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From organic waste to biomethane, a 100% renewable fuel

In the new S. Agata Bolognese plant, organic waste will be subjected to a process of anaerobic biodigestion for biogas production. Essentially, the organic waste, shredded and sifted, will remain for approximately 21 days in 4 horizontal digesters, hermetically sealed, where appropriate microorganisms will complete the digestion process producing biogas, made up of methane and carbon dioxide. This will undergo an “upgrading” (purification) process, passing through pressurised water against the current: the carbon dioxide will thus be separated from the methane. The end result will be biomethane, a gas with a methane content of over 95%, and a completely renewable source of energy.


At the end of the digestion process,lignocellulosic material will be added to the outgoing solid part, to obtain a compact mass that will be then undergo a composting phase from which quality compost will be derived, used as potting soil for home use or as fertilizer in agriculture.
Biomethane will allow 6,000 tonnes less oil to be used each year

In the S. Agata Bolognese biomethane plant, a process with great potential will then begin: thanks to the implementation of new and improved anaerobic digestion and up-grading technologies (respectively developed byKompogas in Switzerland and Malberg in Sweden), biomethane will be produced without relinquishing the recovery of materials and the production of compost for agriculture. From 100,000 tonnes per year of organic sorted waste, in addition to 35,000 tonnes from harvested vegetables and pruning, it will be possible to obtain, at full productivity, 20,000 tonnes of compost and 7.5 million m3 of biomethane, avoiding a use of fossil fuel coming to the equivalent of over 6,000 tonnes of oil, or 14,600 tonnes of CO2. The resulting biomethane will be able to be used as fuel for private methane vehicles and local public transportation, thanks to partnerships with local public transport companies, and citizens will be able to circulate in vehicles fully powered by the new green fuel. This is therefore an initiative that, if replicated, may offer an important contribution to the nation’s energy strategy and towards achieving the 20-20-20 European targets.

The images of the works in progress


A converted and fully modernised plant

With this conversion and modernisation project, work will be done on an already existing site which has hosted for many years a working plant authorised for higher quantities than those now foreseen at full capacity (going from 150,000 to 135,000 tonnes per year, with an ensuing reduction in vehicle traffic) and that will exclusively process sorted waste.


The starting point consists in families, and waste coming from household kitchens, i.e. sorted organic waste for separate waste gathering, with the arrival being the local area itself, when the gas produced is injected into the network to provide power for private or public transportation, or again for household use, such as cooking and heating, with immediate benefits for air quality.
This is the virtuous cycle conceived, and soon turned into reality, by Hera. It involves the production of biomethane, a sustainable and renewable fuel, in the new plant that the company, the first in Italy to do so, will create in S. Agata Bolognese (BO) within 2018, inside the composting site that is already active, with no further use of land area.

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