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ESCO business models for biomass heating and CHP: Profitability of ESCO operations in Italy and key factors assessment

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  • Pantaleo, Antonio
  • Candelise, Chiara
  • Bauen, Ausilio
  • Shah, Nilay

Abstract

This paper describes ESCO approaches and business models for biomass heating and CHP generation. State of the art, policy measures and main barriers towards the implementation of such ESCO operations in Italy are discussed. Moreover, on the basis of the proposed framework, representative case studies in the Italian residential, tertiary and industrial market segments are compared. The case studies are referred to a 6MWt wood chips fired plant. The case study of the industrial sector is based on a constant heat demand of a dairy firm, while in the tertiary and residential sectors the options to serve a concentrated heat demand (hospital) and a community housing by a district heating network are explored. The further option of coupling an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) for CHP is explored. The relevance of the research relies on the assessment of the main key factors towards the development of biomass-ESCO operations. The results of the techno-economic assessment show that the agro-industrial case study for heat generation is extremely profitable, because of the high baseline energy cost, the high load rate, the availability of incentives for biomass heating. The cogeneration option is also profitable, even if the higher investment cost determines a longer pay back time. The tertiary sector case study is also a profitable, for the presence of a concentrated load with high heat load rate and high energy cost. Finally, the residential sector case study is the least profitable, for the high district heating cost and the lower heat load rate, not compensated by the higher heat selling price. The higher investment cost of CHP, even if attracting further income from electricity sale, does not present higher profitability than the only heat generation plant. In addition, the heat load rate results a more influencing factor than the thermal energy selling price.

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  • Pantaleo, Antonio & Candelise, Chiara & Bauen, Ausilio & Shah, Nilay, 2014. "ESCO business models for biomass heating and CHP: Profitability of ESCO operations in Italy and key factors assessment," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 237-253.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:30:y:2014:i:c:p:237-253
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.10.001
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