Substances of biological origin are still a particularly promising renewable energy source. They can be used to produce electricity and heat, as well as biofuels.
In 2012 the Enel Group raised to eleven its biomass plants from the nine of the previous year, with an overall efficient capacity of 120 MW. It has online all-biomass and co-combustion plants for electricity generation in Italy, Spain, Slovakia and Canada.
Enel Group is increasing its research and innovation activities in this sector, working on projects with high technological content. In particular, it is assessing technologies for small-scale generation and to improve co-combustion in online plants. Additionally, it is evaluating the integration of biomass facilities onto geothermal plants.
Its significant research activities are carried out jointly with universities and research centres, to improve the production of vegetable oils and solid biofuels and to achieve the production of bioethanol from lignin and cellulose.
Other ongoing projects are aimed at improving the life cycle of plants characterised by their high calorific value and rapid growth. The achievement of this project not only allows to exploit land having a low agricultural value, but could also increase the availability of biomass in various regions of South America.