ASSESSMENT OF FEEDSTOCK POTENTIAL
IN TUSCANY AND IN ITALY
The objective of this study is the assessment of the availability
of biomass resources for potential pyrolysis plants to be located
Tuscany is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy; it
is located in the centre of the country and, with a total surface
of nearly 23000 km2, it has a population of approximately 3500000
With a forest surface extending for nearly 860000 ha, it is one of
the Italian regions with the highest forest index (corresponding to
about 37% of the region's territory).
The biomass availability assessment has been carried out by means
of GIS-based planning tool.
GIS is an acronym for Geographical Information System. Geographically
referenced maps and databases allow to evaluate the localisation of
resources, their typology and accessibility. The GIS tool has been
developed in partnership with European partners in the frame of EC
The Tuscany Forest Inventory (IFT), a database related to land use,
has been used for biomass source localisation. Additional information
have been included considering some geographical constraints in order
to exclude areas. In the case of forestry residues for example the
applied criteria have been: a slope lower than 70%, an easy accessibility
and a land slightly affected or free from erosion.
The biomass resources taken into account in this study have been:
- Forestry residues;
- Wood industry (sawmills, semi-finished products, carpentries and
furniture factories) residues;
- Agricultural tree crop residues;
- Agricultural herbaceous residues.
The potential has been estimated considering the accessibility of
the productive areas and the competing markets.
The most important source of biomass for energy purposes in Italy
is constituted by forestry residues, resulting from silvicultural
operations, such as thinning, cleanings, logging and final fellings
aimed at producing firewood or industrial wood.
The Tuscany region forest areas can provide over 2845000 tons per
year of woody biomass.
The considered amount of forestry residues has been the one ecologically
sustainable, strictly related to the forestry regeneration capacity.
From this amount 2265000 tons are for firewood or timber/industrial
wood while forestry residues are about 580000 tons/year.
The wood industry sector constitutes an important source of biomass
too. Statistical data have been used to estimate a residue production
of 177500 tons/year.
A survey of the pellet and wood chip market in Tuscany has been carried
out, but it can’t be seen as a really competing market as the
wood residue consumption for pellet and wood chip production is not
lower than 2.5%.
With regard to agricultural tree crop residues that is woody residues
derived from the maintenance, mainly pruning, of tree crops, the following
tree crops have been considered for Tuscany: vineyards, olive trees,
fruit trees and poplar trees.
For what concerns agricultural herbaceous residues only straw residual
from cereal cultivation has been considered. The animal feeding/breeding
has been taken into account into the calculation as a competing market
(about 50% of straw residues considered available for energy production).
Summarizing the estimated total amount of biomass resources currently
available for energy purposes and therefore also for pyrolysis oil
production is 1362500 tons/year:
| Forestry residues
|Wood industry residues
|Agricultural tree crop residues
|Agricultural herbaceous residues
A further estimate of the biomass potential for pyrolysis oil production
has been performed for Italy, based on data obtained for Tuscany,
on a survey of data on biomass availability in Italy and on the information
on the land use from the GIS and the CORINE Land Cover 2000 layers.
It is important to highlight that an evaluation performed at such
a large scale has a great uncertainty, depending on a great heterogeneity
of the Italian territory, of the climate and the land use.
The biomass amount potentially available for pyrolysis oil production
can be calculated subtracting from the total estimated biomass available
for energy purposes the one actually consumed for heat and electricity
production as shown in the following table:
Total biomass available for energy purposes
|Biomass consumed for heat and electricity production
|Biomass available for pyrolysis oil production