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GE’s Jenbacher Biogas Plant Helps Eliminate Animal Waste, Curtail Site Emissions at Limena Farm


MILAN, ITALY - June 2008 : – Azienda Agricola 2G di Giuseppe and Paolo Gomiero, two commercial farmers and cattle breeders in Limena (PD), have selected an ecomaginationTM-certified Jenbacher gas engine from GE Energy to power the Baita del Latte farm’s first biogas plant.

The power plant uses biogas created by the digestion of a wet mixture of animal waste, or slurry, as well as agricultural biomass materials such as corn and rye. By using the biogas for power generation in place of fossil fuels, the project is expected to result in the reduction of the equivalent of about 5,000 tons of CO2 per year, thus providing significant environmental benefits.

The new biogas project allows Gomiero to address two common farming challenges: obtaining energy at sustainable prices and properly disposing of agricultural and animal wastes like cow manure and chicken dung, which presents an ecological and regulatory challenge for farmers due to its high content of nitrates.

“This project is an excellent example of an advanced solution to an ecological issue,” said Paolo Gomiero, who owns the Baita del Latte plant along with his two brothers, Rob erto and Lorenzo. “In fact, the EEC’s Nitrates Directive1 provides for very restrictive regulations in terms of chicken dung disposal. Thus the biogas plant actively contributes to the correct use of such substances. The anaerobic digestion of organic substances optimizes the initial product by making it more stable and odorless. Moreover, the remaining substrate is useful as an excellent fertilizer - eliminating the use of chemical substances.”

GE Energy supplied a Jenbacher type J320 GS cogeneration unit for this plant, which recently wentinto operation at the farmstead. The plant has an installed electric capacity of 1.06 megawatts (MW), with an efficiency of 40.8 percent. The power plant is equipped with a heat recovery system that utilizes the waste heat from the jacket water. The electricity produced is supplied to the Italian power distribution network, while thermal energy is recovered and used to power the biomass digestion process, the farm’s housing facilities and cattle sheds.

The Jenbacher engine is fueled by biogas created from 20 m3 of cattle effluent and approximately 50 tons of biomass each day. By delivering the electricity generated by the biogas engine to the public grid, Baita del Latte is able to obtain “Green Certificates” provided by Italian legislation. These certificates are negotiable instruments that prove electricity is being produced using renewable energy sources.

“The project is rewarding in terms of its economic return,” Paolo Gomiero added. “The plant is seen as a successful demonstration project. We expect many other farms will follow us because this territory in the Veneto region has been chronically troubled with energy demands that traditional sources, like fossil fuels, have not been able to fulfill.”

“Public programs that support the exploitation of organic waste and require the increased contribution of renewable energy are leading to new opportunities that may be of interest to the farming world,” said Mario Artoni, general manager of GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engine bu siness for Italy. “In Italy, legislation on the incentives for on-site electrical power from renewable sources has aroused great interest in biogas plants. Today, more than ever, the practical and economic answers to Italy’s energy and environmental challenges can be found in initiatives like this one-especially if they produce the outcomes we expect.”

GE Energy has already installed more than 800 Jenbacher gas engines in Italy, characterized by durability, reliability and the ability to combine high production density and an excellent cost/performance ratio with low levels of exhaust emissions. Thanks to these features, GE’s Jenbacher systems represent technological excellence among gas engines, generators and cogeneration systems. Jenbacher gas engines operate on natural gas as well as a broad variety of waste gases.


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