Italy’s first biomethane filling station for vehicles came into operation in early July. This is the plant of Montello SpA in Bergamo (Italy), which uses only the gas generated by the treatment of the organic component of the urban waste produced by 6 million inhabitants.
According to the data provided by the company, a production of about 32 million cubic meters is expected each year. Montello SpA is also the first “carbon negative” plant in Italy. In addition, 38,000 tonnes/year of carbon dioxide (CO2) for technical and food use will be recovered from the generated biogas (made up of about 60% methane and 40% of CO2).
The feeding of biomethane into the grid is a long-awaited event, since the Ministry of Economic Development introduced the first incentives for biomethane production from waste in December 2013. For a long time, due to delays, the regulatory framework needed to transform this intention into a concrete possibility was missing.
According to the Biomethane Platform (“Piattaforma Biometano”), which joins producers as well as environmental associations such as Legambiente, the potential of biomethane in Italy could reach 8,5 billion cubic meters of products by 2030 (of which 0.5 from waste – excluding that from landfill which is difficult to estimate – and the rest from agriculture).
Italy already is the second European producer of biogas and the forth worldwide, with 1,200 agricultural plants, €4,5 billion of investment, a production of 2,5 billion cubic meters of biomethane and the creation of 12,000 jobs.
In addition, the Italian fleet of vehicles fuelled by methane is the biggest in Europe, with just under one million buses, freight trucks, cars and tractors. But, so far, cars have not been allowed to fill them up with biomethane: the biogas has always been used only to generate electricity.
“If the legislation allowed it,” said CIB‘s Chairman, Piero Gattoni, “Italy might be able to produce enough biomethane to meet about 10-20% of the national demand. Biogas turned into biomethane and injected into the national grid can be used when it is most needed.”
Source: European Biogas Association