Spirits Maker Bonollo and Italgas Turn Waste to Biomethane
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Bonollo, known for making Italy’s traditional spirit grappa, and gas distributor Italgas opened the first biomethane plant in an Italian distillery on Wednesday, in a move that could spur the country’s production of renewable natural gas.
Biomethane, which in this case is made from the liquid remaining from the distillation of grape-based products, is the result of the treatment and purification of biogas.
It can be used for heating, cooking and all of the same uses as fossil fuel gas but as a by-product of organic matter is considered renewable and carbon neutral.
The most popular product of the family-owned group is grappa, which is manufactured from grape-based pomace, the skins, seeds and stems which are left over from winemaking. Bonollo makes grappa from Amarone wine under the brand OF.
Italgas said Bonollo’s biomethane plant, near the north-eastern city of Padua, is the first to be connected to its network, but there are other 140 requests for connections.
“Italy, which today makes only 5% of the biomethane produced in the European Union, has a big opportunity to increase its output,” said Pier Lorenzo Dell’Orco, CEO of the network division of Italgas, the country’s largest gas distributor.
See related article: Goldman Sachs to Launch Verdalia Bioenergy to Invest Over €1 Billion in European Biomethane Sector
Bonollo’s plant will produce 2.5 million cubic metres (mcm) of the renewable gas each year which will be fed into the network and could cover the gas consumption of 3,000 families.
Last year, the government unlocked state subsidies worth 1.7 billion euros ($1.86 billion) to support investments in biogas and biomethane plants as part of Italian efforts to replace Russian natural gas.
Italy currently produces 500 mcm of biomethane, but that could rise to up to 8 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2030, Dell’Orco said.
In its RepowerEU plan issued after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the European Commission set a target of 35 bcm per year by 2030 for biomethane production to replace part of the 155 bcm of gas it previously bought from Moscow.
Italgas plans to invest more than 4 billion euros to 2028 to digitalize and make its network ready to transport different type of gas including hydrogen.
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