Combined Heat and Power plant based on Organic Rankine Cycle

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Combined Heat and Power plant based on Organic Rankine Cycle


The Italian company has developed a fully integrated biomass supply chain for a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant based on Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). The facility has been designed to achieve the maximum output of matter and energy from the use of the surrounding land. The optimised logistics within the territory ensures the following products:
1) Heat and power;
2) Woody chips (30% of moisture) for the power plant and some local civil applications;
3) Dried woody chips (15% of moisture) for the power plant and a briquetting line within the facility;
4) Pellets if a suitable production line is coupled to or replaces the briquetting line;
5) Ashes to be re-used in agriculture as fertiliser.

The integrated facility will lay on an area of 1 500 m3, while the raw materials will be stored within an adjacent area of 2 hectares.
All the lines are fully automated, so to minimise the personnel employed in the plant. Also, the optimisation of the collection and first treatment of the raw materials has been based on the needs of farmers and the necessary amount of fuel for the facility. The result is the use of the “buffering storage” (2 hectares area) as a continuous supplier of biomass to the different lines within the biomass power plant, the packaging facility, the briquetting and/or the pelleting line.
Moreover, the energy consumption and production have been optimised focusing on the day-by-day switch between electricity to sell to the National Grid and heat to be provided to the drier. A PV plant on the entire roof of the facility provides the necessary electricity for the auxiliaries of the plant (about 250 kWp). This solution was needed by Italian law, since the electricity produced by the ORC turbine-generator must be integrally sold to the National Grid. The heat is self-consumed by the drier.

In the first release of the plant the biomass consists of vineyard and olive tree pruning residues, but it is expected to be expanded to further raw materials, such as olive cake, straw and fruit tree residues.

The raw materials are crashed on field before entering the buffer area (storage). The wet chips (45% of moisture) are partially dried in the buffer area until reaching the final moisture content of 30% (within three months). Finally, the chips are supplied to the facility and its three lines (furnace, briquettes and packaging).

The first application will be in Southern Italy sub-provincial area (7 municipalities) but reduction of the supply chain within a radius of 10 km (with the boundaries of 3 municipalities) is expected.

Further expansion of the power plant to a bio-refinery (especially for the production of 2nd generation Biodiesel) coupled with a CHP power plant, both fuelled by local biomass (densified or refused mixtures of different types of biomass) will be subject of research in the next three years.

Innovations and advantages of the offer:

a) The use of organic Rankine turbine for the production of electricity and heat from agriculture residues (the first plant in Europe planned and financed by Italian Ministry of Agriculture);
b) The fully integrated supply chain within 15 km of radius from the location of the plant, optimised in the territory;
c) The 4 main products from the supply chain: Power and heat, briquettes and/or pellets and ashes as fertiliser.

The second and third aspects are the most important ones because they indicate a new way to build a CHP plant, ensuring the provision of products useful for the territory under investigation (ash for agriculture use and chips for farmer’s boilers).

The two main advantages are:
1) The integration of all operations within a compact and small-sized plant serving two or three municipalities;
2) The flexibility of the plant that can be adapted to the agriculture of the area under investigation, by simply varying the quality and the kinds of the raw materials depending from the local situation and availability.

Markets Addressed



Other energy


Stage of development

Development Phase

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Intelectual Property status

Exclusive rights

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