Our Journey in Circular Economy

The great environmental and social challenges of our time require us to rethink production and consumption models. The answer is the circular economy: a concrete solution that brings together sustainability and competitiveness through technological and thought innovation.

Beginning in the early 2000s, the concept of Circular Economy appeared on the international scene: a fundamental step in the transition to a sustainable economic model that is not only environmentally sustainable, but also reduces dependence on raw materials by focusing on greater efficiency in the use of natural resources.

Our Group has been working in this direction since 2015, when we embarked on the path towards decarbonization and began the journey by placing circularity at the center of our business strategy, applied throughout the value chain.

The adoption of a circular and sustainable model is the common thread that guides all of our activities. In order to reach the ambitious goal of energy transition, it is fundamental from the earliest design stages, integrate technology development within a broader Circular Economy strategy, not to leave out any phase: from the selection of raw materials used, to operation, reuse, up to the final recycling of the product and end-of-life management.

The strength of this vision lies in its systematic nature: it embraces the entire economic model and defines, in a concrete and measurable way, a goal to strive for and clear incentives on which to act.


“The adoption of a circular business model is crucial for sustainable development as it decouples economic activities from resource consumption. The circular economy is at the heart of our strategy: innovation, technological and otherwise, is the key to realising it competitively.”
– Luca Meini, Head of Sustainability Initiatives and Circular Economy



Our journey towards a circular business model, capable of generating competitiveness and fostering sustainable, inclusive and lasting growth, divided into four cornerstones. Learn about all of them.

New business models

Combining environmental sustainability, innovation and competitiveness does not mean changing just one part, but rather rethinking the entire process. Looking at the whole helps to radically change our approach by thinking about scalable solutions that significantly reduce resource consumption, ensuring the competitiveness of the entire system.

This project was launched in February 2020 with the objective of giving new life to components in storage and equipment from decommissioned coal power plants. This is possible through activities based on Circular Economy principles: reuse, resale, donation and recycling.

The project’s scope includes approximately 3,300 parts in storage and components related to generation activities in four countries: Italy, Spain, Chile and Argentina.

The PIONEER Project, financed by the Innovation FUND (for the Rome Airport Consortium, Enel X and the Fraunhofer Institute), involves the design and development of an innovative storage system (with a nominal capacity of 5MW/10MWh) using electric vehicle batteries from the automotive sector, giving them a second life.

Find out more 

Raw Materials

The goal of decarbonisation targets requires a transformation of the energy system, focusing on renewables and electrification of consumption to maximise the use of renewable energy in every end-use application. To support this new energy paradigm, the adoption of energy storage technologies, as well as the development of smart grids, is crucial. This evolution also requires, as an indirect consequence, a strong growth of enabling technologies, for instance robotics and digitalization.

This dynamic results in an increasing need for raw materials. Enel's transition to a new energy paradigm therefore requires the procurement of technologies that have to be analysed as a whole, taking into account environmental, social, commodity and, where necessary, geopolitical factors.



From design to extending useful life, to coming full circle with a new beginning. 


This agreement brings together the companies’ respective expertise in geothermal energy and lithium extraction.


With these three projects, Enel X is at the forefront of the search for innovative battery technologies.


The Smart Meter is a product of the sustainable innovation that guides the Group in its search for increasingly green solutions.


In Santa Barbara, Tuscany, Thermal Energy Storage (TES), an innovative storage system, has been inaugurated.

Cities and territories

Cities are responsible for 70% of global CO2 emissions and more than 60% of overall resource use and they produce 50% of the world’s waste. Unfortunately, these numbers are set to grow, given city population estimates. Which is why our efforts are focused on territories: renewable energy, public and private electrification and flexible work models. Every year since 2018, the Group has published a document dedicated to the analysis of circularity in urban settings. The focus of the last edition of the study was the contribution of Circular Cities to decarbonization, with evidence of positive impacts not only on direct but also indirect emissions.

Download the preliminary study "Circular Cities. Decarbonization and other benefits"

With the administration of the City of Turin, Enel X has closed a contract in the bus-as-a-service formula, taking care of the design, maintenance and supply of the vehicles. The programme will be implemented together with the Autoguidovie group, through the company Cavourese, a partner for the electrification of part of Turin's public transport. The city will benefit from 14 e-buses, the installation of recharging stations provided by Enel X Way, the maintenance service, and the management of the software that will monitor recharging operations.

Enel X has developed a project for the construction of a 200 kW photovoltaic plant and a technology platform for the management of Italy's first agricultural energy community, which brings together a group of Sicilian companies. Renewable energy communities' are associations of citizens, businesses, public bodies or enterprises that decide to join forces to equip themselves with plants for producing and sharing energy from renewable sources.

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Together with Enel X we transform homes, businesses, cities and public administrations, accelerating circularity and improving liveability through the adoption of smart and sustainable solutions.

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The key enabling factors are metrics and collaboration throughout the value chain and across sectors.

Metrics have been a focus of the Group from the beginning, leading it to play an almost pioneering role on an international level in the study of metrics tied to circularity. 

The CirculAbility Model© is our model for measuring circularity, from which more specific models were then developed in the different areas of the Group.

In 2020, for the first time, we publicly announced a KPI tied to electricity production activities, which measures the consumption of raw materials throughout a production plant’s lifetime in relation to the energy it generates. With regard to this KPI, we have committed to significantly reducing resource consumption by 2030 with the goal of improving circularity by 92% compared to 2015.


Discover more about our CirculAbility Model©

New form of collaboration

A business model based on circularity requires maximum collaboration among all stakeholders: which is why we believe it is fundamental to be open to dialoguing with those who share this vision, involving the supply chains and promoting joint initiatives to safeguard natural resources and increase Italy’s competitiveness. We network and collaborate with all those committed to fostering the application of this model in economic, social and environmental spheres, both nationally and internationally. 


In 2017, we launched the Circular Economy Alliance and signed a manifesto with Made in Italy companies that are leaders in various industries. We developed a position paper with them to accelerate the transition to a sustainable growth model.

Alliance for the circular economy
Circular Excellence

From the A of Agriculture to the Z of Zero Waste: these are the hundred Italian stories of circular economy collected in the latest report produced together with the Symbola Foundation to give voice to the most innovative Italy. A journey to discover the circularity of Made in Italy companies.

100 Italian circular economy stories