An opportunity for an update on market trends, tenders and incentives, sustainability

"Biomass heating in Italy, as confirmed by the purchasing behaviour of end consumers over the past year, is an evolving and growing sector. Plant innovation, lower environmental impact, bill savings, controllable fuel prices, thermal comfort, exclusive design: these are the main factors that determine the choice to purchase a biomass heating system," explains Andrea Ferraro (Edilkamin sales manager).

Focus on biomass, regulations, sustainability, innovation

Considerations that prompted the brand to take stock of the role of biomass heating in Italy, regulations, environmental impact and technological innovation. "Consumers are still uncertain when choosing to purchase or replace an existing heating system, and the market does not always recognise the innovation present in the latest generation products, which translates into environmental certifications, energy classification stars, and autonomous, safe and conscious fuel management," Ferraro continues.

Heating with wood, pellets and wood chips

"Solid biomass (wood, pellets and wood chips) is Italy's main renewable energy source for thermal heating and, accounting for 32% of Italy's renewable energy, plays a crucial role in meeting the obligations of the European Energy Transition Plan. This is confirmed by the funding that governments allocate to incentivise the purchase of a biomass product or the replacement of an obsolete system,' adds Anna Maggi (Edilkamin engineer).

A series of advantages

The consumption of woody biomass for domestic heating has a number of advantages: it allows the price fluctuations of pellets to be controlled more directly than those of other fuels; it increases the value of the property by improving the energy class; it represents an alternative and/or complementary source of heating to centralised systems; it offers flexibility to live with periods of fluctuation and uncertainty due to unstable fuel prices.

Incentives and co-incentives

In addition, it makes it possible to take advantage of important incentives and co-incentives: from the Conto Termico (national), to the Regional Co-incentives Calls, more and more Italian regions have allocated funds to cover the cost of replacing obsolete products that include reimbursement by bank transfer of both the cost of purchase and the cost of installation (in 2023 alone, Lombardy has allocated 12 billion euros); it guarantees coverage of non-methanised metropolitan areas: Biomass heating systems are becoming increasingly popular in provincial city centres and non-methanised areas of large cities.

The word from the research sector

'Good biomass utilisation is compatible with sustainable forest management. Forests cover 37% of the national surface area and are constantly expanding: their management must take into account environmental, economic and social needs. Every year, Italian forests increase their biomass by 37.8Mmc (INFC,2015) and withdrawals account for 40% of this increase. The part of the increment not withdrawn is associated with a year-on-year accumulation of carbon and thus with climate change mitigation. It is important, in order to maximise climate benefits, to consciously plan forest removals,' explains Sebastian Brocco (PhD student in Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Sciences, State University of Milan, specialising in forest management and planning).

Responsible planning

"Burning biomass is not climate-neutral, as it generates a temporary carbon debt: it can be a benefit to the environment if timber harvesting is done according to responsible planning. The valuation changes radically depending on how the timber is harvested (frequency, intensity of harvesting) and used: the cascading utilisation principle requires that the wood resource has the longest possible life span, so only waste is used for energy purposes,' Brocco concludes.

The situation in Europe

In Europe, 49% of biomass energy comes from residues. By using residues, environmentally friendly combustion is possible and has the advantage of reducing the time it takes for forests to repay their carbon debt.

A productive comparison

An important contribution, strongly desired by the Edilkamin&Co. group (two brands of reference: Edilkamin, dedicated to a top level, conscious and demanding target, and the new brand EK63, launched in 2022, which offers a range of smart products designed for the younger generations, budget-conscious and technology-conscious), which confirms how the comparison between disciplines and dialogue between business and academia represents a real opportunity to make culture.