Technologies

  • 29 May 2020

    Enerbrain

    By Filippo Ferraris – Co-Founder and CPO of Enerbrain Filippo Ferraris starts from “IoT”, Internet of Things, claiming that products such as smartwatches are not exploited as much as they can considering their rapid replacement with other increasingly innovative gadgets, a perspective that is far away from the concept of sustainability. The IoT was born with the aim of changing the planet and solving people’s problems in their daily lives. In 1991 the first IoT product was born in the laboratory of Cambridge University by Quentin Stafford and Paul Jardetzki: it was the Trojan Room Coffee Camera, thanks to which it was possible to remotely control whether the coffee maker in the Trojan Room, which required very long time to make the coffee, was full or not, and thus avoiding a useless journey from the workplace to the room. For this reasons IoT tools are born, with the aim of solving a problem. For example, a smartwatch can be used as a tool to control arrhythmia and get to know your health status in real time, by performing supporting functions for individuals. To date, the number of connected devices is 40 billion and it is no expected to stop. From computers to household appliances, from traffic lights to electrical outlets, in 2020 this value will reach 50 billion given the continuous development in IoT. Even if we don’t realize it – says Ferraris – we produce an incredible amount of data that is stored and used by third parties to make IoT products. An example is Netatmo smart thermostats which collect data on temperature that are then publicly shared, selling them to companies that make weather forecasts. These devices are leading the city to be increasingly “smart” because of its ability to obtain data from what surround them. When it...
  • 28 February 2020

    Wave for Energy

    Andrea Gulisano – CEO at Wave for Energy Andrea Gulisano began his speech by pointing out that 40% of the world population lives less than 100 km from the coast and that the possibility of having energy from the sea would not be such a remote and undervalued resource. The energy from the sea has many positive and some negative aspects; among the positive ones there is the high energy density, as it is a very concentrated energy, at about 20 meters from the surface the maximum power of the hence. Moreover, the energy from the sea is also very predictable, there are technologies that can predict the amount of resources and give inputs to tune the different technological systems and achieve maximum results. It also has a minimal environmental impact. Among the negative aspects there are: the complexity of the regulations for installation, the absence of incentives and the use of materials subject to high corrosion. Gulisano spoke of Wave for Energy, the Spinoff of the Turin Polytechnic, founded in 2010, which works to create energy technologies for a more sustainable world and which has recently started working in the open sea and not only in the laboratory. The spinoff deals with marine energy and has soon broadened its horizons, especially thanks to the collaboration with Eni and with the University of Edinburgh. Among the projects of Wave for Energy, we find “ISWEC“, a WEC (Wave Attenuator) technology, born in 2012, which consists of a 100kW device consisting of a gyroscopic system that interacts with a sealed hull producing electricity. Wave for Energy has subsequently created a full-scale system that can be used in a real environment: the sea, the goal is to reach an industrial and commercial system. In 2015 he started the project in Pantelleria where a...
  • 13 February 2020

    40South Energy

    By Michele Grassi – CEO & CTO of 40South Energy and Element Works Michele Grassi begins his speech by introducing 40South Energy, a project born in 2007, and Elements Works, a project born in 2014. The focus of 40South Energy is to produce renewable energy from sea waves. Over the years Elements Works has adopted a sustainable approach to the resources of the sea, including one called Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) whose goal is to establish a circular approach to the marine environment. In this sector it is possible to interact with various stakeholders, including those involved in fishfarming. Data collection is also essential to have a complete picture of the environment in which you operate. We need to move towards a continuous and punctual knowledge and data collection, which at the moment is lacking. The tools that can be used at the moment are sensors that are separated by large distances that only give a partial collection of information; then there are simulations like those of Aeneas; the collections on the spot field are not enough. Sea energy is different from wind energy; it is more distributed and predictable.In 2005, Grassi had the idea of a new approach to convert sea waves into electricity. This idea has become a project, and after about 10 years it has produced a machine called H24, so called because it can work 24/24. The first prototype of this machine was installed in Marina di Pisa. This technology is particularly useful for efficient dispatching and for isolated networks.Microgrids need less energy and generally have to bear higher costs per kWh, up to 0.50 cents per kWh and even more. In this context, machines with greater capital and management costs can be exploited, and commercial installations can be made, which are self-financed thanks to...
  • 7 February 2020

    H2Boat

    By Thomas Lamberti – CEO of H2Boat Thomas Lamberti started his speech by introducing the current ecological situation, underlining that thanks to the abundance of energy provided by fossil sources, mankind has experienced unprecedented growth, thanks to a rapid but not sustainable economic development based on a linear model of continuous growth. The cycle of oil formation and its consumption travel on two incredibly different time scales. Furthermore, the rapid release of fossil CO2 has brought the planet into the Anthropocene era, characterized by strong ecological imbalances. The future of humanity will require more and more energy, but in a sustainable way, within a circular economy approach. Lamberti then continued his discussion focusing on the importance of hydrogen as a new source of energy; he explained that the hydrogen energy is among the most promising solutions for storing energy produced from renewable sources. H2Boat, is a spin-off of University of Genoa, born within the Department of Mechanical Engineering DIME and they work together on the technology transfer. H2Boat was born out of the desire to concretely realize its ideas at an industrial level, always maintaining the innovative and enterprising spirit that characterizes the university activity.Among his projects, Lamberti is researching and developing innovative solutions in order to introduce hydrogen technology on the market and make it available in every sector and to engineer energy systems for sailboats and motorboats, with the intention to start a successful entrepreneurial initiative able to contribute to the clearance of fuel cell and hydrogen technology in the nautical/naval world and beyond. The launch product of H2Boat is the Energy Pack, an energy storage system produced from renewable sources for sailboats. H2Boat Energy Pack is a system that uses hydrogen technology for autonomous pleasure boats – in particular sailboats – from the on-board electrical needs point...
  • 30 September 2019

    Blockchain, AI and Sharing

    by Lisanne Huizing Due to the urbanization phenomenon, more people are going to move to cities. This will lead to more congestion of traffic, more pollution, and a necessity for more resources in cities among others. We will need more of everything than we have right now, in order to generate food and products. Resources are not endless, and they will become scarce in the future. “Smart Cities” have to solve this problem of rapid movement of goods, people and capital. By integrating technology, both cities’ and citizens’ behaviors can be understood. People can become involved and empowered by giving control over resources to more stakeholders by combining circular and smart technologies. It will give citizens the possibility to more actively govern their own resources at a lower geographical scale. Adaptive systems will be very beneficial for our future needs. Sharing & Circular Economy  With the Sharing Economy, a new phenomenon has arisen and it provides opportunities to redesign urban planning and access to locally shared resources. This will create a shift from possession-based, to a service-based economy. In order to use less resources in a growing and more demanding society, it will become necessary to make better use of the capacity of resources that is already existing.  When you look at a car that you only use in the weekends, for example, by sharing this with other people, it can also be used during the week. Once the car is optimally used and it comes to the end of its lifecycle, you can move towards the next step; circularity.  Although the Sharing Economy and Circular Economy are two different elements, they are connected. Because where the Sharing Economy ends, the Circular Economy begins. Together, they influence the taking shape of practices and optimization of processes. Cities can play a big role...
  • 9 June 2019

    Cleantech

    In the common imagination, technology and environment can be seen as in contrast. On the one hand, the manufacturing industry with its energy-intensive production processes, which consume enormous amounts of resources, introduces toxic substances in exchange for air. On the other hand, the environment is seen as an element to be preserved and defended. The term technology itself, however, indicates the most efficient and economical use of available goods and tools. This is why it is not an oxymoron to talk about Cleantech, clean technologies, although it can be complex to define its fields of action in an exact manner. Cleantech: clean technology without borders The concept of Cleantech is difficult to define. If it is true that in a theoretical level it is a rather simple concept when you go into it, the possibilities become practically endless. In Cleantech, we can include all the innovations, regarding processes and products, that limit or completely eliminate the negative environmental impact of human action. We can talk about Cleantech when we are faced with technologies that deal with: • Collection and recycle of waste • Production of electricity from renewable sources • Rationalization of transport • Optimization of energy consumption • Reduction of packaging volumes • Limitation of resources used in the production process • Cutting emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere. In a Circular Economy perspective, Cleantech can, therefore, become any technology that limits energy; optimize their production and consumption processes; prevents waste eventually produced. In our analysis, we will focus on technologies that provide innovative energy production and storage. Artificial intelligence Forbes has dedicated to the world of new technologies for the creation of clean energy an article on the possible trends for 2019. Among the 6 trends that could emerge this year, the newspaper cites Artificial Intelligence, now pervasive...
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