PV Solar-Algae Power Plant Coming to Italy

EGP’s Altomonte solar power plant in Cosenza, Italy.

Enel Green Power (EGP), a world leader in clean energy, and ENEA, Italy’s National Energy Technology Cluster coordinator, have agreed to test a new technology that combines photovoltaic electricity production with microalgae cultivation. A PV Solar-Algae power plant will be built at the ENEA Center in Portici, on the Bay of Naples, to study and demonstrate how the two technologies can be integrated. In parallel, a scalability analysis will be implemented to determine the feasibility for large photovoltaic plants. The trial involves cultivating microalgae with a high commercial value (between 100 and 200 euros per kilogram) that is fully integrated within the solar plant.

The obvious advantage of producing electricity from renewable sources means a reduction in CO2 emissions. Plus, the algae will also absorb CO2 while creating valuable biomass material to be used in food and supplements.

Part of a Broader Plan

“The partnership with ENEA is part of a broader plan to demonstrate innovative solutions that integrate agricultural and livestock production activities,” said Nicola Rossi, Enel Green Power’s Head of Innovation. “Our photovoltaic systems, that we are carrying out with various research and agricultural partners, promote more efficient land use and identify opportunities for creating shared value with the areas and communities that host our plants. The results of these trials will offer us the opportunity to identify effective activities that meet local needs in synergy with the goal of producing low-cost, emission-free energy. This is the key to making renewable generation even more sustainable in the long term.”

Ezio Terzini, Head of the Photovoltaic and Smart Devices Division of ENEA’s Renewable Energy Technologies Department added, “With this agreement we are launching a new possible synergy that we have identified with our ‘Algovoltaic’ brand, and this is an ideal opportunity for the agrivoltaic sector, in which we are investing significant resources to implement the guidelines in Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.”

“This is a step on the path towards the national decarbonization objectives of Italy’s National Energy and Climate Plan, and the agreement strengthens the multi-year partnership with Enel Green Power for photovoltaic technologies, based on the collaborative model that ENEA has in place with many industrial partners,” said Mr. Terzini.

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