The identikit. Trigeneration: what to know about it

“Trigeneration’ is the combined production of electricity, heat and cooling. Here is what you need to know about this technology and the products of Century Corporation and Capstone Green Ener-gy, both partners of the IBT Group, with relevant case studies to give you a complete and in-depth overview.

What is trigeneration

Trigeneration refers to the combined production of electrical, thermal and cooling energy, using turbine cogenerators to power absorption chillers used in air conditioning systems or industrial processes. Also known by the acronym CCHP (Combined Cooling, Heating and Power), trigenera-tion can be used for both heating and cooling needs: not surprisingly, it is widely used in sectors that require cooling systems. A trigeneration plant, like a cogeneration plant, can be powered by liquid or gaseous fuels, from fossil or renewable energy sources. From these fuels, and through the recovery of heat produced and originally dispersed during the power generation process, three energies are obtained in combination: electrical, thermal and cooling. Better exploitation of the fuel’s calorific value means that less energy is dispersed, which leads to savings in both economic and environmental terms, since less fuel consumption helps reduce CO2 emissions into the at-mosphere.

Trigeneration: Century and Capstone technology

IBT Group provides cogeneration and trigeneration plants aimed at energy efficiency, custom-designed and using the latest technologies in different sectors, from Chemical, Paper, Residential, Hotel & Wellness, Food & Beverage, in short in all production sectors where efficiency is com-bined with the need to modulate and pursue the EU measures “Fit for 55” to reduce CO2 emis-sions. Capstone turbines, for example, are used for both cogeneration and trigeneration, conse-quently also powering absorption chillers that produce chilled water to be used in the air condi-tioning system. Capstone’s “oil-free” patent, unique in the world and of aeronautical origin, refers to the complete absence of lubricating oil thanks to special air-bearings that support the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact, limiting friction only during start-up and shutdown, while ensuring a significant reduction in energy bills, low maintenance and zero emissions. Centu-ry chillers, through the absorption process, also ensure high energy efficiency with 2000 kW cold produced with less than 10 kW electric. They are also eco-friendly (100% ozone safe, CFC free), easy to use, silent and low maintenance.

Both partners of the IBT Group therefore guarantee high energy efficiency, always respecting the environment, by means of standard products or products that can be adapted to customers’ needs, thanks to trigeneration processes.

Case studies: CEM Ambiente and Conad

The first case study refers to CEM Ambiente, the former landfill site, converted into a park, in the province of Milan, where a trigeneration plant has been installed, which makes the most of the fuel even with the low concentrations of methane present in the biogas of a landfill at the end of its life cycle. Here there are 5 Capstone CR65 Landfil gas turbines fed with biogas of biological origin with IAFR qualification; thanks to the thermal energy produced by the turbines, and through a heat recovery system, hot water is also produced for heating the offices and cold water for air conditioning by means of a Century absorption refrigerator.

Data Centres and energy efficiency: possible solutions

“Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases through the use of Bitcoin. We are concerned about the rapidly growing use of fossil fuels for mining and transactions”: this is how Elon Musk’s tweet of 13 May announced that he had given up bitcoins at least until their environmental impact had been reduced. But it is not only Bitcoins that are emitting an exponential amount of CO2 into the atmosphere: the entire internet world has to deal with this problem, and at the head of this IT infrastructure are data centers.

Here’s what you need to know about their environmental impact, the possible solutions and a great new product from IBT Group and Capstone Green Energy, which aims to make data centers more energy efficient!

Data centers: the dilemma of considerable CO2 emissions

What are data centers in the first place? They are buildings that house huge amounts of servers, storage (data filing systems) and devices that ensure the operation of an IT infrastructure. In order to keep these centers running 24/7, not only is a considerable amount of energy required, but also cooling systems to counteract the heat that is given off. These days, they are getting bigger, more numerous and more efficient, but they also consume more and more energy to operate. This problem was already apparent ten years ago and, to date, the CO2 emissions from the internet amount to some 1.7-1.8 billion tonnes. To give an example, at the end of 2018, the Bitcoin network was responsible for the emission of up to 22.9 million tonnes of CO2 per year. And the forecasts are not optimistic: by 2025 in fact, one fifth of the world’s energy consumption will be attributable to the ICT sector according to a study published in the Guardian by researcher Anders Andrae. It is also estimated that 3% of CO2 emissions will be attributable to data centers in the next four years. If on the one hand technological development is positive in terms of innovation, which heralds an increasingly smart future, on the other hand it is negative in terms of the consequences that these data centers have on the environment, and therefore on the future of our planet.

Possible energy efficiency solutions applicable to data centers

In order to solve the problem of CO2 emissions from data centers, it is necessary to go down new paths in the name of sustainability from the outset; the solutions currently being exploited in this regard involve the use of renewable energy or self-production of energy. Google, for example, has been using only clean energy to power its data centers since 2017, and plans to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2030. Aruba, on the other hand, has distinguished itself for the design of green data centers: above all, the Global Cloud Data Center stands out, the largest data center campus in Italy in Ponte San Pietro (Bergamo), which uses its own hydroelectric power station and a photovoltaic system for the entire energy supply, foreseeing the release into the atmosphere of almost 18 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year. If, therefore, the electricity consumed by the data centers came 100% from renewable sources, then they would be 100% green. And, according to research by MarketsandMarkets, the market for sustainable data centers will be worth 140.3 billion by 2026: a goal we can start working towards today.

IBT Group and Capstone Green Energy: big news on the way…

IBT Group, together with its partner Capstone Green Energy, a world leader in turbine technology with more than 100 registered patents, aware that the problem of CO2 emissions due to data centers is becoming more and more topical, will soon communicate a reliable solution for the self-production of energy that will allow a 100% reduction of these emissions. That’s right, 100%. Energy efficiency will be achieved thanks to new turbine-based trigeneration systems powered by biomethane from Capstone Green Energy. But the benefits do not end there, as these systems will allow the implementation of other essential functions for data centers… Stay tuned on our social channels and website to discover this new solution signed IBT Group and Capstone Green Energy, coming soon!

Turbo-cooling: applications and uses

What is meant by turbo-cooling? What are the specifications of this technology and which Century Corporation products are distributed by the IBT Group? Here’s everything you need to know about it, how it works and its advantages, with case studies.

Century Corporation technology at the service of turbo-cooling

Since 2004, the IBT Group has been the exclusive partner for the European market of Century Corporation, a South Korean company that has been a leader in the production of absorption refrigerators and HVAC applications since 1968. Highly innovative and made up only of top quality materials, these systems, also known as chillers, derive from studies conducted in 1926 by Albert Einstein and his former student Leo Szilard, and operate by using waste thermal energy instead of electricity to produce cooling energy that can be reused in industrial processes. The advantages are many: from high energy efficiency to low costs and maintenance requirements, from ease of use to being silent, modulable and manageable even remotely.

Century Corporation’s turbo-cooling systems

The efficiency of turbogas plants is affected, especially in summer and mid-season, by the temperature of the ambient air as it is used as combustion air.
The solution to this problem is turbo-cooling, which allows the combustion temperature to be kept stable and close to ISO conditions (or even lower) so as to have a constant high efficiency of the turbo-gas throughout the year.
The turbo-cooling system uses a small proportion of the heat produced by the turbogas to power a Century absorption refrigeration unit. The cooling energy produced by the Century is used to reduce the temperature of the combustion air in the turbo-gas in order to achieve a higher and less fluctuating efficiency of the turbo-gas itself.
IBT Group is able to adapt the turbo-cooling system of Century chillers according to the needs of each customer to maximise energy efficiency and support them at every stage, from design to installation and after-sales services.

Case studies: Cartiere San Lorenzo and Cartiere del Chiese

Two case studies attesting to the use of Century Corporation turbo-cooling systems both belong to the paper industry: they are the San Lorenzo paper mill and the Cartiera del Chiese paper mill. The former, based in Gassano (Fivizzano), has been equipped since 2017 with an Opra OP16 with Century absorption chiller AR-D115L2, with a cooling capacity of 404 kW. The second one, based in Montichiari (BS), has seen in 2015 the installation of a 7.5 MWe Turbogas with a Century absorption chiller AR-D150L2, with a cooling capacity of 550 kW.

Chilled and superheated water: advantages and applications of microturbines

Capstone Green Energy microturbines have a number of advantages, one of which is their high production capacity for heat carriers such as chilled water and superheated water, making them ideal for applications in various sectors such as food and beverage, hospitals and pharmaceuticals. Here’s what to know about them.

Advantages and specifications of microturbines

Capstone Green Energy is a Californian company, world leader in turbine technology with over 100 registered patents for cogeneration, that is, the combined production of electrical and thermal energy, of which IBT Group is the exclusive partner for the Italian market. Capstone’s most important patent, of aeronautical origin, is the one concerning the “oil-free” technology: this refers to the complete absence of lubricating oil thanks to the use of air bearings (air-bearings) that support the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact. There are many advantages to this application: first and foremost, the modulation of electricity and heat production according to the instantaneous needs of users from 0 to 100%. Another advantage is that microturbines have the lowest atmospheric pollutant emissions available today: NOx < 18 mg/Nm3; CO < 50 mg/Nm3 (at 15% oxygen), well below legal limits. In addition, the absence of lubricating oil means less need for maintenance. Other noteworthy features are the absence of vibrations, low noise emissions and remote control software, which make this technology absolutely innovative.

The application of microturbines to produce chilled and superheated water

Capstone Green Energy microturbines can be used for the combined production of electricity and sub-zero glycol water. This solution is perfect for the logistics and food industries where refrigeration at low temperatures is widespread.
Thanks to a specific application with an oil-free Capstone Turbine built and operating on multiple sites, it is possible to produce sub-zero cooling energy at a controlled temperature, without the use of electric chillers, thus saving electricity.

This allows superheated water to be produced to feed a specific ammonia absorption unit for the production of glycol water from -6°C to -60°C. The system ensures primary energy savings of over 30%, with overall efficiency peaks of over 85%. Microturbines are also used for the combined production of electrical and thermal energy. The system allows the use of a Capstone gas turbine and a specific heat recovery module (HRM), sized for the production of superheated water at the required in-out temperature, guaranteeing savings of over 30% of primary energy, with a combined production of electricity and over 80% of the heat recovered from the exhaust gases in the form of superheated water.

Case studies: Surgital and Coati

As already mentioned, these applications are ideal for the logistics and food industry, and the following case studies refer to this sector, starting with Surgital, leader in the production of frozen convenience foods. At its Lavezzola site, the IBT Group has installed a system for the simultaneous production of electricity, steam and sub-zero cooling energy for its futuristic storage warehouse. The system consists of a Capstone C600 oil-free gas turbine and a recovery steam generator equipped with an air vein burner for post-combustion of the exhaust gases, which produces the saturated steam used for the production process and the cooling energy required by the storage warehouse.

The second example takes us to Valpolicella, where the Salumificio Fratelli Coati is based: here, the IBT Group has installed a CCHP (Combined Cooling Heat and Power) system based on Capstone technology. The first of its kind in the meat processing sector in Italy, the new system allows the company to meet its efficiency targets by providing reliable power, significant cost savings and environmental benefits. The use of this technology allows the three energy carriers to be produced autonomously, even during maintenance periods. The CCHP system provides around 80% overall energy efficiency. This equates to significant energy savings of around 9,600 MWh per year, while also avoiding the emission of 2,400 tonnes of CO2.

Capstone celebrates Earth Day 2021 with its transformation into Capstone Green Energy Corporation

On April 22nd, he World Earth Day, our partner Capstone wanted to communicate a revolutionary change that will reflect the daily activity of an entire industry. Capstone Turbine Corporation the world’s leading manufacturer of clean technology microturbine energy systems, announced that effective immediately it will become Capstone Green Energy Corporation, a global partner in carbon reduction and green energy solutions.

With this new name and a new website (https://www.capstonegreenenergy.com/), Capstone demonstrates its intent to remain focused on clean energy technologies, while expanding its carbon reduction solutions portfolio to include new clean energy conversion technologies, as well as developing hydrogen-based products and bolstering its Energy as a Service (EaaS) business.

Our name is changing to reflect our evolution as a Company and the developments we are planning. While we have a new name, Capstone’s mission and goals for the future remain resolute, and that is to be a highly trusted partner providing energy conversion systems, microgrid solutions, energy as a service, and strategic energy management.” Said Capstone Green Energy Chief Executive Officer, Darren Jamison. “Capstone Green Energy will help customers build and maintain smart energy infrastructure and engage with them as a long-term service provider and partner for their critical carbon saving initiatives.

It is an ambitious and visionary goal but it’s mandatory” replied Ilario Vigani, President & CEO di IBT Connecting Energies GmbH. “We are proud of being a valued partner of the Capstone community, ready to move towards smart energy solutions that will help us to further lower carbon footprints and save on energy costs.

Cogeneration: what to know about it

A process that allows an average saving of more than 30% thanks to the “free” production of the thermal vector in the form of hot water, steam, hot air and diathermic oil: this is cogeneration in terms of efficiency, a technology that generates electrical and thermal energy at the same time, exploiting the heat that would otherwise be dispersed and with a single primary energy source (fuel).
In this article, we are going to deepen the characteristics of cogeneration and the advantages of this type of plant, discovering the IBT Group’s solutions also by means of some explanatory case studies.

IN COSA CONSISTE LA COGENERAZIONE
Cogeneration stems from the need to simultaneously produce electrical and thermal energy in a single plant: the separate production of these two energies presupposes a large consumption of fuel, while this technology, also known as CHP (Combined Heat and Power), guarantees considerable savings, exploiting the heat normally dispersed in industrial and civil use, both internally or distributed in the network. This system therefore generates its own electricity and allows the recovery of heat that would otherwise be lost during the electricity production process. A cogeneration system uses different types of fuel (of fossil origin, or originating from waste disposal or biomass such as biogas) to ensure the operation of the electricity generators, then using devices to recover the heat produced by the turbine or internal combustion engine to obtain useful thermal energy (generally in the form of steam or hot water).

ADVANTAGES AND APPLICATIONS OF COGENERATION PLANTS
The main advantage of cogeneration plants is that they reduce primary energy consumption by an average of 30%. A second, fundamental advantage is that if the emissions of pollutants from energy production are reduced, the environmental impact of the process is also reduced, thus contributing to the protection of the planet’s atmosphere. An important aspect of cogeneration, specifically with the Capstone turbine, is the ability to reduce the risks associated with energy supply interruptions due to grid problems. This technology is available in a specific version that allows efficient electrical backup, switching to stand-alone operation in the event of a grid failure. In Italy, for example, White Certificates are awarded to all cogeneration plants that obtain the CAR qualification, “high-efficiency cogeneration”, which occurs when the value of the resulting primary energy savings is at least 10%, or if it has a positive value in micro-cogeneration units (< 50 kWe) or small cogeneration units (< 1 MWe). To attribute annually these awards is the GSE, Gestore dei Servizi Energetici; at European level, the identification, promotion and development of CHP is defined by Directive No 2004/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on the promotion of cogeneration based on a useful heat demand in the internal energy market. IBT Group is specialized in providing innovative and tailor-made solutions in the field of high-efficiency cogeneration: with more than 250 Capstone turbines (Capstone turbine corporation is a historical partner of IBT Group) installed, for a total of 25 MW of electrical power and more than 6,000,000 hours of operation, IBT Group ensures maximum efficiency in the food & beverage, paper, hotel & wellness, hospital, chemical & textile, biogas & water purification and hybrid mobility sectors.

CASE STUDY: SOLVAY AND GETFIT FITNESS CENTRE
An example of the efficiency of cogeneration plants applied to the chemical sector is the Solvay Silica GBU plant in Livorno. Solvay, a leading company in the chemical sector, has in fact adopted Capstone oil-free gas turbine technology in this plant to implement the continuous silica drying process, with overall efficiency peaks of over 95% for an annual operation of more than 8500 hours. This integrated system consists of a 1000 kWe turbine powered by methane gas which produces electricity, used for the production process, and exhaust gases at 280°C which are conveyed to an atomiser for drying the silica.

In a completely different field, such as wellness, the centre in Via Meda of GetFIT, the leader in fitness in Lombardy, stands out: it too uses a high-efficiency Capstone oil-free turbine cogeneration plant, which saves 30% primary energy and reduces emissions to such an extent that it largely complies with the stringent CO2 regulations in force in the central areas of Milan.

Low emissions: what this means and IBT’s oil-free solution

WHAT IS MEANT BY LOW EMISSIONS AND WHAT THE CURRENT LEGISLATION SAYS

Energy production involves the generation of pollutants, including greenhouse gases, which are released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

EU directives have set European targets to be achieved by 2030: Italy should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions levels by 43% compared to 1990 levels. We must decarbonise our world!

In short, to achieve these results, we need to save electricity!
Therefore, within the energy system, the National Integrated Energy Plan assigns a fundamental role to energy efficiency and renewables.

Energy efficiency is ALSO through technological innovation!

How technological development will curb climate change.
We tell you about the history and development of what remains an absolute technological innovation.
For over 30 years, Capstone has been developing, selling and servicing cogeneration solutions for the combined production of electricity and heat, efficiently meeting the energy needs of its customers around the world. Capstone’s most important patent is for oil-free technology: derived from aerospace technology, it is the result of over ten years of research that has led to the complete absence of lubricating oil inside the turbines. This is possible thanks to the use of special air bearings that support the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact. These bearings operate on a film of air generated by specific airfoils placed on the turbine shaft. This means that friction only occurs during the start-up and shutdown phases of the machine. Moreover, friction phenomena are stress-free as they are cushioned by a specific support structure that guarantees the durability and functionality of the mechanical parts over time. It is therefore a very clean installation that does not require any maintenance related to lubricating oils.

IBT’S TECHNOLOGIES AND LOW EMISSIONS
The IBT Group uses international partners who are leaders in their field, such as Capstone Turbine Corporation, to offer solutions that boast emissions well below the legal limit thanks to their advanced and patented technologies, such as Capstone’s oil-free turbine.
The use of Capstone turbines saves on the energy costs of a hospital facility, for example, without affecting the continuity and quality of the self-produced energy and, above all, meeting the regulatory and social requirements of environmental and economic sustainability in the present, as well as in the future.
This is possible thanks to the special features of Capstone technology, which is fully aligned and has always been integrated into the paradigms of environmental sustainability (e.g. the total absence of lubricating oils and cooling liquids). The only moving part of these systems is the shaft joint to the turbine and generator, which “turns” on air bearings, thus without any friction, at very high speeds. The generator is cooled by the flow of air from the turbine’s intake duct. It is thanks to these unique and industrially patented technical features that the Capstone turbine requires neither lubricating oil nor coolant. The result is a very low rate of polluting emissions into the atmosphere, the lowest available today (NOx less than 18 mg/mc and CO < 50mg/mc without the aid of catalysts).
In the various operating modes envisaged, the machine can modulate the electrical power supplied from 0% to 100% according to the electrical demand of the user. This allows a reduction in consumption, adapting the machine to the real energy needs of the moment. Thanks to the absence of consumables such as lubricating oil and cooling liquids for the turbine, there is a reduced need for maintenance, which means very little downtime. Another aspect of environmental sustainability derives from the total absence of vibrations, which means that the Capstone turbine package can also be installed on the roof as well as externally, as it is designed to be exposed to the elements without fear. Finally, noise emissions are low: < 65dBa @ 10 m as overall free field average sound pressure.

OUR CONTRIBUTION TO DECARBONISATION

  • The lack of lubricating fluids, replaced by air-bearings
  • The lack of coolant for the generator, which is cooled by the air flow from the turbine intake duct
  • The consequent need for no catalysts, as Nox levels are well below the minimum levels set by regulations
  • The enormous modulation capacity of the turbine, which adapts instantly to the user’s ACTUAL electricity demand.
  • The technical aspects developed by Capstone Turbine together with IBT’s know-how in plant design are the perfect combination to contribute to the decarbonisation process.

RELATED DATA AND STATISTICS
The figures confirm the remarkable decarbonisation results achieved by the IBT Group’s plants in favour of environmental sustainability: in 20 years of activity, 80,000 tonnes of CO2 have not been released into the atmosphere, while 6,000,000 hours of operation have been achieved by the more than 250 Capstone turbines installed and more than 200 absorption chillers installed, for a total of 12,000,000 hours in operation.

Our World: Capstone Turbine Corporation

The year 2021 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the partnership between IBT Group and Capstone, a leading Californian company and the only manufacturer in the world of energy systems with gas turbines with “oil-free” technology, of which IBT is the exclusive distributor for Italy. Founded in 1988, Capstone, with over 100 registered patents, develops, manufactures, sells and does maintenance cogeneration systems: the combined production of electrical and thermal energy, enabling heat recovery. Capstone is committed to improving the efficiency of energy needs worldwide, while reducing global emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Capstone’s systems help end users improve their impact on the environment by meeting power and reliability needs. To date, Capstone has shipped nearly 10,000 units to 83 countries and saved customers approximately $219 million in annual energy costs by avoiding the emission of as much as 368,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

Among the areas of application of Capstone systems designed and implemented by IBT Group are the hotel, food & beverage, textile, paper, hospital and pharmaceutical, retail & office, biogas from digester, landfill, district heating sectors.

The patented “oil free” technology, from aerospace derivation, is the result of more than ten years of research that has developed an important and unique technology, given by the complete absence of lubricating oil in the special bearings that help to support the shaft of the turbine in rotation without mechanical contact. These bearings operate on a film of air that is generated by specific aerodynamic profiles that are located on the axis of the turbine. Therefore, friction occurs only during the start-up and shutdown phases of the machine. These friction moments are also defined as stress-free as they are cushioned by a specially designed support structure that ensures durability and functionality of the mechanical parts.

Capstone turbines simultaneously generate electrical and thermal energy in the form of hot air. Through specific applications, thermal carried in the form of exhaust gas could be convert to the process uses needed by the user, as saturated steam, hot air for drying process, freezing or chilled water for trigeneration system. An example in this last case, the system with Capstone uses hot water obtained with the above transformation, conveyed in a Century absorption refrigerator which, through a specific transformation process, uses it to produce chilled water then used in an air conditioning system.

The Capstone gas turbine allows a great flexibility of use both for the variation of the biogas flow rate and for the variation of the methane concentration: the system allows a modulation of the electric power from o% to 100% of the nominal power.

For any structure / industry that is subject to a seasonality of energy needs, the plant with Capstone turbine allows the modulation of energy production following the peaks of demand.  This result is obtained by varying the speed of rotation of the turbine from beginning of generation to 96,000 rpm (rated power).

Thanks to their “oil free” design, the turbines have the lowest emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere available today (NOx < 9 ppmV / < 18 mg/Nm3) allowing their installation and use without any catalytic or SCR system to abate the pollutants emitted. In terms of investment, against an initial expenditure, the recovery is between 2 and 5 years. The reduction in consumption alone is considerable, we are talking about more than 30%. Finally, the simplicity of the cogeneration arrangement based on the Capstone turbine package, the “oil free” technology, the absence of refrigerant liquids, the absence of the catalytic emission abatement system, determines a drastic reduction in both maintenance costs and the plant downtime required for the same. The modularity of Capstone systems allows you to perform maintenance to a turbine while the others continue to work.

For after-sales service, Capstone espouses IBT’s values of attention and care for the customer. Through FPP “full service” contracts, once the system is installed, at least 10 years of maintenance are guaranteed to maintain the same level of savings and efficiency of the system.

To date, more than 250 Capstone turbine systems have been installed by IBT Group, for a total of 25 MW of electrical power.

The identikit: Sustainability

A duty, a trend that has been steadily growing in recent years, a necessity, an indispensable element of our lives that must be introduced more and more, and ever more strongly, into our lives. Sustainability is all this, and much more. The term (deriving from the Latin “sustinere”), was used for the first time to refer to human development in harmony with the planet and its resources only from the 80s onwards: today, it indicates all those processes in the environmental, economic and social spheres that respect and act in the name of a reality where there is a balanced relationship between the Earth and man, and where “giving” and “receiving” are balanced with each other. In a world where “waste” and “too much” seem sadly to be part of the daily habits of each of us, some realities are constantly working to reverse this course, and to introduce sustainable solutions in various areas of life, both private and professional: among these, undoubtedly falls the energy sector, and IBT Group is proud to offer for 20 years highly efficient energy solutions in full respect of the environment. How? We explain it below.

 

SUSTAINABILITY AND ENERGY, HIGH EFFICIENCY COGENERATION FOR THE DECARBONISATION OF THE COUNTRY

When we talk about sustainable energy, we refer to those ways of producing and using energy that take into account the environmental impact of these processes, researching and developing optimal technological solutions while respecting the resources available to them; an example of this are the production processes of micro-cogeneration and trigeneration, which working on smaller scales and consequently more sustainable, contribute to a greater extent to reducing environmental impact than large centralized plants.

Sustainable energy solutions address those undeniable environmental needs such as reducing the emission of pollutants from fossil fuels and thus reducing pollutants from the atmosphere and hydrosphere. In recent years, great strides have been made in these terms both in private homes and in the industrial and transport sectors, suggesting an increasing interest in sustainable energy which, more than anything else, represents a need and a duty.

The National Integrated Energy Plan foreseen by the EU directives that define the European objectives to be achieved by 2030, configures a strategic role to micro-cogeneration technologies for the decarbonization of the country. On the one hand, exploiting the already available infrastructure for transport, storage and distribution of natural gas, thus introducing efficiency in the energy system already in the short and medium term and, in perspective, incorporating additional shares of renewable sources such as bio-methane (exhaust gas from the process of digestion of biomasses).

Cogeneration, that is the combined production of electricity and heat, represents a technically and economically advantageous solution and therefore defined as high efficiency also for these aspects and, ERGO, sustainable for the peculiarities of technological innovation and energy saving that characterize it.

 

THE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY SOLUTIONS OF IBT GROUP

IBT Group was founded with the aim of developing highly innovative and sustainable technological solutions, which ensure maximum efficiency in business or industry. A commitment and a constant investment in terms of study and research, which can count on a dynamic and customizable approach, aimed at ensuring the highest quality.

To accomplish this, it uses state-of-the-art technologies characterized by the following prerogatives:

  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: tailor-made solutions aimed at containing the use of primary energy, thanks to the technology of Capstone turbines (exclusive partner of IBT Group)
  • THERMAL RECOVERY: the waste heat produced in industrial processes at medium and high temperatures is recovered and trasformed into cooling energy, through the high efficiency Century absorption chillers (exclusive partner of IBT Group)
  • RENEWABLE SOURCES PLANTS: CAPSTONE turbines, thanks to their high modulation capacity and operation even with low % of methane, can also be fed with biogas from recovery processes.
  • EMISSIONS INTO THE ATMOSPHERE:The most important feature of Capstone turbines is the complete absence of lubricating oil, which allows energy self-production plants a very low emission of pollutants, much lower than the regulations in force

These solutions are applicable and customizable according to specific requirements in multiple industries such as hotel & wellness, paper, hospital, food & beverage, pharmaceutical, transportation, district heating and many others.

 

IBT GROUP AND SUSTAINABILITY: CASE STUDIES AND DATA

The data confirm the remarkable results of decarbonization achieved by the IBT Group plants in favor of environmental sustainability: in 20 years of activity, 80,000 tons of CO2 are not released into the atmosphere, while 6,000,000 are the total hours of operation of more than 250 Capstone turbines installed and more than 200 absorption chillers installed, for a total of 12,000,000 hours. In terms of case studies, we mention

  1. production for the fleet of ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicles) ecological hybrid buses of the city of Brescia equipped with Capstone turbines, which represent the lowest level of emissions in Italy for this type of transport. All without any vibration and therefore also extremely silent.
  2. The trigeneration plant at Pepsi’s headquarters in Mykolaiv (Ukraine) includes two Century absorption chillers which, by recovering the water produced by the cogeneration plant and transforming it into thermal energy, increase the collective efficiency as well as the sustainability of the system.

These are just two examples of the IBT Group world and the possibilities offered by sustainable energy in the name of a reality based on respect and balance, always.

 

The News: The Digital Energy Efficiency Report 2020

The Digital Energy Efficiency Report aims at assessing the current state of the Italian market in the field of energy efficiency in the industrial sector and, this year, it has been drafted also in the light of the recent health crisis that has hit the country and the whole world.

 

THE THEMES OF THE DIGITAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY REPORT 2020

Specifically, during the 2020 Digital Energy Efficiency Report, these issues were explored:

  • Energy efficiency investment trends in the industrial sector with a focus on digital technologies
  • The evolution of the relevant regulations and incentive schemes
  • A comprehensive view of energy efficiency service providers and Energy Management Experts
  • The Impact of UVAM Pilot Projects on Industry
  • Energy efficiency in the transport sector, particularly in public transport
  • The impact of Covid-19 on industry and future prospects.

 

THE DIGITAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY REPORT 2020 AND COVID19

The industry-wide energy efficiency sector has taken a hit from the pandemic: according to estimates, it may have to wait until 2023 to see an investment level above the €2.5 billion achieved in 2019, which nevertheless represented just +1.9% compared to the previous year, when growth was 4.1%.

The 2020 Digital Energy Efficiency Report also includes a survey involving more than 150 companies and operators in the sector, developed by the Energy&Strategy Group of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, which analyzed investments related to both the hardware and software sides of energy efficiency.

 

INDUSTRIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN ITALY

This is about 2.6 billion euros of investment in industrial energy efficiency in 2019, just +1.9% compared to 2018, and more than 90% of this is related to hardware technologies, while only 7.5% concerns software for controlling and monitoring the performance of production cycles. However, it is in this minority band that the greatest growth is concentrated: +34% over 2018, equivalent to €200 million. This makes us understand how data management and energy diagnosis are increasingly important.

Compared to 2018, there is significant growth in interventions on the production process (+18%), a consolidated trend over the last three years that makes them rise to first place, and compressed air systems, which record a turnover of 170 million euros (16%); followed by HVAC and refrigeration systems (+6%); stable, however, investments in relamping (lighting) and inverters, and down (-5%) those in electric motors, cogeneration (-13% on 2018, itself down 24%) and combustion systems (-19%).

Thus, it is clear that technologies with a higher degree of maturity are being installed for replacement and are showing a decline in investment, while those with a lower degree of maturity are showing growth or stability.

 

THE RECOVERY WILL BE THERE AND WE WILL CREATE IT!

Two forecast scenarios have been studied for the near future: a trend scenario, which imagines a strong growth in investments (rebound effect) and another full recovery scenario, with a sustained increase in investments also in the following years and able to make up for the decline in 2020.

 

In both scenarios, we note that business development plans will, and should, be closely tied to investments in energy efficiency.

Among these investments, cogeneration plays a central role being a mature and reliable technology able to guarantee an energy and, therefore, an important economic saving. IBT, thanks to its long and consolidated experience in the energy sector, is able to evaluate, through a detailed energy analysis, the efficiency opportunities where a cogeneration or trigeneration plant allows fast investment returns. The same can be said with a simple absorption heat recovery.

This guarantees the client an economic saving that can be invested in the company’s core business.