The biodigestor plant controlled by the Herambiente subsidiary achieves another first as it obtains four certifications: UNI EN ISO 9001 for quality, UNI EN ISO 14001 for environmental management, OHSAS 18001 for safety and ISO 50001 for energy management.
Herambiente's San Carlo di Cesena composting plant has been awarded four certifications. The plant, controlled by subsidiary Romagna Compost, is the first of its kind in Italy to obtain this prestigious recognition from DNV Business Assurance, one of the world's leading independent certification bodies.
The plant produces high-quality compost and electricity using the organic component of separated waste.
Four certifications, including the recent ISO 50001 energy managementcertification
The four certifications, which were obtained by the San Carlo plant in close collaboration with Herambiente's Quality, Safety and Environment Department, are: UNI EN ISO 9001 for quality, UNI EN ISO 14001 for environmental management, OHSAS 18001 for safety and ISO 50001 for energy management.
While the first three are well known, the ISO 50001 energy management certification was introduced in 2011 to replace UNI CEI EN 16001, and rewards the latest international best practice in energy management, based on current national and regional regulations. The standard, which was developed over several years by energy management experts from over 60 countries, certifies that a company has a corporate-management system aimed at improving energy efficiency by reducing energy costs, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact.
Herambiente will aim to achieve the same energy certification for some of its other plants in the near future, having already obtained the UNI EN ISO 9001, UNI EN ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications and EMAS registration for 17 sites, on which 34 of its main plants are in operation.
Renewable energy and compost from waste: why Herambiente is a national leader
With these certifications, the biodigestor plant has notched up another important first on top of its status as the only plant in Italy to use the innovative anaerobic digestion system, which, simulating a cow's digestion process, transforms waste into compost and electricity, all whilst emitting no odours.
Between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2012, the San Carlo di Cesena composting plant produced 14,674 MWh of electricity (of which 5,106 was generated in 2010, 6,160 in 2011 and 3,408 at 30 June 2012), equivalent to 9% of the electricity consumed by Cesena households, and 7,944 tonnes of organic compost (2,400 in 2010, 4,700 in 2011 and 844 at 30 June 2012).
All of this was produced by recycling 94,281 tonnes of organic waste.
These are the figures from the Romagna Compost plant, which is unique in Italy and was named as one of the top 10 companies in the waste sector by the 2010 Sustainable Development Award committee at the Rimini Ecomondo Trade Fair.
The technology...of cows, introduced in Cesena for the first time in Italy
Romagna Compost treats organic materials by simulating the mastication and digestion process of cows. More specifically, the plant disposes of organic waste resulting from separated collection, plant waste, and waste from the food processing and fruit and vegetable industries, animal breeding and the maintenance of green areas.
The ground-down waste is left in “garages” measuring 5 metres in height, 18 metres in length and 10 metres in width, for around 30 days at a temperature of 37°C. Bacteria similar to those found in a cow's stomach carry out the digestion process, producing biogas, a methane-based gas used to produce renewable energy.
When the digestion is complete, the material is sent for a brief phase of composting that enables it to be used as potting compost or as an agricultural fertiliser. The compost produced is also certified for organic farming.
One of the most important aspects of the process is that the bacteria used are capable of destroying all the substances that cause unpleasant odours, thus transforming a problem into an opportunity thanks to the production of a new source of energy.
Winning partnership between Hera and local businesses
Romagna Compost S.r.l., located in San Carlo di Cesena, is 60% owned by Herambiente S.p.A. The remaining 40% of its share capital is held by a number of leading companies in Cesena's farming and agrofood sector: Amadori, Formula Servizi, CAC, Consorzio Agrario di Forlì-Cesena, Orogel and SFIR. The simultaneous presence of producers of organic waste, companies operating in waste collection and treatment (Hera) and end users of the compost (Consorzio Agrario) completes the compost production cycle, ensuring both a high-quality product (due to the quality of the matrices used) and appropriate channels for end consumption of the product.
Herambiente's biodigestor plant project: an investment of over Euro 40 million
Herambiente will begin to replicate the San Carlo model this year as part of a project that aims to build an anaerobic biodigestor plant in every province in the region where Hera Group manages environmental services.The chosen locations are: Rimini, Voltana (RA), Modena, Ostellato (FE) and Sant'Agata Bolognese (BO).
The construction work for the Rimini and Voltana plants is nearly complete, with the plants set to become operational later this year, while the authorisation process for the Modena and Sant'Agata Bolognese plants should be completed this year, with construction work due to begin in 2013. Following that, work is set to begin on the Ostellato plant.
The project as a whole will involve total investment of over Euro 40 million for Hera Group, bringing the region's capacity for renewable-energy generation to more than 32 million KWh per year. In practical terms, this will mean meeting the annual energy needs of over 35,000 people and saving 17,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
2012, International Year of Sustainable Energy for All
The biodigestor plant project is particularly significant in light of the fact that the General Assembly of the United Nations, acknowledging the importance of energy for sustainable development, has designated 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All”. The UN aims to raise awareness about the importance of increasing opportunities to access sustainable energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources at the local, national and international level.
Romagna Compost Chairman: “Strategic plan to protect the environment and reduce dependency on fossil fuels”
“For a company with ties to the local area such as ours, these four certifications are extremely important”, explained Luciano Natali, Chairman of Romagna Compost. “This recognition from DNV Business Assurance once again reiterates our capacity to guarantee local residents the highest levels of safety when processing the organic component of separated waste.”
DNV General Manager: “Innovation for sustainability”
“The wide range of certifications obtained is part of this process that combines innovation and sustainability. We are proud to support Romagna Compost and Hera Group in this important project”, said Massimo Berlin, General Manager of DNV Business Assurance.
DNV Business Assurance is one of the world's leading certification bodies. With 1,600 professionals worldwide and a complete range of certification, assessment and training services, it helps its clients to boost stakeholder confidence and to develop sustainable business on a global scale. DNV Business Assurance is part of DNV, an independent foundation set up in 1864, which currently has more than 10,000 professionals and 300 offices worldwide. In Italy, DNV Business Assurance has 10 offices and 250 employees. With a market share of 14%, it is the national leader in Italy in management system certification.