Enel Green Power brings online world's first integrated biomass and geothermal plant in Tuscany

Enel Green Power has brought online the world's first biomass plant used to heat geothermal steam at the Cornia 2 geothermal power plant, which is located in Castelnuovo Val di Cecina in Tuscany. The project will increase both the energy efficiency and the power output of the geothermal cycle.

The existing geothermal plant has been joined by a small power plant fuelled by virgin forest biomass sourced from within a radius of 70km of the facility. Using the biomass, the steam entering the power plant is heated from an initial temperature of between 150 and 160°C to 370-380°C, increasing the net electricity generation capacity thanks to both the increased enthalpy of the steam and the improved efficiency of the cycle, the latter of which is due to lower moisture levels during generation.

'The integration of different technologies is a major step forward for the future of renewable energy,' says Enel Green Power's CEO Francesco Venturini. 'This plant will enable the optimisation of results and represents a replicable model that opens up new local energy, economic and employment opportunities.'

Enel Green Power invested more than €15 million in the project. The new plant is technologically innovative because it has close to zero impact on the environment, enhances an existing industrial plant and maintains the total renewability of both the resource and the cycle, combining two renewable resources in a system with potential for future international development.

The new 5MW facility is expected to increase the geothermal plant's output by more than 30GWh per year while avoiding the annual emission of over 13,000 tonnes of CO2.

Other benefits include the efficient use of agricultural and agro-industrial by-products, the optimal maintenance of forest resources with the consequent reduction in hydrogeological risk, the sustainable development of energy crops and the production of significant levels of cogenerated heat.

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