Biomethane festival and inauguration of the largest biomethane plant in Europe
On Friday, 26 May 2023, during the first Biomethane Festival, the most important biomethane plant in Europe has been inaugurated in Schiavon (Vicenza - Italy), transforming livestock manure into renewable energy and natural fertiliser.
The event, promoted by FemoGas and Coldiretti Vicenza with the support of Legambiente, was conceived as a large popular festival inspired by farming traditions. The objective was twofold: to recreate the atmosphere of the rural civilisation from which this avant-garde plant originates and in which it lives, and to bring the population closer to the very sensitive issue of energy, making them experience first-hand a valid alternative to fossil fuels, improving both environmental costs and the cost of bills for citizens.
The plant, promoted by Iniziative Biometano (FemoGas Group), is managed by two operating companies, Motta Energia and EBS, whose members are 117 farms operating in the Brenta area, mainly in the municipalities of Schiavon, Pozzoleone, Bressanvido and Sandrigo.
It is precisely the co-participation that is a unique and distinctive element: the farmers feed the plant daily with 360 tonnes of manure, cattle slurry and poultry manure, seeing their commitment rewarded by the return in the form of natural organic fertiliser.
Each year, the plant produces 7,000 tonnes of biomethane, enough to meet the annual needs of 200 trucks travelling 100,000 kilometres each.
If the methane becomes liquid biomethane, the gaseous component, i.e. carbon dioxide, will soon be recovered and sold to the industries that use it: the food industry, for example, uses it in carbonated soft drinks.
In addition to biomethane, the plant produces digestate. This compost is used, in its liquid nitrogen fraction, to fertilise the fields of the member companies themselves, and in its solid fraction for precision fertilisation in viticulture, floriculture and horticulture. Digestate is thus returned to the countryside as an alternative to chemical fertilisers, combating soil desertification and helping to preserve the purity of the water table. 250 thousand tonnes of digestate come out of Schiavon every year and about 10 thousand hectares of countryside benefit from it.
This plant is considered a virtuous model of circular economy and therefore sustainable.