Augusta, from power station to science research centre

Published on Monday, 5 October 2020

The former Augusta thermoelectric power station, in the province of Syracuse, is being given a new lease of life. Thanks to an agreement between our Group, the Italian National Research Centre (Centro Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR) and the Science and Technology Park of Sicily, a new research centre will open in areas of the station that are no longer in use.

Due for completion in 2021, the facility will be made available to CNR and Science and Technology Park of Sicily researchers with the aim of creating a hub that will become an international benchmark.

“A clear example of how sustainability and the circular economy can generate value, confirming that the current energy transition is a great opportunity for the country and the local area”, commented Carlo Tamburi, Enel’s Head of Country Italy.

The project will complete the reclamation and upgrading of the entire 150,000-square-metre site, part of which has already been (or is about to be) converted to renewable energy production, storage and warehousing.

The entire project is designed to be completed whilst protecting the historical and industrial heritage of the building: designed by architect and urban planner Giuseppe Samonà, the power station won the “ARCHINSI 61” prize in 1961 and is still the subject of university studies and research.

But that is not all. A large photovoltaic panel-covered roof, a system of solar thermal panels for domestic hot water production, and a heat pump for cooling and heating the building will ensure that the new centre makes a powerful statement about sustainability. On top of laboratories, it will also have offices and a conference hall.

So what kind of work will the new research centre be doing? The aim is to turn it into a centre of excellence for sustainable remediation by replicating specific conditions in the lab. This will allow scientists to develop new solutions for decommissioning and energy transition work 12/10/2020of agricultural crop growing and energy production, as happens in agrivoltaics, and on the reuse of plants involved in phytoremediation, a natural plant-based remediation technology.

“Supporting the creation and promotion of the Augusta Research Centre, bringing it to life with researchers and expertise, is strategic for the country as a whole. However, it is also strategic for CNR and Sicily, which need and want to tackle the energy transition and industrial conversion. These actions are essential for economic recovery in harmony with the strategies and objectives of the wider European context, and within the Green Deal”, commented President of CNR Massimo Inguscio. President of the Science and Technology Park Giuseppe Scuderi added that the project will “create new opportunities for the most industrialised area of the Region, with a focus on safeguarding health and the environment”.  

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