Enel Green Power to combine geothermal, biomass in Italian power plant

Enel Green Power has started construction at the Cornia 2 geothermal power plant in the town of Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, in Tuscany. The power plant’s design uses biomass to heat geothermal steam to increase the energy efficiency and electricity output of the geothermal cycle.

The existing geothermal power plant will be supplemented by a small plant powered with locally sourced virgin forest biomass produced within a radius of 70 km from the plant: thanks to the biomass, the steam entering the plant will be heated to raise the initial temperature to between 370°-380° from 150°-160°, thereby increasing net capacity for power generation, thanks to both the greater enthalpy of the steam and the enhanced efficiency of the cycle due to lower humidity in the generation phase.

This plant supplements an existing industrial site, and the 5 MW of capacity from biomass will be added to a geothermal plant that currently has an installed capacity of 13 MW. T

The geothermal plant’s annual power output will be boosted by about 37 GWh. Enel Green Power is investing more than $18 million in the project, with construction due to be completed by the first half of 2015.

Overall, the biomass project will avoid the emission of an additional 17 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year. It will also have a major impact on employment, with the direct and indirect creation of 35 to 40 jobs in sourcing the local biomass.

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