating and co-generation are most likely
the least cost solutions for biomass utilization.
District heating allows an efficient energy management
for buildings, the elimination of heat boilers (which
are a very critical environmental element) and the
location of the power plants outside of the urban
The social acceptance of the projects is facilitated
by the advantages relevant to service quality and
environmental improvement, which are strongly felt
by the citizens.
The project results provide inputs for the future development
of energy policy and legislation, including the improvement
of existing regulatory measures.
key aspect of the activities is constituted by investigations
at local level and by multidisciplinary studies and
analyses, with the final objective to identify, configure
and promote opportunities for the implementation of
projects of energetic utilization of the biomass produced
in Brianza, an important industrial district of Northern
The multidisciplinary nature of the study requires the
creation of different work packages, which can be basically
referred to as "support activities". They
- Studies and analyses;
- Investigations for fact findings;
- Development of innovation strategies;
- Operational support and dissemination, information
and communication activities.
Within each work package, covering a particular sector
of the overall study, experts in the specific discipline
are operating. Every work package has its own distinctive
scope, to be presented in separate deliverables, which
will combine in a unitary vision into the technical-economic
study, that delineates the opportunities of projects
for biomass utilization.
In parallel with this pursuit, "management activities"
are conducted in order to coordinate the technical activities
of each partner toward the objectives of the Support
Activities and allowing assessment of progress and results.
This activity is presented as a specific work package.
In principle, technical and managerial co-ordination
of all the activities and detailed coordination of some
work packages, is being exercised by CTI, the committee
charged for standardization activity in the electromechanical
sector and dealing with research activity, classification
of biomass and standardization of energy transformation
Some technical co-ordination activities inside some
work packages are carried out by the firm Ingea, constituted
by professionals with wide experience in the planning
and development of infrastructure projects (energetic
for World Bank and EBRD, public works in Italy).
The specific activities related to the achievement of
the results are gathered into six distinct work packages.
An additional work package includes Management Activities.
A short description of the different work packages is
given here below.
a. Work Package 0: Consortium Management Activities.
It includes the specific activities necessary to:
- Technical co-ordination of the individual work packages
and of the links between the work packages themselves;
- Editing of documents;
- Liaison with the Commission and other interested
- Monitoring of the Project progress and preparation
of the Progress Reports and of the Final Report;
- Overall legal, contractual, ethical, financial and
administrative management of the Project.
b. Work Package 1: Analysis of Italian and European
Regulations for Biomass (Task Manager, Prof. Giovanni
Riva - Comitato Termotecnico Italiano). It aims to carry
out a critical assessment of the regulations in force
relevant to biomass, both at national and European level
(in particular as concerns disposal constraints), in
order to pave the way for an effective implementation
of Work Package 2.
c. Work Package 2: Classification and Availability
of Biomass in Brianza (Task Manager, Arch. Giuliano
Dall'O' - Associazione Rete di Punti Energia). It aims
to evaluate the biomass availability, characteristics
and cost in the area of potential thermal utilization.
The results of this investigation are due to constitute
the basis for the activities of Work Packages 3 and
d. Work Package 3: Technology of Biomass Conversion
(Task Manager, Ing. Mauro Cozzini - Ingea Consulting
Srl). It aims to verify on the availability of proven
and new technologies for heat generation plants and
combined heat and power plants, including the analysis
of investment and operation costs and the description
of on-going experiences. The results of the analysis
will govern the choice of the technology to be adopted
for configuration of typical models, to be adapted to
the class and quantity of available biomass (Work Package
2) and to the diagrams of local heat demand (Work Package
e. Work Package 4: District Heating (Task Manager,
Ing. Tranquillo Magnelli - Ingea Consulting Srl). It
aims to assess the possibility of developing three new
energy conversion power plants, one as integration of
the existing district heating systems (size of 10-30
MWt) and two as separate ones for the selected users
poles (one of 1 - 10 MWt and the other of 10-20 MWt),
estimating the power and thermal energy demand of each
opportunity , searching for possible type, size and
location of the generation plants and elaborating the
configuration of the distribution network.
f. Work Package 5: Analysis and Evaluation of Typical
Projects (Task Manager, Ing. Mauro Cozzini - Ingea
Consulting Srl). It aims to analyze the best opportunities
identified of three exploitation projects, combining
the results of the previous Work Packages 2, 3 and 4.,
evaluating the energy and environmental performances.
The objective is the definition of some project hypotheses
under specific local conditions, which at the same time
are also representative of modular and replicable projects
in other locations. The positive aspects relative to
environmental impact shall be singled out. The evaluation
of costs and benefits, including the possibility of
taking advantage of contributions and favor tariffs,
will point out the financial sustainability of the project.
g. Work Package 6: Dissemination of the Results and
Investment Promotion (Task Manager, Prof. Giovanni
Riva - Comitato Termotecnico Italiano). It aims to involve
all the interested parties during the investigations
on the biomass availability and heat demand and about
the location of the plants in specific areas. The results
of the study will be disseminated by making public and
available the final reports according to the Steering
Committee directions, by carrying out synthetic presentations
and through the participation to seminars. Pubblidam
will is conducting specific diffusion of knowledge at
local level and investment promotion activities at industrial
associates. AEBIOM is taking care of the diffusion of
knowledge at European level.
The activities of the study have been structured and
coordinated basically in connection with the three milestones
which constitute partial landmarks of the study including
important and autonomous results.
Milestone 1, to be reached at the end of month
6. Identification of three priority opportunities for
district heating, one as integration of the Monza DH,
the other two as typical hypotheses of distributed DH
(one of relatively large and the other of relatively
- Milestone 2, to be reached at the end of month
12. Configuration of the three selected projects: location,
size and type of PP, scheme of DH network, preliminary
assessment of energy and environmental performances.
- Milestone 3, to be reached at the end of month
17. Analysis of PP performances and evaluation of the
three projects from the technical, environmental, economic
and financial points of view.
No significant risks are expected as refers to the implementation
of the study, except for the time required for collecting
the information on biomass availability and heat demand,
inasmuch as this depends on the sensitiveness and understanding
of the owners of the information. To take into account
any unforeseen circumstances, the period for project
completion has been estimated at 18 months.
Biomass Use In Brianza has been approved ed
by the European Commission under the Priority Thematic
(Sustainable Energy Systems) of the Sixth Framework
Project No TREN/04/FP6EN/S07.30974/503177