Enel to build CSP and biomass bi-generation plant

Italian power company Enel has signed a memorandum of understanding with Enea, Italy’s agency for new technologies, and Rome’s local authority Roma Capitale, to build and test a concentrated solar and biomass bi-generation plant.

The 1-5MW Trebois plant will be a small-scale, modular, poly-generation concentrated solar power and biomass plant which will continuously produce electricity for the city of Rome.

Enel has agreed to build and manage the plant as part of a pilot scheme in the Italian capital, CSP Roma Filiera. The plant is to be built with the backing of Roma Capitale, which has committed to sustainable development in urban areas of the Italian capital.

Biomass wood feedstock for the scheme, which will include waste from pruning the city’s trees, is to be sourced farms and forests in the surrounding area, with the aim of boosting the income stream of the agricultural sector.

The biomass will initially be treated with the process steam generated by the plant itself to separate its components, including lignin, which can also be used in the auxiliary molten salts heater as a gas to support electricity generation in the absence of sunlight. This will provide about 40% of the total generation.

The cellulosic components are also extracted, and subjected to a fermentation process that produces ethanol, which can then be used as a biofuel for sustainable transport.

Enel said in a statement: “The Trebios project marks an important stepping stone on the way to reducing CO2 emissions and the environmental impact of urban mobility, a commitment already made by the Enel Group through the agreement signed with Roma Capitale and ACEA to develop a network of interoperable recharge points for electric vehicles.”

Enea has developed the technology used in the Trebois plant to build the Archimede thermodynamic solar power plant, which it says is the” first in the world to use molten salts as a thermal vector fluid and to integrate a combined gas cycle and a thermodynamic solar power plant in order to generate electricity.”

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Bioenergy  •  Solar electricity