Refrigeration energy: what it is and what are its uses

Cooling energy is usually used in the form of chilled water at a temperature of 7-12°C. Where is it needed? We can start from the classic air conditioning of working environments, warehouses, offices etc. to industrial processes that require the cooling of specific production machinery up to Data Centers and Control Rooms.
By means of lithium bromide absorption chillers, we can produce the necessary cooling energy using the heat from the exhaust fumes coming out of the turbine, in this way we obtain the combined production of 3 different energies: electrical, thermal and cooling: Trigeneration.
Here’s what to know about the advantages and related procedures thanks to the solutions offered by IBT Group in collaboration with partners Century Corporation and Capstone Green Energy.

The absorption refrigeration unit

Trigeneration, also known as CCHP (Combined Cooling, Heating and Power), also allows the production of cooling energy useful for production processes and/or air conditioning of the rooms.
Century absorption refrigerators produce cooling energy using waste heat energy, but not electricity.
The transformation of waste heat energy into cooling energy takes place by means of the absorption cycle, which takes place in the following heat exchangers:

  • The evaporator: under high vacuum conditions, water boils at very low temperatures (about 3°C) and removes heat from the chilled water, thus creating water vapour at low temperature.
  • The absorber: this low-temperature water vapour then flows into the absorber, into which a highly concentrated aqueous solution of lithium bromide is sprayed; once these two elements have combined, the water vapour precipitates as a dilute solution.
  • The generator: the diluted solution is sent to the generator, where it is heated thanks to the recovered thermal energy. At this point, the steam separates from the solution (which becomes very concentrated) due to the high temperatures, and the solution is finally sent to the absorber.
  • The condenser: Water vapour flows into the condenser, which is cooled by water at room temperature. Here, it is transformed into distilled water which is then sent to the evaporator.

What are the advantages

First of all we are in the field of ENERGY EFFICIENCY. The only use of waste heat, instead of electricity, allows a considerable saving of primary energy and consequently the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Other advantages of the production of cooling energy from trigeneration are the high productivity indexes (2,000 cold kW are obtained with less than 10 electrical kW), the simplicity of management and reduced maintenance. Without neglecting the ecological aspect (it is a 100% safe process for the ozone layer, without CFCs), the low noise emissions and vibrations and the possibility of remote control. Finally, it is characterized by modulability, which guarantees high efficiency even in non-project conditions, by the possibility to adjust the temperature in a simple and immediate way and by the patented anti-crystallization system. All this is possible thanks to the solutions of Century Corporation, a South Korean company leader for over 50 years in the production of absorption refrigerators, electric refrigerators and turnkey HVAC systems for civil, industrial, nuclear and marine sectors and of which IBT Group is exclusive partner for Europe: their systems have a life cycle of over 30 years, thanks to their solid structure, which makes them a certainty for any application needs.

Trigeneration using absorption technology

The trigeneration realized with turbine cogenerators to feed absorption chillers allows to feed air conditioning plants and/or industrial processes in different sectors, from food & beverage to chemical, from pharmaceutical to paper industry for example. To power the turbine, liquid or gaseous fuels, fossil or renewable energy sources can be used.
The Capstone turbines, which operate in a patented “oil free” regime, produce electricity and “clean” heat. The part of the heat that is not used for the customer’s processes, is collected and conveyed in order to activate the absorption cycle of the Century chiller: the result of this trigeneration process is to obtain 3 different forms of clean energy, with a single source of primary energy (significant cost savings) while limiting the tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

What are biomasses and how are they used in the energy sector?

Biomasses are organic substances, specifically, according to DLgs 387/03, art. 2, paragraph 1, letter a, biomass is defined as “the biodegradable part of residual products from agriculture (including animal and plant substances) and forestry and related industries, as well as the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste”.
Biomass energy is actually the first renewable energy used by man! In order to obtain energy from biomass it is necessary that it produces biogas: a natural gas consisting mainly of methane, carbon dioxide and other elements (such as oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen) and is obtained by means of anaerobic fermentation of organic substances called biomasses (for example, OFMSW or waste from agriculture and agro-industrial activities).
In order to obtain a significant economic benefit, it is necessary to have a rather high material quantity of biomass, therefore very large processing areas.
The reference legislation also recognizes as biomasses the waste of organic substances such as OFMSW and the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste.

How a biogas plant works

Biogas is mainly used for the production of electrical and thermal energy, in cogeneration. In the last 5 years there has been a strong implementation of biogas plants:
Capstone Green Energy is a leader in cogeneration systems with gas turbines that use “oil-free” technology, a patent of aeronautical origin that refers to the complete absence of lubricating oil inside the turbines thanks to the use of air bearings capable of supporting the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact.
Thanks to its exclusive technology, it is possible to achieve energy self-production by using as fuel the biogas produced in water treatment plants following the anaerobic digestion of supero sludge and/or of FORSU (Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste), that is the organic material collected through separate waste collection.
This system is characterized by high overall efficiency, low maintenance requirements and near-zero emissions; moreover, it works even in presence of methane-poor biogas (CH4 > 30%) or with non-constant flow rates, thanks to the modulation capacity of the turbine, a factor that makes it particularly suitable for an end-of-life landfill. Finally, IBT Group is able to provide biogas analysis and/or treatment systems so that its qualitative characteristics are suitable to feed a cogeneration plant: in this way, it is possible to exploit in the best way both methane-poor biogas (like the one from landfills) and the one from anaerobic digestion (like the one from water treatment plants).

Where is biomass used?

Thanks to the partnership with Capstone Green Energy, IBT Group is able to provide biogas powered solutions perfect for end-of-life landfills and water treatment plants.
With regard to landfills, Capstone oil-free technology allows turbogenerators to operate even in the presence of biogas with low percentages of methane and decreasing flow rates over time, even in the case of landfills at the end of their life cycle.
In water treatment plants, on the other hand, again by means of oil-free Capstone technology, turbogenerators can operate even in the presence of biogas with low percentages of methane, or not with constant flow rates, ensuring efficiency and avoiding the problems mentioned above. And it is precisely in these areas that enormous progress has been made: thanks to continuous re-search and technological progress, it has been possible to make energy efficiency in compliance with stringent environmental protection regulations, using the waste we produce in our homes, i.e. waste organic material and waste water (white) of our human activities.
Purifiers and landfills use the electrical and thermal energy produced for the operation of the purifiers and biogas production equipment, as well as for their own offices: in perfect cycle!

Energy efficiency: what it is and how to achieve it

IBT Group, thanks to the collaboration with technological partners such as Capstone Green Energy and Century Corporation, deals with energy efficiency solutions made and sized according to the specific needs of each customer and using the latest technologies, so as to help companies to be more competitive in the market, always in total respect of the planet.
Such tailor-made solutions can reduce primary energy consumption and lower energy bills. Here is what to know when talking about energy efficiency!

What does efficiency mean?

When we talk about energy efficiency, we refer to all those interventions useful to obtain an increase in energy efficiency. In short, the aim is to increase the efficiency of the process so as to obtain the same result with less consumption and therefore fewer emissions into the atmosphere.
This principle is applicable to both public and private buildings, as well as to companies and commercial structures belonging to the most varied sectors. The energy efficiency allows to use the energy sources in an optimal way, with a lower energy consumption but without this going to affect minimally the performance. In addition, this expenditure aimed at improving energy efficiency also has numerous tax advantages. In full compliance with the objectives of the European Union, through the Green Deal (European Green Pact), aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050: in this document, you can read the declaration of intent that aims to “improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on energy imports, reduce emissions and stimulate employment and growth.

What is meant by energy efficiency interventions?

The objective of energy efficiency interventions is to optimise the relationship between energy requirements and the level of emissions. Possible works include the covering of walls or window frames with insulating material, the replacement of air conditioning systems and/or old generation boilers, the installation of solar panels, the introduction of lighting sources such as LEDs and the adoption of systems designed to produce energy with significant energy savings and emissions not released into the atmosphere, namely those applied to cogeneration and trigeneration: the first involves the simultaneous production of electrical and thermal energy, the latter in the form of hot water, steam, hot air and diathermic oil. The second involves a further phase of production of chilled water. Both solutions are offered by IBT Group through its partners Capstone Green Energy and Century Corporation, both leaders in the field of energy efficiency. Thanks to the work of energy efficiency, you can reduce the amount of energy demand and increase the performance of efficiency, while respecting the environment.

How do you measure energy efficiency?

When we talk about energy efficiency, it is very important to evaluate how and where energy is used, in what quantity it is consumed, what economic savings it brings and what impact it has on environmental resources. That’s why it is essential to install, both at private and public level, devices and tools that allow to monitor the real consumption and to obtain an effective optimization especially in the long term. To allow this, IBT Group provides a SCADA system with the visualization of all data, parameters and status of the plant also remotely. In addition, in a dedicated section are indicated all the economic values of savings generated by the system.

White certificates for cogeneration

When we talk about “cogeneration”, a process that allows the simultaneous production of electrical and thermal energy from a single primary source, obtaining economic savings thanks to lower fuel consumption, we cannot ignore the important facilitation represented by incentives such as white certificates. But what are they exactly? What advantages do they represent and, above all, how can they be obtained?

How do the White Certificates work for cogeneration?

The white certificates (also known as Energy Efficiency Certificates-TEE) are subsidies introduced by Ministerial Decree of 24 April 2001, and have the purpose of encouraging the implementation of energy efficiency projects such as the adoption of cogeneration plants. As made known by the European Directive 2004/CE, these are defined as high efficiency (or CAR) when the value of primary energy saving (PES) is at least 10% or, in the case of micro-cogeneration units (< 50 kWe) or small cogeneration units (< 1 MWe), when it assumes any positive value. White certificates are awarded annually by the GSE, which first ensures that the efficiency has been achieved and then awards the relevant number of white certificates for the following 10 years: it also carries out a preliminary examination of units not yet in service and indicates any shortcomings or changes to be made if a project does not comply with the regulations.

The criteria for taking advantage of the benefits of high-efficiency cogeneration

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a cogeneration plant can be defined as CAR if its efficiency exceeds a certain threshold which varies according to the power class of the cogeneration unit. The cogeneration units that can take advantage of these benefits are:

  • Those brought into operation as a result of new construction or renovation after March 6, 2007, for a period of 10 calendar years, beginning on January 1 of the year following the year of entry into operation.
  • Those brought into use as a result of new construction or renovation after 6 March 2007 and combined with a district heating network, for a period of 15 calendar years starting from 1 January of the year following their bringing into use.

How to obtain incentives with high-efficiency cogeneration

Every year the GSE verifies the CAR requirements and the allocation of TEE: to send your request for access to incentives, you must use only the RICOGE Portal, which allows you to upload all the data and documents needed to start the practice. It is also available a RICOGE User Manual to better understand all the steps of compilation and submission of documentation, which must be submitted every year by March 31 of the year following the production to which it refers. The preliminary documentation instead can be presented throughout the year. IBT, if the customer re-quests it, can be available for the preparation and presentation of the relative GSE practices for its own supplied plants.
The main benefits that current legislation recognizes to CAR are numerous, among which we find:

  • the precedence, in dispatching, of electricity produced from cogeneration over electricity produced from conventional sources;
  • tax relief on excise duty on methane gas used for cogeneration;
  • the possibility of accessing the on-site exchange service for electricity produced by High Yield Cogeneration plants with nominal power up to 200 kW;
  • the possibility of applying simplified technical and economic conditions for connection to the electricity grid;
  • the possibility of obtaining tariff concessions for plants powered by Renewable Energy Sources.

Austrian energy system will rely on rooftop solar to generate green hydrogen

Capstone Green Energy, of which IBT Group is the exclusive partner for the Italian market, has an-nounced an application that further opens the door to a future where energy efficiency and sav-ings (both in economic terms and in terms of CO2 not released into the atmosphere) are the pro-tagonists: the company will supply two hydrogen-powered C65 microturbines to the Austrian company Innovametall Stahl- und Metallbau. Here’s what to know about them!

The hydrogen-powered microturbine system from Innovametall Stahl- und Metallbau

Capstone Green Energy, following the success of its patented oil-free technology, has further con-firmed its position as a global leader in energy efficiency systems by installing two C65 micro-turbines at Austrian company Innovametall Stahl- und Metallbau, which will be used in an ultra-low emission Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system. This will provide on-site power to a powder coating plant in Freistadt and will be designed in a hybrid configuration, where solar panels in-stalled on the roof of Innovametall’s industrial hall will be responsible for generating renewable electricity. Excess electricity will instead be used to generate hydrogen, which will then power the micro-turbines. From there, the hot exhaust air from the turbines will be captured and used in the facility’s powder coating oven. This application is a real innovation, as it represents the first hy-drogen-powered microturbine system in Europe. This will initially operate with 10 per cent hydro-gen mixed with natural gas, but the amount is expected to increase gradually as Capstone ap-proves higher blending levels.

In addition to the microturbine system, which is expected to be operational in October 2021, Inno-vametall has purchased a 10-year full service maintenance plan, which fixes maintenance costs and provides both planned and unplanned repairs. The system belongs to Capstone Green Energy’s new ‘Hydrogen Solutions’ business line: following the commercial release of the hydrogen-based CHP product, which operates safely with a 10% hydrogen – 90% natural gas blend, Capstone is targeting a 30% hydrogen – 70% natural gas commercial release by the end of March 2022. “We are excited to offer a renewable hydrogen-based solution to meet the clean energy goals of to-day’s progressive businesses,” said Darren Jamison, president and CEO of Capstone Green Energy. An effective and reliable solution, as well as fully compliant with the Austrian government’s plans to increasingly integrate hydrogen into its environmental strategy.

Capstone Green Energy, IBT Group’s exclusive partner for Italy

Capstone Green Energy, of which IBT Group is the exclusive distributor for the Italian market, is a Californian company world leader in the technology of energy systems with micro gas turbines: with over 100 registered patents and more than 9,000 installations in over 80 countries, it deals with the development, construction, sales and service of cogeneration based on microturbine technology; in addition to modular solutions, customized solutions are also available according to the individual needs of customers who belong to various environments, from Food & Beverage to hospitals. The most important patent is undoubtedly the “oil-free” technology, of aerospace origin, which refers to the absence of oil inside the turbines, making it possible to obtain cogen-eration plants that guarantee, in addition to primary energy savings of > 30%, very low emissions into the atmosphere (with NOx < 18mg/Nmc and CO < 50 mg/Nmc), low maintenance costs, the possibility of modulating the electrical and thermal energy from 0 to 100% and ease of manage-ment.

High-efficiency cogeneration (CAR): from requirements to benefits

Cogeneration is a process that allows the simultaneous production of electrical and thermal energy. This saves both fuel and money, as the technology uses the heat that would otherwise be lost during the production process. If you intend to invest in a cogeneration system, you should know that you can benefit from various incentives if a plant obtains the CAR qualification, “high-efficiency cogeneration”. But what does this mean? And what are the relevant regulations?

What is CAR high-efficiency cogeneration?

A cogeneration system has a number of advantages: the new Ministerial Decree of 21 May 2021, which has just been published, talks about reducing the minimum threshold for access to virtual TEEs from the 30% minimum requirement to 20% of primary energy consumption, the lower number of harmful emissions released into the atmosphere, the reduction of risks linked to the interruption of power supply due to grid problems, and energy savings. They are particularly present in the industrial sector; however, in recent years, an increase in use has also been noted in the tertiary and residential sectors. There is also the aspect of incentives to consider: in Italy, for example, through the GSE (Gestore Servizi Energetici), it is possible to obtain White Certificates (TEE) after obtaining the CAR qualification in accordance with European Directive 2004/8/EC, implemented in Italy by Legislative Decree 20/07 and as amended by Ministerial Decree 4/8/2011 and 5/9/2011.

The publication of the Ministerial Decree of 21 May 2021 opens up the possibility of a relaunch for white certificates (TEE). The new decree introduces several positive elements, in principle greater collaboration between institutions and operators, hopefully keeping the percentage of rejected projects below the 10% threshold reached in recent years.
One barrier is the definition of the TEE limits recognised in the three-year period 2021-2024; the new definition confirms the downward revision of these limits in 2021 compared to previous years, with increases in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The new national and EU regulatory framework related to High Yield Cogeneration includes the legislation that came into force from 2012 to the present. In particular, the following should be noted: the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2402 of the Commission of 12 October 2015, which updates the harmonised yields for the separate production of electricity and heat contained in the Ministerial Decree of 4 August 2011, the Ministerial Decree of 4 August 2016, on the greater valorisation of energy from High Yield Cogeneration obtained following the conversion of existing sustainable bioliquid plants that supply industrial or artisan sites, and the Ministerial Decree of 16 March 2017, which contains simplifications within the scope of the construction, connection and operation of microcogeneration plants.

When an installation meets the High Efficiency requirements

According to the European Directive, a cogeneration plant can be defined as a CHP plant in which the efficiency exceeds a certain threshold (the latter established by the same legislation) which varies according to the power class of the cogeneration unit. This means that the primary energy saving (also known as PES, “Primary Energy Saving”) must be at least 10% higher than the limits for electricity and heat production for medium and large cogeneration units (Pot. > 1 MWe), while for micro (maximum capacity less than 50 kWe) and small cogeneration units (installed capacity less than 1 MWe), the PES must be >0. The PES is calculated with reference to the entire energy production associated with the fuel consumed during the year of interest for which the report is being prepared.

Benefits under CAR legislation

The GSE is in charge of verifying CAR requirements and assigning TEEs (White Certificates) on an annual basis, both for cogeneration units already in operation and for those not yet in operation. White Certificates (which have a variable duration) ensure energy savings due to efficiency increases through cogeneration plants. But what are the benefits provided by the legislation for CAR?

  • Priority for dispatching electricity from cogeneration over conventional sources;
  • Tax relief on excise duty on methane gas used for cogeneration;
  • Access to the on-site exchange service for electricity produced by CAR plants with a nominal power of up to 200 kW;
  • Simplified technical and economic conditions for connection to the electricity grid;
  • A series of tariff concessions for plants powered by Renewable Energy Sources;
  • The incentive opportunity for electricity produced in High Yield Cogeneration, net and fed into the grid from biomethane-fuelled plants;
  • The possibility for a thermoelectric plant not fuelled by a renewable source, present within a simple system of production and consumption, to be considered in a high-efficiency cogeneration set-up for year “n” provided that the energy cogenerated by the unit is, for year “n-1”, greater than 50% of the total gross electricity production of the plant to which that unit belongs.

Domestic trigeneration: what is it and what are the advantages?

Trigeneration is the combined production of electrical, thermal and cooling energy by means of turbine cogenerators that power absorption chillers used in air conditioning systems, industrial processes and for domestic use. IBT Group offers tailor-made trigeneration plants for energy efficiency thanks to the products of its partners Capstone Green Energy and Century Corporation, and we will focus on their domestic use, with its advantages, in this article: here is what to know about them.

Domestic trigeneration: what is it and what are the advantages?

Trigeneration, also known as CCHP (Combined Cooling, Heating and Power), can be used for both heating and cooling needs, and can be powered by liquid or gaseous fuels, fossil fuels or renewable energy sources. From these fuels, and through the recovery of originally produced heat dispersed during the power generation process, three combined energies are obtained: electrical, thermal and cooling. In this regard, IBT Group proposes systems consisting of a Capstone gas turbine and a Century absorption refrigeration unit.

By making the most of the heating power of the fuel, less energy is dispersed, which leads to savings in both economic and environmental terms, as there are fewer harmful emissions released into the atmosphere. Moreover, trigeneration, just like cogeneration, makes it possible to modulate the load according to the needs or periods of greatest activity/inactivity of a domestic user, especially with reference to the season and the relative methods of heating and/or cooling used: in this way, therefore, it is possible to exploit trigeneration systems even in the hot months when there is a high use of air conditioning.

What are domestic trigeneration plants?

Just like those of an industrial nature, domestic trigeneration plants make it possible to minimise energy waste (resulting in significant savings in economic terms) and, at the same time, to protect the environment. These have a power suitable for a domestic or small/medium-sized user and are defined as “microgenerators”, i.e. with a power of less than 50 kW. In the home, for example, a trigeneration plant can be used for air conditioning (just think of the extensive use we make of it in the summer), or in all situations where there is a need for heat and electricity that is generally constant throughout the year. In this way, it is possible to increase the energy efficiency of a household (either pre-existing or at the design stage) while keeping costs down.

How a domestic trigeneration plant works

The trigeneration plants supplied by the IBT Group exploit the technologies of partners Capstone Green Energy and Century Corporation: by means of Capstone turbines with patented oil-free technology (which 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 in the start-up and shut-down phases), Century absorption chillers are powered, producing chilled water to be used in the air conditioning system. They are easy to use, silent and require little maintenance, ensuring high energy efficiency while respecting the environment.

Gas turbines: what they are and how they work

Capstone Green Energy, a Californian company world leader in the production of cogeneration energy systems with micro gas turbines, of which IBT Group is the exclusive distributor for the Italian market, has more than 100 registered patents and 9,000 installations in over 80 countries, of which more than 250 installed by IBT Group. In this article, we will focus on the analysis of gas turbines: from their structure to their operation, passing through the possible applications, here is all you need to know about them!

Gas turbines

Capstone’s gas turbines convert combustion energy into electrical energy through the generator and recover thermal energy from the exhaust fumes. This is possible thanks to oil-free technology, of aeronautical origin, which has many advantages: from the modulation of the electrical load from 0 to 100% to the reduced emission of pollutants into the atmosphere (NOx < 18mg/Nmc and CO < 50 mg/Nmc, the lowest available today), from low vibration and noise emissions to low maintenance costs, with a guarantee of 8,600 continuous hours/year. This type of system is particularly suitable for facilities that need to modulate their electrical power according to seasonal or daily peaks in consumption and, for this reason, is widely used, for example, in the hotel, hospital, paper, food&beverage and textile sectors.

What type of engine is a gas turbine?

The gas turbine is the result of experience gained in the aeronautical industry by the founders of Capstone Green Energy, and not surprisingly is reminiscent of the one used in a turbojet engine. Inside, the Capstone turbine has only one moving part (the shaft on which the turbine and compressor are mounted), which rests on air bearings that support the rotating turbine shaft without mechanical contact. The absence of cooling liquids, vibrations and lubricating oil also means that there is no need to dispose of used oil, and represents a drastic reduction in both maintenance costs and downtime. In addition, friction moments, which only occur during machine start-up and shutdown, are “stress-free” as they are cushioned by a specially designed support structure that ensures durability and functionality of the mechanical parts.

The operation of gas turbines

The Capstone turbine module is a single-stage type characterised by an air compression section splined to the turbine shaft and a generator with a permanent magnet rotor. As far as its operation is concerned, during the start-up phase the turbine is made to rotate by the electric generator working as an engine until the system reaches self-sustaining speed. At this point, the mixture of fuel and air required to operate the turbine itself is sent into the combustion chamber; in doing so, the turbine will increase its speed of rotation until it reaches its rated power. In addition, the recuperator makes it possible to increase the temperature of the air entering the combustion chamber, thereby increasing the efficiency of the turbine module. The Capstone turbine is the world’s most advanced oil-free turbogenerator for high-efficiency self-generation of electrical and thermal energy, and is available in six modular sizes (from 30KWE to 1MWE) that can run on both fossil and renewable fuels.

Biogas plants: what you need to know

IBT Group is the exclusive distributor for the Italian market of Capstone Green Energy, a world leader in the technology of energy systems with micro gas turbines, which develops, builds, sells and offers assistance for cogeneration solutions, that is, the combined production of electrical and thermal energy. This type of plant can also exploit biogas, thus optimising the use of renewable energy resources and at the same time favouring the reduction of polluting emissions: here is what to know about it.

What are biogas plants?

But first of all… What is biogas? It is a natural gas consisting mainly of methane, carbon dioxide and other elements (such as oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen) and is obtained by means of the anaerobic fermentation of organic substances known as biomasses (e.g. OFMSW or agricultural and agro-industrial waste). Biogas-fuelled cogeneration plants therefore produce electrical and thermal energy simultaneously, using organic materials for their operation.

In this way, not only is energy produced efficiently, as both electricity and heat are obtained at the same time and using a single primary energy source, but also those materials considered “waste” can be exploited, for considerable savings both in economic terms (due to lower fuel consumption) and in harmful emissions not released into the atmosphere.

What are biogas for?

Biogas is mainly used for energy production (electricity and heat in CHP plants) or biomethane. For example, Capstone plants allow the production of electrical and thermal energy from biogas fuel even with variable availability and CH4 content >30%. The main advantage of using biogas is environmental: biogas does not contribute to the release of new greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus contributing to the balance of greenhouse gases emissions (unlike fossil fuels, which excessively increase greenhouse gases emissions in the atmosphere with the related negative effects on our climate); in addition to this, it has an economic advantage (due to the reduction in the use of fossil fuel and the exploitation of a material considered waste) and a reduction in the problem of storage and disposal of biological waste.

How does a biogas plant work?

Capstone Green Energy is a leader in cogeneration systems with gas turbines using “oil-free” technology, a patent of aeronautical origin that refers to the complete absence of lubricating oil inside the turbines thanks to the use of air bearings capable of supporting the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact. These systems allow for the self-production of energy from agricultural or food waste products, and are characterised by high overall efficiency, low maintenance requirements and near-zero emissions. They can also operate in the presence of methane-poor biogas or with non-constant flow rates, thanks to the turbine’s ability to modulate, a factor that makes them particularly suitable for end-of-life landfill.

In fact, among other advantages of Capstone systems, we also find the modulability from 0 to 100% of the electrical load, the absence of vibrations and low noise emissions, low need and ease of management, with the lowest emissions of all CHP systems with NOx < 18mg/Nmc and CO < 50 mg/Nmc. IBT Group also offers a biogas analysis and/or treatment service so that its qualitative characteristics are suitable to feed a CHP plant: in this way, it is possible to make the best use of both biogas poor in methane (e.g. landfills) and biogas from anaerobic digestion (e.g. water purification plants).

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.