Energy efficient on-farm systems

This project will evaluate efficient management systems based on biogas valorization and approaches to obtain energy savings and replace fossil fuels in farms and industry with renewable sources.

2.1. Energy recovery from biogas on a pig farm

The case study farm implemented in Aragon will use biogas recovered from the external storage systems to cover part of its energy demand..

2.2 Evaluation of an innovative gasometric coverage system

The dairy farm where the Piedmont case study is to be implemented manages 2 anaerobic digestion plants. Each has an installed capacity of 0.990 MWel. and 0.994 MWel. respectively fed with agricultural by-products, manure, and energy crops. The agricultural by-products are provided by local farmers. The electricity produced is sold to the national grid. Thanks to a district heating network, about 9,000,000 kWh of thermal energy per year are supplied to the Cancer Research and Treatment Institute (I.R.C.C.) of Candiolo and other nearby companies.

In anaerobic digestion systems, large heat inputs are necessary to supply the thermal needs of the digesters (40-42°C in mesophilic or 50-55°C in thermophilic conditions). In order to obtain optimal energy efficiency, it is necessary to minimize heat losses in the digester. The thermal losses of the traditional double membrane cover for biogas storage can account for up to 80% of the losses in a digester. Therefore, it has been proposed to evaluate the improvement of thermal insulation using a third membrane to reduce convection in the gasometric cover: CUPOLA M3 HEAT SHIELD® (HSs) (Dinuccio et al., 2019).

2.3 Evaluation of an absorption refrigeration system

This project will design, install, monitor and evaluate an absorption refrigeration system (ARS) for the production of cooling from waste heat from a biomethane production plant linked to an anaerobic digestion plant fed with agricultural waste and dairy slurry. The ARS will be installed at a nearby company that produces material for the pharmaceutical industry.

The waste heat will be recovered by heat exchangers and delivered, in the form of hot water, to the ARS through an insulated piping system. The ARS extends the possibility of energy recovery (heat extraction with an average efficiency of up to 70%) and improves the energy balance of the biomethane production plant in the energy supply chain.