Bounded to the North-West by the final stretch of the Lamone river, crossed by the railway line that leads from Faenza to Ravenna, bordered to the South-East by the Carrarone road (onto which its very entrance opens), the former industrial area, that once hosted the Eridania sugar factory, lies on the edge of a wide agricultural land. The area, adjacent to the city of Russi, in the province of Ravenna (Italy), is still dedicated to the historical cultivation of sugar beet and fruit trees, encompasses 47 hectares. This large district, linked to one of the leading agri-food industries in the Italian entrepreneurial history, has now discontinued the production of sugar on this very site, keeping here only the boxing and storage phases, hosted in an area of about 46,000 square meters. Approximately 280,000 square meters of the site, including three large wetlands, have been restored, re-naturalized and given back to the community; while a program of conversion of the former industrial areas is underway for a part of the remaining area, measuring more than 167,000 square meters.
The choice of Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti to surround the site with accessible dunes and naturalistic pathways, instead of using industrial fences, is strongly related to the desire to establish a relationship of openness between the pole and its surrounding territory. The biomass plant itself (with a power of 30 MWe) is fueled with wood chips in addition to residues from mowing and cleaning of river banks and pruning, all materials that come from within a 70 km radius of the site. Consideration for the environment was at the forefront of the architects’ minds. In order to further minimize the impact of the pole on its territory, the dunes were built employing only the earth that resulted from the construction site excavation, then covered with fresh soil and planted with vegetation. The annual production of the pole is estimated at 222 GWh, which will satisfy the needs of 84,000 families, guaranteeing significant savings in the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In addition to the production of energy from wood chips, the pole also houses a biogas plant powered by livestock sewage and a small photovoltaic energy plant, of approximately 1,000 square meters, both contributing to the production of clean energy. The guidelines from the European Union set the target on the use of renewable sources at 20% by 2020 and 32% by 2030. Currently, the energy produced from biomass contributes to 10% of all energy resources and represents the most important share of renewable energy, amounting to 59%. In 2016, the largest consumers in absolute terms of bio-electricity were Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Italy is also a major consumer of bio-heat, along with Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Finland.