A new approach for italian bio-energy chains and agriculture

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NEWS AND STRATEGIES

The BioEnergy Village is the area of Cremona International Livestock Exhibitions especially dedicated to a professional and highly-specialized dialogue on the development of an integrated and sustainable chain for bio-products and for the management of energies from agricultural sources: a specific corner to present the latest news of the sector and to discuss strategic measures to enhance the value of bio-energy chains.

AGROENERGIES: THE MAIN TOPICS

Owners of plants powered with renewable energy sources and professionals of the sectors – who already figure among the over 60 thousand visitors of Cremona International Livestock Exhibitions – are looking for new responses and solutions as to:

  • upgrading
  • efficiency enhancement
  • service
  • process management
  • plant management
  • taxation
  • new market outlets
  • use of by-products (feed2food)

BIOECONOMY

Bioeconomy is a branch of economy using renewable biological resources from land and sea (such as waste) to produce food, materials and energy (European Commission, 2016) with the aim of a transition to a more sustainable system based on a full and wise use of biological resources. It involves:

1. Agriculture, livestock farming, fishing, aquaculture and forestry
2. food industry
3. bio-based chemical industry and fuels from renewable resources

In the context of development aimed at achieving a circular economy, the economic weight of bioeconomy in Europe is estimated at a turnover of around 2 billion euros with over 17 million people employed, thus representing 9% of total EU employment. In addition to this, it is estimated that every euro invested in bioeconomy research and innovation, accompanied by suitable supporting policies both at national and European level, will result in a tenfold return by 2025 (McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, 2013).

Bioeconomy in Italy is worth over 224 billion euros (7.9% of the national GDP) and employs 1.5 million people, above all in the agrifood sector. The contribution of bio-based industry exceeds 20 billion euros (Rapporto sulla Bioeconomia in Europa, 2015).
As to food, raw materials (for chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry) and energy production from biomasses, an active involvement of agriculture is fundamental. Since bioeconomy directly depends on the availability of biomasses, competitiveness can’t be achieved without an active participation of agricultural enterprises.

BACKGROUND

Energy from biomasses is part of circular economy and plays a fundamental role for environmental protection, social costs reduction and for the economic development of the agricultural sector.
Considering biogas for the agro-livestock sector, Italy is the second most important European market after Germany and ranks third after China at global level. As to renewable electricity production, it has been estimated that by 2020 the system will be able to generate an economic value of 3.2 billion euros, net of incentives (Althesys figures).
Biogas, renewable source for electricity, thermal energy and biomethane production, is growing in importance very rapidly in Italy. Over the last 6 years, 4.5 million euros have been allocated, 12,000 new steady jobs have been created and natural gas production has reached the value of 2 billion cubic meters (that equals one-fifth of the national natural gas production). According to forecasts for 2020, the employment rate in this sector will double (up to 25,000 jobs) and a significant increase in agricultural plants (nowadays about 1,500) will be registered. Thanks to biogas purification through upgrading, it is possible to obtain a 100% Italian bio-fuel: biomethane, to be used for transports and into the natural gas grid (Centro Levi Cases, 2016).
With 6.7 employees for each installed MW, the biogas-biomethane sector holds the record of highest employment intensity within renewable energies (Cib – Consorzio Italiano Biogas, 2016).
Old (reconverted) and new plants can receive the incentives provided by the Energy Services Manager (GSE). These are to be intended for plants producing biomethane through anaerobic digestion of bio-waste and are valid until 2018.

The protagonist of Bioenergy Village