For years we have adopted the philosophy of sustainable business development, creating a path of growth with a long-term vision. We constantly strive to find solutions aimed at reducing the impact of our activities, getting the most out of the integration of systems in the plants.
Particularly breakthrough is the decision, taken at the beginning of 2020, to install at the Mezzani plant a 1.2 MW trigeneration system, which, together with the existing 1 MW photovoltaic system, will make the factory cutting-edge and self-sustaining in terms of energy.
Trigeneration is an advanced technology for managing energy production based on the cogeneration model, i.e. the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy from a single primary energy source, which in the case of our plant is methane gas. The objective we gave ourselves was to obtain the maximum benefit from our choice, and for this reason we opted for trigeneration, which in addition allows us to obtain cold water to cool the working environments thanks to an extension of the cogeneration plant (the absorber). All this enabled us to ensure greater well-being in the working environment, so that our people can work in the best possible conditions.
We have collected data on the first year of operation of the Mezzani trigeneration plant, and we are satisfied with the results. The most important figure is that of CO2 emissions, where we have recorded a decrease of 432 tonnes in one year, equal to 289 equivalent trees.
The trigeneration plant is also efficient from several points of view. Its operation results in a lower use of gas for both the production process and the heating process, together with a lower use of electricity for the cooling process. If we look at the efficiency figure to assess effectiveness, we can see that the trigenerator has an overall efficiency of over 75% while a normal electricity generator is around 40-42%.
What have we achieved in summary in the first year of operation of the trigenerator? Greater energy efficiency and autonomy, with the production of 6 million kWh of electricity and 175,000 kg of steam for the plant’s corrugator. In addition, there is zero-cost heating and cooling throughout the year, which means that our people can work in a temperature-controlled environment and no longer suffer from the heat that is typical of our industry, especially in summer.
And since growth and improvement have always been in our DNA, we have already set ourselves new efficiency targets for 2021, working on certain aspects that will allow us to improve the performance of the plant and make maximum use of green resources. This choice confirms once again our desire to systematically reduce our environmental impact by adopting more efficient and sustainable solutions.