Enel Green Power has brought online a biomass plant to heat geothermal steam at the Cornia 2 geothermal power plant in Tuscany, Italy. The project will increase both the energy efficiency and the power output of the geothermal cycle.
A small power plant fueled by forest biomass sourced from within a radius of 70 km of the facility will supplement the existing geothermal plant. Using the biomass, the steam entering the power plant is heated from an initial temperature of between 150° and 160° Celsius to 370°-380° Celsius, increasing the net electricity generation capacity thanks to both the increased enthalpy of the steam and the improved efficiency of the cycle, the latter of which is due to lower moisture levels during generation.
Enel Green Power invested more than $16.5 million in the project. The new plant is technologically innovative because it has close to zero impact on the environment, enhances an existing industrial plant and maintains the total renewability of both the resource and the cycle, combining two renewable resources in a system with potential for future international development.
The new 5 MW facility is expected to increase the geothermal plant’s output by more than 30 GWh per year.
Other benefits include the efficient use of agricultural and agro-industrial by-products, the optimal maintenance of forest resources with the consequent reduction in hydrogeological risk, the sustainable development of energy crops and the production of significant levels of cogenerated heat.