From olives to energy
The Agresti family, in Andria, Apulia, has been producing superior quality extra virgin olive oil for more than three generations. The Agrolio oil is today considered an Italian excellence, recognized worldwide.
Currently the company has a considerable production capacity: four continuous processing lines, a traditional line with granite mills, a continuous vacuum line, 50,000 quintals of storage capacity, and finally, a bottling line of 2,500 bottles per hour. Since the very beginning, the company’s values have been based on attention to the environment, sustainability, ethics, quality, and safety.
For this reason, they have recently installed a 500kW biogas plant, 100% fed with olive pomace.
This is one of the first plants in the territory using this kind of feedstock and it’s a great example considering that in countries like Italy, about 3 million tons of olive pomace are produced per year.
With the biogas produced, the cogeneration module generates electricity for 1,400 homes and thermal energy for 350 homes.
“The plant is structured in four key areas: the loading of the liquid and solid phase, the anaerobic digestion, the benefits obtained from the cogeneration unit and the separation and transfer of the semi-solid material back to the fields. Olive pomace is a very important material in this area. Apulia is a very large producer of this organic material and, therefore, we have the possibility, here, to put in place a real circular economy.
The aim is to make the best use of the digestate produced by the plant, bringing organic matter back into the fields and therefore to be truly, concretely, someone who contributes to decarbonisation”, says Gianluca Visconti, Head of Strategic Marketing at BTS Biogas.
Savino Agresti, owner of Agrolio adds that: “The Agresti family has been attentive to tradition and innovation from day one, therefore the construction of a biogas plant that allows us to make the best use of the olive processing by-product, which a few years ago was considered let’s say « a problem » due to the short timeframes of the oil production campaign. In this context, we decided to make the most of this opportunity, to benefit from green electricity, thermal energy, and the digestate that is returned to the earth to reproduce quality and quantity. The issue of a circular economy supply chain is also not to be underestimated which, in this era of globalisation, allows our companies, the companies of our territory, to be more competitive, benefitting from the by-products”
- CHP unit supplied by AB -> 1 ECOMAX® 5 BIOGAS
- BIOGAS plant supplied by BTS Biogas
- ELECTRIC POWER: 500 kW
- THERMAL POWER: 521 kW
- Gross electricity : daily: approx. 12.2 MWh / yearly: approx. 4.5 GWh
- Gross thermal energy : daily: approx. 12.5 MWh / yearly: approx. 4.6 GWh