How can olives produce “green” electric power??
Lucchi and Guastalli, an olive oil producing firm of Santo Stefano di Magra, in Liguria’s eastern province has recently inaugurated a new kind of olive-pressing machine, which could herald a real technological revolution in the arch-shaped Italian region, noted to be the major olive-producer of Northern Italy.
The new press, other than squeezing olives in the precious, aromatic golden oil renowned for its delicate fruity notes, does recover mashed olives’ pulp in a form suitable to be burned in energy-generating plants.
High quality agricultural production and environmentally-conscious energy generation are hence married in Santo Stefano thanks to a series of grinding presses which shield the olives from excessive exposure to the outside atmosphere, thus ensuring that all of their precious anti-oxydants remain unadulterated. The mashed olives’ pulp is then recovered and mixed with a measure of lime, which reactes with its vegetative water and turns the mash into a drier, more solid form.
The loaves thus formed are then sent to a nearby thermal plant, where they are burned in a carbon-balanced combustion (the emissions released are no higher than the amount of carbon dioxide ‘eaten up’ by the olives while growing) which generates electrical power and heat for the nearby community. The machinery, with a cost of 600,000 $, has been bought by Lucchi and Guastalli with the aid of 215,000 $ of regional incentive, given its ecological added value. The inauguration saw many other Ligurian oil producers present, who hopefully could be interested in a similar acquisition in the coming future.
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