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Italian milk, soda and pellets

It may have been a bad hair day in Settimo Torinese yesterday but today "t’was a soft day thank God" as we’d say in Corcaigh, Éire. In Marmorta di Molinella, about a hours drive southeast of Bologna, the grey November mist just didn’t lift much.


Not that it mattered. The ambient air temperature was in double digit Celsius, which for a Nordic inhabitant at this time of year is warm. However, judging from the attire worn by other passengers on Trenitalia, the Italian national train service that I have spent a respectable number on hours on the past few days, it would seem that a temperature remotely approaching single digit figures warrants a wooly cap and goose feather ski-jacket. Interestingly, increasing by degrees of haute-couture the closer to Milan where umbrella sales were seemingly booming in the inclement weather. Good news too for pellet sales I’d hazard a guess.

Today’s rendezvous was to a dairy farm with a biogas plant – correction, two 0.99 MWe biogas to power plants and an ENplus certified wood pellet plant, (ID IT no. 12). Kudos too to Italy-headed biogas technology developers and providers BTS who built both biogas plants, almost a decade apart and with two different technical philosophy’s (mesophyllic and thermophyllic).


Let me run that by you again keeping in mind that this part of Italy is reminiscent of the Netherlands: flat, behind flooding embankments and nothing that remotely (Nordic bias) would resemble a “forest”: a dairy farm with two biogas to power plants (2 x 0.99 MWe) and an ENplus certified wood pellet plant.

Living off the land, farmers tend to be a “pragneurial” lot with the future in mind. To be crystal clear – I do not mean to be in any way sarcastic, or worse, derogatory. Without spoiling coming reports there is a certain irony in that a relocation from Verona to Molinella, on account of industrial rezoning to accommodate the expansion of a global soft-drinks major, actually paved the way for what is now a dairy and energy farm – food and fuel if you will.

Despite not being a gambling man, I’d still bet that La Familia Pasini in Molinella have pretty much already figured out what they might do with biogas to power plant numero uno that, in about five years time, will be retired from the current feed-in tariff (FIT) system.


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