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World Environment Day: the potential of biogas

The organic fraction of the waste must not be wasted

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June and unfortunately a very high level of waste emerges from the examination of the food system, from production, processing methods to consumption. The European Union is one of the largest food producers in the world and also ranks among the first places in the quantity of organic waste. In fact, it is estimated that we reach a total of 88 million tons of food thrown away (equal to 173 kilos per year per capita, almost half a kilo per day). And to dispose of this enormous amount of garbage, 170 million tons of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere every year. 53 percent of this garbage is domestic kitchen waste thrown into our homes.

Yet organic waste could offer great opportunities. According to data provided by Sebigas, a company specialized in biogas with 84 active plants worldwide, with a plant powered by the Organic Fraction of Urban Solid Waste (FORSU) it is possible to obtain a power in kW corresponding to the per capita consumption of electricity every day. an Italian in a year (approximately 4,703 kWh in 2020).

Specifically, a plant fueled with 270 tons per day of OFMSW has the potential to produce about 4,440 kW from cogeneration systems that use biogas as fuel, and about 1,180 sm3 / h of biomethane, a renewable natural gas.

Italy is the third European producer of biogas behind England and Germany and fifth in the world after China and the USA, with an economic value of 3.2 billion euros, net of incentives. A sector that thanks to the synergy between agriculture and livestock on the one hand and agro-industry on the other has recorded investments of about 4.5 billion euros from 2008 to date, allowing Italy to achieve European leadership with over 1,600 biogas plants in operation (of which, according to CIB data, 1200 in the agricultural sector).

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EFA News - European Food Agency