- An agreement between Enel, CNR (National Research Council) and The Science and Technology Park of Sicily (PSTS) to create an innovative research center dedicated to the use of plant species in the energy field and sustainable land reclamation
Rome, September 25th, 2020 - New lease on life for the former Augusta thermoelectric power plant, thanks to an agreement signed by Enel, Italy’s National Research Council (CNR), through its Department of Engineering, ICT and Technology for Energy and Transport (DIITET), and The Science and Technology Park of Sicily. With this agreement, a research center dedicated to sustainable reclamation and mitigation of environmental impacts of power generation plants and their related infrastructures will be established in areas of the plant that are no longer in use. The facility, due to be completed in 2021, will be made available to researchers at the Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies 'Nicola Giordano' of CNR and The Science and Technology Park, with the aim to strengthen Italian scientific research and create an internationally-renowned center.
As far as research into sustainable remediation is concerned, the aim is to create a center of excellence by providing facilities and technologies and the possibility to carry out studies through the replication of specific site conditions in the laboratory. In this way, the parties will be able to provide new solutions for continuing decommissioning and transition activities in the energy sector internationally, an interdisciplinary research area with high scientific, social and economic potential. Other studies will concern the integration between cultivating crops and power generation activities, such as in agrivoltaic applications, and the reuse of plants used in phytoremediation processes, a natural remediation technology.
“The creation of a research center entrusted to major partners such as CNR and Science Park and built in the decommissioned areas of a thermoelectric power plant is a clear example of how sustainability and the circular economy can generate value. It confirms that the current energy transition is a great opportunity for the country and the local area,” said Carlo Tamburi, Director of Enel Italia.
“Supporting the creation and promotion of the Augusta Research Centre, enhancing it with researchers and skills, is strategic for the country as a whole. However, it is also strategic for CNR and the Region of 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 with a view to the Green Deal,” commented President of CNR Massimo Inguscio.
“The Science and Technology Park of Sicily, a strategic company for Sicily in the areas of scientific and technological research, will contribute to the activities thanks to the experiences and knowledge acquired in almost thirty years of activity,” said President of PSTS Giuseppe Scuderi. “The aim is to create new opportunities for the Region’s most industrialized area with a focus on safeguarding health and protecting the environment.”
In addition to the laboratories where the experiments will take place, the Augusta Research Center will have offices, a conference room and all the necessary elements to make it an autonomous center. From the energy point of view, the Center will come with a large photovoltaic panel covered roof, a solar thermal panel system for the production of domestic hot water and a heat pump system for cooling and heating the building.
The construction of the research center managed by CNR and The Science and Technology Park of Sicily completes the redevelopment of the site. Additional parts of the former oil-fired thermoelectric power plant have been or are being converted to the production of energy from renewable sources and into warehousing and storage areas. Given the architectural value of the plant, the conversion process was carried out while safeguarding the historical-industrial heritage and the buildings. Further improvements are currently under consideration in terms of industrial archaeology.