Concrete action by RadiciGroup and Geogreen to safeguard “blue gold”
Operative words: for RadiciGroup, consumption rationalization and recycling; for Geogreen, renewable energy and biodiversity
Firstly, concerning the need for “blue gold” at RadiciGroup, water is used mostly for plant cooling, not in the production processes themselves. Therefore, consumption is fixed and does not depend on production capacity utilization. In any case, water is treated according to the applicable laws and regulations in each country where Group plants are located and is monitored and discharged in full compliance with the parameters set by the law.
“Consumption rationalization and recycling are the operative words that govern the way our Group operates in managing water, as well as other resources,” said Angelo Radici, president of RadiciGroup. “As one can see in greater detail in our Sustainability Report, during recent years we have achieved ambitious results and intend to continue on the same path: in the three-year period from 2014 to 2016, we managed to further reduce the consumption of water resources per ton of production by 4.2%, quite an achievement if one considers that the margin for improvement is naturally diminishing on account of the great amount of work we’ve done in prior years.”
On the subject of water savings, the RadiciGroup Synthetic Fibres Business Area – engaged in the production of a variety of polyester and polyamide yarns for different uses – offers solution- dyed yarns, which require lower water and energy consumption compared to the yarn obtained by conventional yarn- or piece-dyeing processes. This result is achieved because in solution dyeing the colour is added upstream in the extrusion phase and, consequently, is incorporated into the polymer matrix. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies conducted by Group company Noyfil SpA – specializing in the production of polyester fibres – have shown that solution-dyeing yields the following benefits: water consumption, -90%; eutrophication, -50%; energy requirement, -21%; and carbon dioxide emissions, -16%.
Geogreen is a Radici family company that supplies electricity to RadiciGroup. Among its activities, the energy provider owns 5 hydroelectric power stations, distributed throughout the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, with total installed power generation capacity of 10 MW and annual power generation of about 60 GWh. The total renewable energy production of these power plants – which fall under the small hydro category with reduced environmental impact – corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of a 70,000-resident city, thus preventing the emission to air of 30,000 tons of CO2. Geogreen contributes significantly to ensuring RadiciGroup has an optimal production mix from the point of view of environmental sustainability. In fact, Geogreen’s electricity production completely covers the power needs of the two Radici Novacips engineering plastics production plants in Italy, in addition to the needs of the polymerization plants at the Group’s other Italian sites.
Sustainability is at the heart of all Radici family businesses, and Geogreen is no exception. That means, among other activities, the energy supplier performs real-time monitoring of all parameters for hydroelectric branch connections and focuses on biodiversity, particularly fish species.
“In collaboration with the Department of Environmental Sciences of Bicocca University in Milan,” Angelo Radici recalled, “Geogreen participated in a 6-year experimental research study of the Serio river, a waterway of fundamental importance for the production activities of a number of RadiciGroup companies, as well as for the natural balance of the Seriana Valley in the Province of Bergamo. Over the 6-year period, the values of the main biological, chemical physical and hydromorphological indicators were measured and analysed in order to determine the minimum vital flow in the upper part of the Serio river. Geogreen staff participated in the technical discussions coordinated by the Region of Lombardy, which recently issued a final deliberation attesting to the positive results of the project, which required the involvement of many members of the community working together with a spirit of cooperation.”