Title: RES4CARBON - "Enhancement of forest residues for carbon storage."

Call: PSR Regione Veneto 2014-2020 DGR n.736 del 28/05/2018  Misura 16 – Cooperazione – sottomisura 16.1 – codice tipo intervento 16.1.1 e sottomisura 16.2 codice tipo intervento 16.2.1

Coordinator: BIOMASS GREEN ENERGY S.r.l.

Duration: From 4/19/2019 to 3/31/2022(36 months)

Total budget: € 352.898,04

TESAF Budget: € 54.999,84

Responsible Scientific Officer/Investigator: Stefano Grigolato

Team: Grigolato, Concheri (DAFNAE), Squartini (DAFNAE)

Brief description: The GO constituency is built around the project idea that sees as a general objective the valorization, from an environmental and economic point of view, the residuals of the utilization of mountain forest areas and of the lowland arboreal areas, as well as the by-products of the wood-energy supply chain. The exploitation of residues is aimed at making an improvement contribution to the soil through the processing of the residues, through the contribution of organic carbon and nutrients. The wood-energy supply chain is consolidated throughout the regional territory, presenting peculiarities due to the different characteristics of the availability areas of the raw material and depending on the destination and type of the final product.
 Along the path of the forest-wood and wood-energy supply chains, waste or residues are generated that currently find a difficult place on the market or even constitute a problem of disposal, but which, due to their chemical-physical properties, could be valorized as fertilizer / soil improver product; specifically, these are the following elements: - Residual separation / screening (under-sieve) of shredded material or wood chips from forest utilization and river cleaning and management of wooded strips and plantations, mainly whole plants of mixed broad-leaved trees in the plain context and conifer cymbals in the mountain context; - Biochar as a residue from the gasification of virgin wood biomass in wood pellet or wood chips gasification plants; - Uncomfined ash as a residue from the burning of virgin wood biomass in wood chips boilers.
 As far as the separation / sieving residue is concerned, this residue derives from the mechanical processing of crushed forest biomass to obtain high quality chips for a higher yield of biomass plants and therefore lower fuel consumption. This process of improvement of the wood chips is necessary to reduce the content of unburnt elements (ash) more present in the barks and in the wood powders. From the sieving operation, a woodchip is produced with a reduced emissive impact in terms of CO2 and particulate. The sieving operation consists in separating the particles with a finer size (under-sieve) and mainly consisting of organic and mineral material from the wood chips intended for combustion or gasification plants. This material has a fine  and is a fine size particle distribution characterized by a high ash content (variable depending on the wood species and the percentages of leaves, branches and bark) creating the greatest problems and inefficiencies in the energy conversion phase. This residue, currently not used and therefore disposed of, if properly separated and managed, can become an important resource able to bring carbon back to the soil through its inclusion in a composting cycle that leads to the production of soil improver. The objective to be pursued will be to contribute with the new product to the improvement of the chemical-physical characteristics of the soil, re-introducing the residue in the carbon cycle, without going through the combustion process.
An approach with the same aims will be implemented by the project through the recovery and valorization of the biochar - residue of the pyrolysis of organic materials of plant origin recently admitted to 100% in agriculture with national legislation (Official Gazette, general series 186 of 12-08- 2015) - for which a destination as a soil improver is possible - in compliance with the employment limits laid down by the current legislation. Biochar is structurally endowed with a fundamentally composed carbon matrix (from 40 to 80%), able to contribute significantly to the carbon return to soil and therefore to availability for other plant cycles.
 A further residual element of the supply chain taken into consideration by the project is the residual ash from the combustion process of forest biomass, currently framed by current legislation as waste, which, if properly managed, allows a potential destination in the production cycle of fertilizers. The activities of the project will be aimed at the characterization and evaluation of the impacts on fertility that may have the mixture of the 3 residual elements of the supply chain listed above.
The final result of the project will be to define the best practices to ensure maximum technical-economic and environmental efficiency in the process of processing, handling and logistics of the transport of residues for the production of newly developed soil improvers, consisting of the mixing of wood chips of virgin wood, biochar of post-gasification of woody biomass and ash of post combustion of woody biomass. At the same time the project intends to analyze to test and analyze different types of soil improvers obtained from different mixtures to identify the best solutions in terms of increasing the return of organic carbon to soil to favor the greatest possible absorption of the same by plants. Furthermore, following the verification of the chemical-physical characteristics of the product and the analysis of the possible destinations in the agro-forestry field, the application for registration of the product in the Register of soil improvers will be activated at the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. of tourism.
 This path offers the possibility of finding an enhancement of the residues of the supply chain that would otherwise find a difficult, if not onerous, commercial location. The companies involved in the supply chain, if properly organized, have the possibility to put residual values down by lowering the costs of their management but, more importantly, contribute significantly to the conservation and sequestration of carbon by bringing it back to the soil and making it available for other vegetative cycles. The complex supply chain is the object of the enhancement of waste in all its production phases and favors the implementation of a real circular economy on a small local scale.




Project funded by Programma di Sviluppo Rurale per il Veneto 2014-2020

Organization responsible for the information: Università degli Studi di Padova, Dipartimento TESAF

Managing Autorithy: Regione del Veneto – Direzione AdG FEASR Parchi e Foreste