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Hera and Inalca to produce biomethane from food waste in Italy

Thursday, 08 July 2021

Hera Group's subsidiary Herambiente, an Italian leader in waste management, and food sector titan Inalca (Cremonini Group), reached an agreement to set up holding company BIORG for the production of biomethane, and compost from organic and food waste.

The agreement will see almost 30 million Euro invested at a Herambiente site in Modena, Northern Italy to establish a biomethane plant. The plant is expected to be operational in 2022.

The biomethane will be produced via Anaerobic Digestion (AD) of agro-food waste, including waste from Inalca's meat processing activities. At full operation, output from the plant is expected to be around 3.7 million cubic metres (mcm).

Environmental benefits from the plant include avoiding the use of 3 000 tonnes oil equivalent (toe) of fossil fuels, which would emit 7 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The digestate from the AD plant will be eventually transferred to BIORG, which will result in approximately 18 000 tonne of compost annually, which can be used a fertiliser.

The Hera Group is no stranger to biomethane production, having established a similar biomethane producing operation at their Sant'Agata Bolognese site in 2018. The upgrades at Modena are part of the Hera Group's plan to increase their biomethane production capacity to more than 15.5 mcm (about 172 GWh equivalent) by 2024.

Quoting Andrea Ramonda, CEO of Herambiente:

“The Hera Group has always been at the forefront in promoting environmental sustainability and the circular economy: all our projects go in this direction, while at the same time fostering innovation and the growth both of the company and the areas in which we operate” 

“Regarding the development of the biomethane chain in particular, our agreement with a first-class partner such as INALCA represents a further step forward for us after having established the first plant ever built in Italy by a multi-utility to produce biomethane on an industrial scale, the one in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Thanks to the know-how gained through this facility, we are always aiming at new initiatives for a circular economy transition, in line with our Strategic Plan up to 2024”.

The Hera/Inalca project follows on the heels of the announcement of the Asja biomethane plant, also in Northern Italy and which Greenfact reported on late last month. It should be noted that the Asja plant is based upon landfill gas, rather than agro-food waste. Both projects are likely to be incentivised by the Italian Biomethane Decree, providing support for producers for injected gas slated for mobility and transport purposes. 

In related news, Italy also achieved a milestone in reaching 1500 gas refuelling stations in the country, which will facilitate the uptake of biomethane by motorists.

Sources

European Food Agency News

Bioenergy Insight

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