Solid biomasses are defined as the biodegradable part obtained from the maintenance of forests and agricultural and agro-industrial activities.
For the production of electricity, the sector draws mainly from forest management, field residues of farms, products deriving from explanting, lignocellulosic products such as straw, by-products from the processing of agri-food and forest products, virgin biomass obtained from wood processing (exempted from waste management) and also, to a lesser extent, from dedicated agricultural and forestry crops.
At a national level, the available quantity of urban green pruning is estimated around 3-4 million tons per year, with a disposal cost of about 180-240 million euros against a potential income of Euro 80-120 million in case of use for energy production. The economic benefit for the public administration could be around Euro 260-360 million per year.
The use of biomass for energy production generates stable environmental and economic benefits.
On environmental benefits, the electricity produced by the EBS plants is equal to over 2 million MWh per year avoiding the emission of 1 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, compared to fossil fuels.
On economic benefits, there are several positive spillovers for the local communities and the agricultural sector as they benefit from:
maintenance of the forest heritage
maintenance/reconstruction of active safeguards against hydrogeological instability
disposal of residual biomass (otherwise burned in unsuitable ways or subject to spontaneous fermentation with harmful emissions)
recovery of raw materials (otherwise charged to public administrations)
use of by-products and residual products
supply chain agreements signed with the Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policies
Much of the biomass used in the plants has an Italian origin. The use of agricultural products for energy production often represents an opportunity for additional income for the agricultural companies, without affecting crops destined for agri-food, while valuing crop rotation and optimizing production resources, thus ensuring market stability and reliable financial flows.