Enel Green Power has begun construction on its “Cornia 2” geothermal power plant in Tuscany. When complete, this will be what the company believes is the first plant in the world that will use biomass to heat the geothermal steam as a means to increase energy efficiency as well as electricity output of the geothermal cycle.
The biomass will be sourced locally within a 70 km radius from the plant and produce 5 MW of power. Utilizing the biomass, the steam entering the plant will be heated to raise the initial temperature to between 370°-380° from 150°-160°. This will increase net capacity for power generation due to the greater enthalpy of the steam and the enhanced efficiency of the cycle caused by lower humidity in the generation phase. Currently the plant has 13 MW installed capacity. When the upgrades are complete in early 2015 the biomass/geothermal plant will increase capacity by 37 Gwh.
“Thanks to its century-long experience in geothermal energy, Tuscany is already in the future,” said the CEO of Enel Green Power, Francesco Venturini, “Hybrid technologies are the new frontier of renewable energy in our efforts to optimize performance, and this facility, which offers an innovative approach to integrating biomass and geothermal energy, is a replicable model that can open new prospects for the development of energy, the economy and employment for local communities.”