A delegation of Argentinian officials from the city of Mendoza, guided by the Councillor for the Environment, has today been visiting the Forlì waste-to-energy plant and the S. Carlo di Cesena biodigester plant.
The visit forms part of a collaboration agreement between the Hera Group and the Mendoza company IMPSA (a specialist in renewable energy production and waste management) which, through Hera’s Large Plants Division and Herambiente, provides for engineering and technical support to the Argentinian company for the construction of waste treatment plants in South America, both for material recovery and for electricity production.
Interest in the Romagna Compost plant, which uses dry fermentation technology, lies partly in the fact that the area around Mendoza has high levels of agricultural production and consequently an abundant supply of biomass.
The delegation was favourably impressed by Hera’s facilities and by the highly efficient operation of the San Carlo plant, the first in the country to use the innovative anaerobic digestion system, which makes it possible to recover energy and material from organic waste, and the first to obtain four certifications (UNI EN ISO 9001 for quality management, UNI EN ISO 14001 for environmental management, OHSAS 18001 for health and safety management, and ISO 50001 for energy management).
Romagna Compost treats organic matter by simulating the mastication and digestion process of cows. In particular, it processes the organic fraction of separated waste, waste from the cannery, livestock and market gardening sectors, and lignocellulose waste from the maintenance of gardens and parks.
The ground-up waste is placed in “garages” 5 metres high, 18 metres long and 10 metres wide, where it sits for around 30 days at 37°C. Bacteria identical to those found in cows’ stomachs carry out the digestion process to produce biogas, a methane-based gas used to produce renewable energy.
Once the digestion process is complete, the material is put through a composting phase, where it is turned into an end product that can be used as a potting soil or as an agricultural fertiliser. The compost produced is certified for organic agriculture. It is very important to emphasise that the bacteria used are capable of destroying all the substances that produce foul smells, thus turning the problem into an opportunity, thanks to the production of a new energy resource.