Bioenergy, biorefineries and green chemistry: ENEA projects to advance a more sustainable economy

With the widespread use of biomass for energy purposes, Italy is one of the leading countries engaged to exploit this potential renewable source for the production of bio-based products including chemicals, polymers, materials, feed and bioenergy, pursuing a cascading approach (biorefinery). It is true that substantial breakthrough have been achieved but the fact remains that R&D efforts are still necessary to address both technological and non-technological barriers. Development and demonstration of qualified innovative processes, technologies and components for the generation of both electric and thermal power in small-sized plants and the production of second-generation biofuels and sustainable biobased products, are the main challenges that needs to be addressed. In the above context, ENEA, in cooperation with both national and international stakeholders, has a number of R&D activities and a strategic projects portfolio. The focal point of ENEA’s activities as well as brief description of some prototype technologies, are described in the present communication

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by Giacobbe Braccio, Giacinto Cornacchia, Isabella De Bari and Vito Pignatelli, ENEA

DOI 10.12910/EAI2017-036

 

Biogas production from waste materials is one of the main research topics. Initiatives underway are aimed at the production and upgrade of biogas for electric power generation or for the grid. Innovative technologies are tested for the energetic valorisation of the digestate.

R&TD on second-generation biofuels is focused on both thermochemical and biochemical conversion processes of lignocellulosic materials. More precisely, fermentation of carbohydrates into bioethanol, production of hydrogen through fermentation of humid biomass and biofuels from microalgae cultures are some of the main activities. An important research infrastructure is available at ENEA Trisaia Research Centre for the biomass gasification to carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which represents a versatile platform for the production of energy and liquid biofuels, for instance, through the Fischer-Tropsch process. …