This last Thursday 10th and Friday 11th of March was held in Vilafranca del Penedès an European Symposium in the framework of the Life project “Vineyards for Heat” which is being developed by the Municipality of Vilafranca in conjunction with INNOVI, COVIDES, NOU VERD. At the event participated representatives of institutions of research, production and consumption and European Network Wine Cities interested in the production of energy using biomass from the vineyards of Portugal, Italy, Germany and Spain. On Thursday the symposium opened with the presence of the Mayor of Vilafranca, Pere Regull, the general director of INCAVI, Salvador Puig, and Councillor of Environment, Josep  M. Martí.

The director of INCAVI praised Vilafranca as “capital of wine and spearheading in the innovation of viticulture, as evidenced by the fact of having a wine station with more than 100 years of history , which was born by the need for innovation in the sector “. In opinion of Salvador Puig, now there are new challenges that must be faced. “Climate change is an evidence and in the vineyards we have already noted by  the presence of pests, the advancement of harvest … that are clear signs of the challenge that we have and which already occupies technicians of the  research centers”; he valued the project “Vineyards for Heat” because it brings out the “miracle of the vine, which is generated in three months that can convert biomass into energy.” On his part, Mayor Pere Regull said “time is up wasting natural resources. We must take the advantage of everything that nature gives us. The Penedès is the capital of the vineyard and the project  Vineyards for Heat  wants to use this resource to generate green energy. It´s a great example of public-private cooperation between the administration and companies. If we are not together we will not succeed. “

Among several speeches at  the Symposium spoke renewable energy expert and vice president of Som Energy, Pep Puig, pointing out the importance to stop using  fossil energies like oil to defend the environment and the use of renewable energy produced in a decentralized manner in the proximity of the consumer. Representatives of the municipal water and energy of the german city of Buhl, Andreas Anton and Jörg  Zimmer, explained how they produce, buy and distribute energy to the city and how this  can be an example for other sites. In the more technological field Robert Savé of IRTA and  Pere Navarro  of Forest Technology Centre, presented the characteristics of the biomass and how to use it.

Besides the representatives of the organizations promoting the project, which  presented it to the attendees, stressing that it has achieved  the most important, that is to demonstrate that you can pick up the branches and use them directly to the boiler without further handling and these boilers work exclusively with branches not manipulated. Raffaele Cavalli, professor of the University of Padova, explained the Italian experience, and  José Antonio Huertas and Enrique Ferrando of Pelets Combustibles de la Mancha SL, explained  the experience of La Mancha in which the biomass is transformed into pellets in order to be used more away from the site of collection of branches.

On his part, Miquel A. Torres warned  about the consequences of climate change for viticulture and encouraged to make a sustainable treatment in all the vine circle, clearly betting on renewable energies and making a harsh criticism of the obstacles that prevent it to be fully carried out. In the same sense, manifested the Vice-President of the Council, Dionís Guiteras  offering support from the institution to the project and General Secretary of the European Network of Wine Cities, Carme Ribes, encouraging the transfer of knowledge between cities.

Participants knew the experiences already in progress into the District Heat of La Girada and Caves Vilarnau and visited  Pinord and Torres wineries.