NEWSLETTER - Green Cross Italia
Biomass for sustainability

There is a form of renewable energy, frequently minimized and without the same mediatic limelight of the eolic and the photovoltaic ones. It's the biomass energy.
The undervaluation of this kind of energy has not technology nor social justification.
The biomass energy, in fact, has many potentials both in the north and in the south of the world. It needs a simple and repeatable technology with underestimated features, also in Europe.
Some days ago, Itabia (Italian Biomass Association) has produced a report regarding this renewable source, that highlights a substantial stall of the Old Continent on this front.
This document points out that the biomass penetration in the energetic market proceeds slowly, so the European goal expected for the 2012 year will be heardly achieved.
Reason of this is the excessive breaking up of the biomass market. This aspect is not to be undervaluated, specially in a middle-term perspective. To develop, the renewable energies need an energetic framework, distributed and unlocated. For the biomass it is also necessary to deepen analysis and to formulate proposals in order to find an energetic policy really stimulating the operators. The latter need to be facilitated in the passing from a fragmented and closed situation to an open, cooperative and of exchange framework. Essentially, it's necessary to begin to arrange a system drawing all the "spinneret".
According to the Itabia report, Italy could reconvert, in the short-term, about 1 million hectares of land into energetic cultivations. This could guarantee an annual production of about 10 million tons of biomass, equivalent to an energetic potential of 4 Mtep/year. To this production we could add the wood sustainable management (4 Mtep/year), the use of agricultural residuals (7 Mtep/year) and the exploitation of the biodegradable wastes (8 Mtep/year).
Important numbers are at stake, 23 Mtep/year in total, that could produce sustainability as well as occupation. It's estimated, in fact, that the biomass sector development could generate 1.700 jobs/TWh (1 billion of kWh) against the 116 ones of the coal and the 100 ones of the nuclear.
The goal of 23 Mtep means to generate over 100 TWh, we can also estimate about 150.000 working units related to the biomass development.
Moreover, if, on one hand, there is consciousness of the fossil energies tendential slope, especially in the extraction phase, on the other, it doesn't seem that the actual energetic model, based on the gigantism, the centralization and the inefficiency, is been changed.
The risk is that, persisting in this way, the development of all renewable energies may shelve before it begins.
Of this risk are conscious nations rich in these energies but deficient in resources as China. This Country has recently launched a strong "road map" that will drive Asia into a 10% amount of Renewable in 2010.
In the meantime, Europe and Italy are risking of missing a chance in the biomass sector.

Elio Pacilio
Green Cross Italia Vice - President


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