The Scarperia and San Piero Biodistrict
In Tuscany, the region with the greatest density of woodlands in Italy, Renovo is developing a biodistrict that will produce certified Italian pellets in the Mugello area, with the installation of a cogeneration plant with a capacity of 999 kWe and 4 MWth and a pellet production plant with a capacity of approximately 60,000 tons a year.
In Italy, 80% of pellets are made from foreign wood. With the aim of optimising the local community’s natural resources, Renovo has launched a project based on recovering scrap wood resources through the harvesting of biomass in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, thus giving rise to a virtuous “woodland-wood-energy” system to exploit woodlands and the local forest economy. In particular, the biomass used in the cogeneration plant will be locally sourced (within 70 km of the production facility).
In keeping with our vision of sustainability and the value of the local community, as embodied in the Renovo business model, as source and beneficiary of that same value, in 2015 we promoted the creation of a business network and specific integrated supply chain plan. In addition to aggregating local forestry companies by pooling their human and technical resources, these two documents contain the supply agreements for the biodistrict. We also enhanced this virtuous value chain through direct management of several local woodland plots, which we will exploit through long-term harvesting plans.
We designed the biodistrict according to our model, combining industry, the environment and the social fabric. From the environmental standpoint, the sourcing process will result in proper maintenance and management of woodlands, with a valuable contribution to the prevention of landslides and floods. In other efforts aimed at efficient resource use, we reached an agreement with the association FederlegnoArredo governing the sale of fine wood to the furniture companies represented by the association in a way that respects the potential added value offered by the various species.
The project’s two plants are synergistically integrated: on the one hand, the waste generated in the production of pellets is used as energy biomass, while, on the other, thermal energy is used to dry the virgin wood from which the pellets are made. This will result in increased energy and resource efficiency, with an estimated annual savings of approximately 32,700 tons of CO2. The pellets will also have supply chain certification attesting to their environmental sustainability according to the highest quality standard, ENplus A1.
In light of the above, Legambiente, Italy’s largest environmental association, has also endorsed the project based in Scarperia and San Piero, creating a joint roundtable with us to promote certified Italian pellets.