Fiusis: energy and fuel from pruning olive trees
Energy recovery from olive wood
Italy's Puglia Region has 380 000 hectares of olive groves. Pruning these trees yields around 800 kilotonnes of residual biomass each year and Fiusis uses this biomass to produce energy.
Since 2010, Fiusis has operated a 1 MWe cogeneration plant which generates approximately 8 million kWh. As well as energy, it manufactures wood pellets and an agricultural soil improver / fertiliser from the ashes produced by the plant. Fiusis has created a biomass supply chain that is perfectly integrated into its local environment, collecting, conditioning and removing pruning residues from more than 2 000 farms. Farmers no longer have to burn biomass in the fields, which reduces widespread and uncontrolled emissions.
The energy produced by the plant is considered to be clean and eco-sustainable. This is because the combustion of wood, the only raw material used, releases a quantity of CO2 equal to that removed from the atmosphere by the tree as it grew through chlorophyll photosynthesis, and so the final CO2 balance is zero. Given the sheer amount of wood available from pruning Salento's olive trees, the vast potential for energy recovery is obvious. What's more, this recovery provides additional income for farmers whose waste is transformed into a valuable resource.
- Fiusis is a biorefinery for energy production, and an example of real industrial symbiosis with the agricultural sector, making exellent use of crop residues.
- Fiusis was selected from among 140 companies as the "Best model of sustainable economic and social development of rural areas in European countries".
- The company has a turnover of EUR 2 billion and employs 33 people.
- The Calimera plant ensures that its emissions are much lower than the legal limits and is about to be awarded EMAS environmental certification.