Pisa, thermo-electric innovation

Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2018

And then we were eight. With the opening in Pisa of an Enel Innovation Hub&Lab to promote the evolution of thermo-electric generation, the Italian research capital can now access our Group’s network, which combines the most innovative ecosystems in the world.

The new space, which opened on 11 May, will be a meeting point for technological partners and startups that collaborate with the Global Thermal Generation business line. The aim is to develop, test and implement innovative technology for the sector, like the Industrial Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and robotics, including technology for promoting safety and protecting the environment.

Three top-class universities, with the Scuola Superiore S. Anna an active partner of our Group, make the city of Galileo Galilei a natural centre for research activities. According to Enrico Viale, Director of Global Thermal Generation at Enel, “Pisa’s Innovation Hub&Lab will be a point of entry for new partners and solutions that can be integrated into Enel plants to enhance our competitiveness and sustainability.” One of its objectives is to produce energy while using less water than is currently the case. 

“Over the course of 2018, in Italy alone Enel can draw on the expertise of three Innovation Hubs, whose purpose is to stimulate collaborations with Italy’s best startups,” said our Group’s Chief Innovability Officer, Ernesto Ciorra, at the presentation. “The Italian hubs will also be connected to the international network of Innovation Hubs that the Group has created in the world’s most intensely innovative areas, with the aim of promoting internationalisation and a constant exchange of ideas.”

The Pisa area, which is also the cradle of Italy’s IT revolution, now possesses the know-how and skills to support the advanced development of digitalisation. New storage systems and batteries are crucial elements for the thermo-electric generation. 

Enel’s Hub&Lab is in Tuscany, where geothermal energy was invented 200 years ago. This was one of the first renewable sources to be exploited for electrical and energy purposes. Today the area around Larderello, which is in the province of Pisa, is one of the world’s geothermal centres.  

Many startups in Pisa have already achieved significant results in collaborations with Enel Global Thermal Generation - Athonet, Nozomi Networks, Amber Kinetics, Convexum and Percepto.

The 11 May launch also saw contributions from two representatives of Dainese’s D-Air Lab and Rotork. Enel is developing a safety-jacket that includes anti-fall sensors airbags with D-Air Lab, and it has launched a project in collaboration with Rotork to measure activity cycles and open/close times for the valves on hydroelectric plants. This technology communicates their “state of health,” making industrial processes more predictable. 

The Pisa Hub&Lab opens new horizons for our Open Innovation, which has found a new frontier.