The Carpi model
14 March 2019. The presentation day for the new Carpi logistics hub will remain an important date on the calendar of our decommissioning project and Italy’s industrial repurposing in general. This is not only because the project that has converted the former gas power plant is a model of sustainable redevelopment, but also because it is the first redeveloped site within the programme, with the objective of giving new life to 23 thermo-electric power stations and a former mining area. This ambitious, visionary and popular circular economy programme was launched by Enel Produzione in order to transform sites that are no longer operational into new opportunities for their regions and the communities.
From power station to logistics hub
A few dozen kilometres from the River Po, in the heart of the “Bassa Emiliana” area, Fossoli is a district north of Carpi, in the province of Modena. This is one of Italy’s most productive textile districts, making items ranging from knitwear to completed garments. Here, in the late 1980s, Enel’s thermo-electric plant was constructed in record time to ensure the stability of the local and national grid and respond to energy requirements at moments of peak demand and in case of emergency.
Developments on Italy’s energy scene gradually led to the plant’s being used less and less, until its role became marginal in the last few years of its operations. It was therefore decided to close it down. Work on the redevelopment site began in 2017, and took two years to complete, transforming it into one of our Group’s two logistics hubs in northern Italy.
“The old skyline of the plant has not been left abandoned, but has become a development opportunity in record time,” says Carpi’s Mayor, Alberto Bellelli, who is proud “of the excellent public-private synergy, the ability to construct quality in the local area and the close attention paid to environmental sustainability.”
A circular project
The work done at Fossoli is an exemplary circular economy model. Selective demolition has enabled us to recover around 3,700 tonnes of metal, as well as copper and aluminium, and reuse on site 7,000 tonnes of crushed cement. In this way we have minimised waste, transforming the materials remaining after demolition into new resources.
What’s more, from the initial stages of the project onwards we used the BIM (Building Information Modelling) system to optimise planning, building and management of the construction by gathering information and through 3D representations of the work’s entire lifecycle. “100 years from now, when it’s the turn of this new structure to be decommissioned and redeveloped, we’ll already have the instruction manual on how to do it,” said Carpi’s Mayor.
Demolishing a former thermo-electric power plant is a complex operation: the installation covered an area of 76,000 square metres, with two methane-burning turbogas units of around 90 MW each. The work met the deadline for completion: demolition began in September 2017 and ended in early May 2018 when the first foundations for the new structure were laid. It was finished in less than a year.
The key theme: sustainability
The new logistics hub covers an area of around 20,000 square metres of outdoor space, and the same amount under cover. It is located in an area hosting a number of different installations and sites that create, in the words of the Mayor of Carpi, “a recycling and recovery hub.” But what is more important is that it has been developed using sustainable, zero-impact solutions – LED lighting, a phytopurification system for clean water and rainwater recovery to irrigate green areas and supply firefighting systems, as well as electrical charging stations for forklift trucks.
“The repurposing solutions we are creating alongside the local authorities must offer responses in terms of social, environmental and economic sustainability: only in this way can projects like Carpi enjoy a long-term future,” says Solfaroli Camillocci.
The solution chosen for the former power plant is the objective that the entire project is working towards – transforming the decommissioning into a new development opportunity, creating shared value through the involvement with the local area. This is the “shared value” approach, which is based on the direct involvement of the local community through competitions, idea workshops and round tables.
The Mayor of Carpi says that this method “has proved itself to be effective and efficient: from tomorrow, every other site will use this method as a model. It’s a game changer.”