Pnrr, Cib presents proposals for the development of agricultural biomethane and agriculture 4.0 measures

Biogas farms are at the heart of the agroecological transition thanks to the opportunities of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) related to the development of biomethane and the agriculture 4.0 measures that will help consolidate the role of agriculture as one of the main actors against the energy and climate crisis. Cib, the Italian Biogas Consortium took part in the two-day Fieragricola Tech, the manifestation of interest in new technologies in agriculture, with two appointments dedicated to digitization and advanced agriculture 4.0 techniques; and to deepen the new regulatory framework for accessing biomethane incentives.

“The participation of Cib and our associates in this first edition of Fieragricola Tech demonstrates the role of anaerobic digestion as an engine of innovation and development for the primary sector and for the territory. In recent years, the sector has seen a remarkable technological evolution which it has allowed farms to look out for new, increasingly sustainable growth opportunities”, underlines Piero Gattoni, President of Cib – Italian Biogas Consortium.

According to the latest data from the Smart Agrifood Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic, digital agriculture in Italy is worth 1.6 billion euros. The collection of data, the precision agriculture measures and the digitization of work have allowed the development of qualified skills, a reduction in fuel consumption by at least 10-15% and in processing times by up to 35%; a drop in average production costs of at least 10-15%; an increase in yields estimated at 7-15% for cereals and, finally, in livestock farming, an increase in milk production of 10-15%.

Among the farms associated with Cib, there are already several virtuous examples of the application of agroecological practices thanks to which significant results are already being obtained, collected within the ‘Farming for Future’ project. Ten actions to cultivate the future’, the road map outlined by the Italian Biogas Consortium for the agroecological transition of Italian agriculture. Cib members spoke about it at Fieragricola Tech: Bruno Agazzini of the Boccarone Agricultural Company; Damiano Cazzola of the Cazzola Agricultural Society; Gianpaolo Piva of the Casali Casenove agricultural company and Marco Miserocchi of Topcon Positioning Italy.

Biogas and biomethane farms (which are more than 1,800 in Italy) represent two important assets for promoting the circular economy, accompanying a sustainable green transition and contributing to energy security and independence. In particular, the sector can take a significant step forward in terms of renewable energy in agriculture. The new biomethane decree, published in October, released 1.7 billion euros of investments from the Plan to support the production of more than 2.3 billion cubic meters of biomethane by 2026. Added to this is the first tender of the GSE opened on 30 January which will see the farms involved in the assignment of the incentives provided for by the decree.

The plan also looks at the development of biogas with the promotion of ecological practices to reduce the use of fertilizers and synthetics, increase the supply of organic matter in the soil. A solution that makes it possible to reduce not only energy costs, but also overall production costs thanks to the clear reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers replaced with digestate and is the main road for the safety and resilience of food production.

“The interventions of the Pnrr represent an important driving force for new investments in the sector towards a model of agriculture 4.0 with advanced techniques that will allow the optimization and greater efficiency of production processes, s of work, less use of chemicals and soil protection. In this, biogas and biomethane represent a significant strategic asset to respond to the renewable energy challenge, guarantee food autonomy, care of the territory and climate protection”, comments Piero Gattoni, the president of Cib.

“However, in order to be able to give its full contribution, the agricultural sector – he notes – needs a complete regulatory system, streamlined measures that allow our companies to be able to fully seize all the opportunities of the Plan. Simplifications that we did not take into account in the application Ministerial Decree recently published. For five years now, we have been waiting for the definition of the Fer 2 decree, an important provision for the continuation of the production of renewable electricity; moreover, we are also waiting for the issuance of the measures for the promotion of ecological practices in the phases of biomethane production.Finally, an effort is also needed by the gas network transport and distribution companies to make connections faster, since without a synergistic work of all the players involved along the supply chain it will be difficult to meet the ambitious targets of the plan These are key measures – concludes Gattoni – which will allow the s agricultural sector to play its role within the transition process, in a context of clear and stable rules”.