Biofuels for the transition to a decarbonized future

Near-zero emissions options for energy generation at local and medium scale are represented by renewables.
While these technologies continue to be developed, additional technical breakthroughs will be needed to achieve cost-effective deployment at the scale needed to transform the energy system.
Biomass combustion, in collaboration with DESTEC -Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Construction – (Barontini et Al. 2018; Capusciutti et Al., 2018), and biomass gasification (Biagini et Al. 1014, 1015, 2016; Simone et Al. 2012, 2013a, 2013b) have been the main topics of research of DICI in the last decade, including biofuel production such as biomethane, biodiesel and torrefied biomass (Bacci di Capaci et Al. 2019, Tasca et Al., 2019; Li et Al., 2013).
The main objective, among others, was to demonstrate the feasibility and availability of technologies for local, small scale, distributed generation (Galletti et Al., 2016; Patronelli et Al. 2018).
Biomass combustion at the Cornia 2 hybrid geothermal/biomass power plant of Enel Green Power – an innovative technology integrating renewable and geothermal energy – has also been investigated (Galletti et Al. 2017).

Research group

Federica Barontini,
Chiara Galletti,
Cristiano Nicolella,
Leonardo Tognotti

External collaborations:
Enel Green Power


  • Bando Unico R&S RT/ Biopower Tuscany, DICI 2012-2015;
  • Progetti del CRIBE (Centro Ricerca Interuniversitario per le Bioenergie): ENEL Fattoria Energia, 2009-2012)

Main publications:

  • Bacci di Capaci, Riccardo; Tasca, Andrea Luca; Pannocchia, Gabriele; Scali, Claudio; Tognotti, Leonardo; Brunazzi, Elisabetta; Nicolella, Cristiano; Puccini, Monica (2019); “Biomethane production: Mass and Energy Balances of Alternative Supply Chains “ Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
  • Barontini Federica, Enrico Biagini, Federico Dragoni, Elisa Corneli, Giorgio Ragaglini, Enrico Bonari, Leonardo Tognotti, Cristiano Nicolella (2016) Anaerobic digestion and co-digestion of oleaginous microalgae residues for biogas production, Chemical Engineering Transactions, VOL. 50
  • Biagini, Enrico; Barontini, Federica; Tognotti, Leonardo (2014); “Gasification of agricultural residues in a demonstrative plant: Corn cobs” Bioresource technology,173,110-116.
  • Caposciutti, Gianluca; Barontini, Federica; Antonelli, Marco; Tognotti, Leonardo; Desideri, Umberto; (2018 )“Experimental investigation on the air excess and air displacement influence on early stage and complete combustion gaseous emissions of a small scale fixed bed biomass boiler”, Applied energy, 216,,576-587.
  • Galletti C., N Bitossi, S Serena, MG Gallo, S Franco, P Bernhard (2017) “CFD-DEM modeling of biomass combustion on a reciprocating grate”, 10th World Congress of Chemical Engineering.
  • Galletti, Chiara; Giomo, Valentina; Giorgetti, Simone; Leoni, Paolo; Tognotti, Leonardo (2016); “Biomass furnace for externally fired gas turbine: Development and validation of the numerical model” Applied Thermal Engineering,96,,372-384.
  • Li, Jun; Bonvicini, Giorgio; Tognotti, Leonardo; Yang, Weihong; Blasiak, Wlodzimierz (2014); ,High-temperature rapid devolatilization of biomasses with varying degrees of torrefaction Fuel,122,,261-269.
  • Patronelli, Stefania; Antonelli, Marco; Tognotti, Leonardo; Galletti, Chiara (2018); Combustion of wood-chips in a small-scale fixed-bed boiler: Validation of the numerical model through in-flame measurements,Fuel,221,,128-137.
  • Simone, Marco; Barontini, Federica; Nicolella, Cristiano; Tognotti, Leonardo (2012); “Gasification of pelletized biomass in a pilot scale downdraft gasifier” ,Bioresource Technology,116,,403-412.
  • Simone, Marco; Barontini, Federica; Nicolella, Cristiano; Tognotti, Leonardo; Assessment of syngas composition variability in a pilot-scale downdraft biomass gasifier by an extended equilibrium model (2013a)” Bioresource technology,140,43-52.