Enel has launched a call for the development of innovative projects in the renewable energy field. The Group is offering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups the opportunity to collaborate with the specialised technicians and use the Catania Enel Innovation Hub’s facilities in Passo Martino, in Sicily, for the design, implementation and testing of the ideas selected. The call was presented today by Ernesto Ciorra, Director of Enel’s Global Innovation and Sustainability division, at the "Open Innovation in Enel" conference, which was held in the main lecture hall of the University of Catania.
Companies interested in the initiative can submit their projects on the www.openinnovability.enel.com platform by November 15th. The ideas should regard the development of innovative technology solutions in the field of renewable energy and, in particular: new solar generation modules, components and tools for optimising plant performance, automation systems and artificial intelligence applied to the construction and operation of plants, hybrid renewable generation systems, floating photovoltaic solutions, new safety technologies, the development of technologies using augmented and virtual reality, new digital energy services (Internet of Things, Big Data analytics, predictive and automatic operation & maintenance) and the aggregation of distributed power generation sources.
“With this project, we aim to make Catania a centre for research and experimentation in renewable energy technologies, leveraging the lab that Enel has recently launched and the support programme we will offer to the companies that work with us”, said Ernesto Ciorra, Director of Enel’s Global Innovation and Sustainability Division. “With this call, we will work alongside the most promising national and international SMEs and start-ups in the search for innovative solutions in the field of renewable energy, an area in which Enel is a globally recognised leader.”
The SMEs and start-ups selected will be able to grow within the laboratory of the Enel Innovation Hub in Catania, with the support of highly specialised technicians and using laboratories specially designed to test innovative technologies in the renewable generation field, such as solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, microgrids, storage and wind power, with indoor and outdoor testing equipment. In addition, companies will have access to Enel's network to identify strategic partnerships in order to further develop their businesses. Start-ups on the other hand will have access to an Enel acceleration programme, with training sessions with industry experts and support services for international expansion, growth and business plan development.
This initiative is part of the broader investment programme of more than 100 million euros that Enel has launched in its Sicilian technology hub. The project envisages the investment of more than 80 million euros in the 3Sun photovoltaic manufacturing plant and 20 million euros in the Innovation Lab. Thanks to the new investment, the Innovation Lab will become a technology campus and a youth entrepreneur accelerator designed to stimulate research and innovation in the energy sector. It will host start-ups, national and international research centres and will have links with Enel's Innovation Hub network around the world, becoming a meeting place for excellence in innovative technologies.
Enel is already actively working with Italy’s National Research Centre, which has created a laboratory at the Innovation Lab dedicated to the development of the new bifacial heterojunction module that will be produced at the 3Sun plant, and with the University of Catania for the realisation of innovative projects in the renewable energy field.