- The Enel AI&Robotics Lab aims at cooperating with Israeli startups to boost innovation in the field of AI and Robotics applied to renewables and power distribution networks
- This is Enel’s fourth innovation initiative, since the Company first opened a hub in Israel in 2016, to advance the Group’s commitments to sustainability, energy transition and electrification
Rome/Tel Aviv, September 19th, 2022 - Enel inaugurated today the Enel AI&Robotics Lab, a dedicated lab to explore innovative applications of AI and robotics in renewables and power grids, as well as develop sustainable solutions and materials. This is the fourth innovation initiative launched by the Enel Group in Israel and is sponsored by Enel Green Power and Enel Grids, the Group’s arms dedicated to, respectively, clean power generation and power distribution.
The inauguration saw the participation of Sergio Barbanti, Ambassador of Italy to Israel, Gideon Friedmann, Chief Scientist at Israeli Ministry of Energy, Dr. Ami Appelbaum, Chief Scientist & Chairman of the Board at Israel Innovation Authority, and Avi Hasson, CEO of Startup Nation Central. For Enel, the Group’s Chair, Michele Crisostomo, the CEO of Enel Green Power, Salvatore Bernabei, and Enel’s Head of Innovability®, Ernesto Ciorra, attended the event.
“The Enel AI&Robotics Lab is a new milestone in the Group’s journey to foster innovation for the energy transition,” said Enel Chair Michele Crisostomo. “Innovation helps our Group’s mission to improve sustainability in electricity generation, grid development and digitalization, as well as electrification of end uses, therefore creating long-term shared value for our stakeholders. Through the new lab, we aim to further expand our cooperation with the vibrant Israeli innovation ecosystem, finding the best solutions to our needs and discovering new opportunities for development, a continuation of the success stories experienced so far through our Open Innovability® approach.”
The Enel AI&Robotics Lab, located in the center of Tel Aviv, offers startups an area of almost 300 m2 of open spaces and meeting rooms as well as a laboratory area, allowing for both office activities as well as prototyping and experimentation of small robots, drones and sensors. The Lab will support the development of AI and robotics technologies, especially those focused on automation and digitization in renewables and network construction and operation, as well as the development of innovative, sustainable materials. It will host early-stage startups and give them tech and business validation, providing access to test sites, real data, expert know-how, hardware and software. The validation process will include a Proof of Concept (PoC) with the final goal of global scale up for those startups selected by Enel as solution providers. In addition, the Lab will collaborate with local universities, companies and innovation communities to engage with the Israeli ecosystem, as well as host workshops and meet-ups to deep-dive challenges and use cases for which Enel is seeking highly innovative solutions.
The Lab began operating in June 2022, hosting its first three-day innovation bootcamp during which several business and technical challenges were explored and solutions discussed with more than ten startups. Future bootcamps will offer relevant ecosystem players the opportunity to work with Enel on several challenges, including:
· automation solutions for the construction of photovoltaic power plants, to guarantee a safe, effective and efficient working environment;
· ensure worker safety through safe driving and monitoring of risky behaviors on the field;
· digitization and automation using artificial intelligence techniques and optimization models for the validation of on-edge solutions to support operational processes on the field;
· innovative solutions for the operation and maintenance of renewable energy plants and distribution grids to increase the number of tasks that can be performed remotely or autonomously (e.g., multifunction robots, visual analytics models, etc.);
· use of drones in the utility industry leveraging on overhead networks for drone wireless charging.
Enel has been deeply involved in the Israeli ecosystem since the launch of its first Innovation Hub in August 2016 in Tel Aviv. Since then, the Group has been working with local startups, including through sector-focused initiatives: the FinSec Lab, which is located in Beer-Sheva and is dedicated to fintech and cybersecurity, and the Infralab, which is focused on smart infrastructure and construction. So far, the hub and two labs have scouted about 1,500 startups, 55 of which have been involved in innovation projects, leading to nine startups that have scaled their solutions at Enel. The company works with Israeli startups on joint projects across its operations, ranging from cybersecurity, fintech, predictive maintenance and automation, to green power generation and e-mobility. In one of the largest scale projects ongoing today with Israeli startup Brenmiller Energy, Enel integrated a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system based on rocks into a combined cycle power plant in Italy. The solution developed by Brenmiller guarantees operational flexibility and increases capability to provide services to the grid, in addition to fostering the growth of renewables and their integration into the network. Furthermore, Enel is developing and testing with Gadfin, a startup that designs innovative, long-range drone solutions, an inspection system that can be pre-programmed to automatically scan power lines and produce a digital twin of distribution grids in a way that is faster, cheaper and more sustainable than the existing process that uses helicopters or regular drones.
Globally, Enel has a network of nine hubs and six labs working hand in hand with startups and SMEs to develop technological solutions and conduct pilot projects by giving access to the global industrial assets, laboratories, experts and relevant data of a Group that counts on a network of over 70 million customers. This allows solvers to be supported throughout the entire process and emphasizes the Group’s Open Power mindset. So far, Enel’s innovation hubs and labs have scouted over 13,000 startups, leading to more than 500 PoC projects and more than 120 scale-ups.
Enel, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power and renewables markets. At global level, it is the largest renewable private player, the foremost network operator by number of end users and the biggest retail operator by customer base. The Group is the worldwide demand response leader and the largest European utility by ordinary EBITDA . Enel is present in 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with over 92 GW of total capacity. Enel Grids, the Group’s global business line dedicated to the management of the electricity distribution service at global level, delivers electricity through a network of over 2.3 million kilometers to more than 75 million end users. The Group brings energy to around 70 million homes and businesses. Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power has a total capacity of more than 55 GW and a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power, as well as energy storage facilities, installed in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Enel X Global Retail, Enel's global business line active in the areas of energy supply and efficiency, has a total capacity of around 7.9 GW of demand response managed globally and has installed 62 MW of behind-the-meter storage capacity. In addition, Enel X Way is the Group’s new company fully dedicated to electric mobility, managing more than 380,000 public and private EV charging points worldwide, both directly and through interoperability agreements.
 Enel’s leadership in the different categories is defined by comparison with competitors’ FY 2021 data. Publicly owned operators are not included.