Research and innovation projects

In 2021, Iren actively took part in 20 research and innovation projects for a total multi-year commitment of around 8.6 million Euro, half of which was financed by research and innovation tenders managed by institutions such as the European Union, the Italian State, State bodies and Regions (for example, Horizon 2020, MIUR, MATTM, POR FESR, etc.). Over the year, these projects consisted in a commitment of around 2,165,000 Euro, of which approximately 1,280,000 Euro was funded through tenders. These projects actively involve around 137 Group employees from different business areas, and guarantee collaborations with numerous businesses and academic institutions located in over 100 European cities.

project description
Pump-Heat (European Horizon 2020 programme) Concluded at the end of 2021, it is an example of international collaboration with 14 partners from 8 different European countries that aimed to introduce innovative solutions to increase the flexibility of major power generation plants in favour of renewable sources. At the Moncalieri (TO) power plant, a pilot project was carried out in which the technologies studied and developed during the project (high temperature heat pump and phase change storage system) were tested.
Planet (European Horizon 2020 programme) Concluded in January 2021, it studied technologies and analyses of regulatory constraints for the synergistic exploitation of distribution networks (electricity, gas and thermal). Iren Group has been involved in the development of a physical pilot project in which a heat pump connected to a thermal storage for heating has been tested, capable of modulating the load, putting into system the needs of the building with those of the electrical network.
eVolution2G (EMEurope Call 2016) The project ended in January 2021 and saw Iren Group involved in the study and field testing of enabling technologies for vehicle to grid (V2G), i.e. a system in which electric vehicles play a balancing role on the electricity grids. For this purpose, two direct current recharging columns have been installed and tested with the possibility of bidirectional energy exchange.
Recupero materia da RAEE (Ministry of the Environment Call for Tenders) Concluded in August 2021, the project aimed to develop highly replicable and transferable technologies to the industrial world, aimed at optimising the management of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and in particular the recovery of polyurethane from refrigerators as a secondary raw material and the optimisation of the separation of cement from the carcasses of washing machines.
Prelude (European Horizon 2020 programme) Testing of innovative solutions in building and plant management, maximising the interaction with users to optimise consumption. Iren Group is in charge of the development of the Italian pilot, which will focus on a residential building in the municipality of Turin and in particular on the tenants of 8 apartments within it.
Chester (European Horizon 2020 programme) Development and integration of an innovative Power-to-Heat-to-Power solution to maximise the exploitation of non-programmable electricity Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and thermal RES already combined with district heating systems.
RES-DHC (European Horizon 2020 programme) The project will develop programmatic and technical-economic assessment tools, actions to improve policies and regulatory frameworks, as well as innovative dissemination and communication means in 6 European pilot projects to validate their benefits and in favouring the increase of renewable sources in district heating and cooling systems.
Marilia (European Horizon 2020 programme) The project develops a new low-cost, high-sensitivity, expeditious test for detecting pathogens in water samples, potentially applicable in other sectors such as food, healthcare, and agriculture. The goal is to validate the test – developed to identify a set of bacteria laying the foundations for a subsequent deployment in the field – in the laboratory, with a significant efficiency in speed and cost compared to current analytical practices.
WaterTech (MIUR tender) Optimised, synergistic and innovative management of Group’s assets with testing of ICT architectures enabling a multi-service smart metering system, at both end users and asset level, for the optimised management of the integrated water cycle and the study of innovative technologies for wastewater treatment and the management of water leaks.
Everywh2ere (European Horizon 2020 programme) Iren, in qualità di terza parte, testerà un generatore alimentato a idrogeno e basato su tecnologia fuel cell per la produzione sostenibile di energia elettrica durante eventi/ fiere (modalità gruppo di continuità/generatore mobile).
INCIT-EV (European Horizon 2020 programme) Development and on-site testing of a set of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hardware and software technologies and business models to promote large-scale adoption of electric mobility. Iren Group is developing the Italian pilot, which will be built in Turin, with the installation of 10 slow and 1 ultra-fast columns for the recharge of electric cars through thetram network.
Saturno (Bioeconomy Technological Platform – Piedmont Region Call for Tender) Validation, on an industrial platform, of the conversion of the organic waste and CO2 emissions from cars and industrial processes into biofuel and biochemicals. The project conceives the enhancement of the organic fraction of municipal waste by extracting high added value substances such as hydrogen, carboxylic acids, biofertilizers and biostimulants.
OnlyPlastic (RFCS – 2019) Substitution of fossil carbon sources (coal, coke, petroleum coke) in the electric arc furnaces of a steel plant in northern Italy with densified polymers derived from residues from the treatment of plastic waste.
PolynSPIRE (European Horizon 2020 programme) Demonstration of a range of sustainable, innovative and cost-effective solutions for the energy and material recovery of post-consumer plastics and industrial waste.
5G-Solutions (European Horizon 2020 programme) Experimentation – in different on-site, functionalities, potentialities and limits tests – of the 5G network, actively participating to the activities of the “Energy“ vertical in the evaluation of the benefits related to the integration and use of the 5G network for the Demand Side Management at the level of regulation of thermal loads and the recharge of electrical vehicles. Iren Group is in charge of the Italian pilots concerning the management of a heat pump central heating system and the charging of electric vehicles.
Energy shield (European Horizon 2020 programme) Development of an integrated cyber security platform that can be used by all actors of the energy chain (network operators, distributors, aggregators, producers). Iren Group is taking part as a distributor (through Ireti), supporting the other partners in the definition of cyber security tools, carrying out feasibility tests and, where necessary, conducting “offline” field tests on one or more network subsystems (remote control, SCADA, smart meters, etc.).
BestSafe4Iren (Call for Tenders PRIA4.0 – Competence centre CIM4.0) Increased levels of redundancy, security and interoperability of workers’ safety equipment by integrating it with a LoRa (Long Range) wireless infrastructure and a next-generation DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) patent capable of certifying data from field sensors in a standardised and anonymised manner on blockchain networks to ensure the appropriate level of neutrality needed for operational, regulatory, insurance and legal use. The project developed a solution that was tested with positive result, on a portion of TRM’s plant and will be tested on a portion of the city of Turin’s hillside where Iren operators deal with waste collection.
ENERGYNIUS (POR-FESR 2014- 2020 Emilia-Romagna) Definition of development models that enable communities and energy districts to carry out bidirectional exchanges with energy networks, offering energy and services to the regional/national system. Iren participates as an external partner, providing its point of view on developing the tools and possibly with pilots in the field.
MULTIPLIERS (European Horizon 2020 programme) The project aims at facilitating the introduction of new ideas, practices and scientific approaches in schools, which can offer to the communities, of which teachers and pupils are part, a space for open innovation, on scientific issues that have an impact on citizens’ lives.
RUN (Regione Liguria) The project involves the development and demonstration of a now-casting service of the flood risk in urban areas in the presence of heavy rainfall, using IoT technologies and big data analysis tools, designed for smart cities and urban drainage network managers, allowing faster actions to protect people, properties and those in charge of the maintenance of the drains, who will be able to plan interventions for optimal operation of the system.