Drones and robots compete at the Enel power plant in Piombino

Published on Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The plant houses Eurathlon 15 Grand Challenge, a 90-hour robotics competition near the Tor del Sale facility. Meanwhile, meetings are taking place for the conversion of the plant. Enel's Torre del Sale in Piombino has been invaded by robots. This is not a sci-fi scenario, but what will happen from September 17 to 25. In fact  the plant, which is part of the Futur-E project, will host over 40 robots, 150 participants and 18 teams from around the world that will arrive in the city in the province of Livorno for the euRathlon15 Grand Challenge.

The robotics competition involves as many as 90 hours of performance on ground, water and air. In fact, the machines will operate outdoors and in synergy simulating crisis intervention  situations. For the first time ever, students and experts from 21 countries will perform public tests on the robots they have created, in simulated but realistic scenarios, before an international jury. The event is funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and organised by the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) of La Spezia on a mandate of the EURATHLON consortium.

Enel's Piombino plant is therefore about to host an event that falls entirely outside its traditional activity almost underlining the path of conversion that it has already begun following the programme that provides a new use for the 40 hectares on which the facility was built and for the entire area owned by Enel that covers about 140 hectares. Since Futur-E was launched the Tor del Sale plant has already drawn the attention of several business groups who have imagined a new life for the plant and have also been meeting with the local government and associations to share ideas and conversion projects.

The protection of the WWF Orti-Bottagone Natural Reserve and the environmental sustainability of buildings and utilities for public use are at the centre of the demands presented by the local community and the interest of entrepreneurs who are proposing conversion projects mostly aimed at a commercial and nature-enhancing use of the area, thus initiating a positive synergy with the affected area.

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