Renewable energies: geothermal energy

Publication: 13/07/2020 12:00 AM
Topic: News
Geotermia_impianti
We talk to Eng, Lorenzo Giusti of ENEL GREEN POWER in Larderello (Pisa - Italy)

Q. Can you tell us about your work of ENEL GREEN POWER Italia in Larderello (PISA) and more specifically your role? 

A. I am the manager of the Planning and Technical Support Team within the Operation & Maintenance Geothermal Italy Laboratories, Process and Environmental Support Enel Green Power Italia srl. 
Today the area of Larderello, in the province of Pisa, is one of the centres of global geothermal energy: the plants in the area, managed by Enel Green Power (EGP), have a total capacity of 800 MW and supply electricity to over 10 thousand users, including private homes, public services and industrial activities. Across Tuscany, between the provinces of Pisa, Siena and Grosseto, the geothermal plants of EGP are 34, and satisfy over 30% of the regional electricity needs with renewable and sustainable energy. 
The techniques are increasingly innovative, in particular in Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, a biomass plant has been combined with the geothermal power plant: an innovative complex of renewable sources, the first in the world of its kind. Furthermore, five Tuscan municipalities (Pomarance, Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, Monterotondo Marittimo, Santa Fiora and Monteverdi Marittimo) also use geothermal heat for heating. 

Q. For which type of monitoring do you use LSI LASTEM instrumentation? 

A. The instrumentation is used in the network for meteorological monitoring. In particular, we have installed 9 weather stations on the surrounding Apennines up to Mount Amiata. In particular, we are interested in anemological conditions and, more generally, in air quality monitoring. We have used all the versions of your data loggers, for several years now, we have chosen your web service for data visualization and collection. This solution permits to check, in real time, from any location connected to the Internet, the weather conditions in the area of the system. 

Q. How long have you used our tools? 

A. The meteorological monitoring network has been active since the beginning of the 90s, we have been collecting and processing data from your weather stations for thirty years. Lately we have integrated your instruments with those for chemical components for air quality monitoring. 

Q. What are the most important features that an instrument must have for your research? 

A. Reliability of the instruments and of the network, remote transmission and availability of data and an easy maintenance on the hardware part. 

Q. What are the suggestions for improvement and innovation that you would like to suggest for the evolution of our systems?  

A. I don't see any in particular, your solutions meet the needs and have all the required features. 

To end this conversation, we like to remember the historical importance of the Larderello plant.  

The transformation of thermal energy into electricity, that is one of the first renewable sources to be exploited for industrial and energy purposes, dates back to 8 May 1818 in Montecerboli, just near Pomarance, in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The name of Larderello derives from the young engineer and entrepreneur Francesco Giacomo Larderel, of French origins, who started work to build the first plant in the world to extract boric acid from geothermal steam and thus produce boron for chemical and pharmaceuticals purposes. 

Thus industrial geothermia was born, although the Tuscan thermal waters were already known and used by the Romans and, not far from there, in Monterotondo Marittimo, boric acid was discovered in 1777.  

Larderel, however, managed to think about the industrial use of geothermal steam and devise an efficient extraction technique. 

On 4 July 1904 Piero Ginori Conti, heir of the Larderel company, with a simple generator, consisting of a dynamo powered by geothermal heat, lit five bulbs. For the first time in history, man was generating electricity from renewable resources from the heart of the earth. 

The sequel did not betray the premises. In 1911 Larderello saw a real geothermal power plant arise: the first in the world and for decades the only one on an industrial scale. Already in 1916 the plant was able to feed not only the locality of Larderello but also the city of Volterra.