CTNE – National Energy Technology Cluster
History of National Technology Clusters – CTN
The National Technology Clusters – CTN are public/private non-profit partnership operating on the national territory for industrial research, training, and technology transfer, with the aim of coordinating and strengthening the link between the research and the industrial world through national and international initiatives.
Twelve National Technology Clusters are currently operating, created in two distinct timeframes.
In 2012 CTN Aerospace, Agrifood, Green Chemistry, Intelligent factories, Transports, Life sciences, Technologies for living environments, Smart Communities were recognized by the Ministry of the University and the Research, and four years later, in 2016 CTN Energy, along with Made in Italy, Economy of the sea, Cultural heritage were recognized as well.
Basic Role and Associates
The mission of the Cluster is to combine the demand for innovation in the industrial sector with the scientific and technical outcome provided by the research infrastructures of the country to support the energy transition and therefore the achievement of the targets set by the European Union and the SET Plan, and at national level by the PNIEC, through research funding: Horizon Europe, PNRR, PNR, RDSE, Mission Innovation, National and Regional Calls.
The CTN Energy Founders are representative of public research organisations (ENEA, CNR, RSE), the industry (e-distribuzione, ENI, NUOVO PIGNONE TECNOLOGIE, TERNA), and the academy (EnSiEL).
The Cluster counts today 77 Associates, namely 16 regional bodies (some of which – territorial district/cluster – represent numerous SME), 12 large industries, 49 Universities and PRO (public research organisations).
The Cluster is managed by the Board of Directors, including the President, Ing. Gian Piero Celata, supported by the Director, Ing. Claudia Vivalda, with the contribution of the Scientific-Technical Committee which assists in the task of perfecting and updating the technology roadmaps of research and development, in line with the national, European and international context. Besides, three thematic committees, representing the different typology of associates complete the governance structure: a) industry committee, which contributes to the definition of research, development and industrial innovation strategies and promotes technology transfer and the launch of start-ups and research spin-offs; b) institutional research committee, contributes to the development and proposal of strategies for research and innovation in the energy sector and assists the industry in technology transfer; c) territorial organisms committee, which contributes to the formulation of research strategies ensuring their coherence with regional research policies.
Two pilot projects were also funded under the Cluster umbrella, related to industrial research, having as objectives the development of knowledge, technological solutions and innovative applications in activities related to two specific strategic lines:
- innovative components and systems for the production and distribution of sustainable and low-carbon energy;
- production, storage and distribution of electricity according to the Smart grid concept.
with experimental and industrial research activities suitable to enhance the links between industrial research and basic research and demonstrate the ability to create value from the collaboration of research and industrial partners.
The two Projects saw the participation of the Cluster founders: ENEA, RSE, CNR, ENI, e-distribution, Terna, Nuovo Pignone Tecnologie, EnSiEL Consortium.
NeMESi Project: New Sustainable Energy Mixing
The project is aimed at the study and development of advanced solutions in the CSP sector and hybridization and integration with other energy sources.
In particular, it addresses the evaluation of the benefits deriving from the integration of concentrated solar plants (equipped with innovative systems for thermal storage), with plants for the production of steam for industrial use and for the generation of electricity, identifying and defining at the same time the more convenient configurations and related optimization parameters.
Living Grid Project
The focus of the project is the development of new models for the optimal management, in emergency conditions, of the National Transmission Grid, of the disconnection and reconnection of portions of the grid and the related distributed energy resources.
The project involves the construction of a demonstrator/pilot capable of representing a technologically scalable system.
Three-year technology plan
The Cluster mission is implemented by means of a three-year technology plan, reviewed yearly to stay up to date with the evolving national, European and international energy policies and the associates’ research and innovation priorities and the technology transfer programmes.
The current technology plan (2023) identifies six priority technological areas of interest, each of them associated to a few (3-5) representative technology roadmaps.
- Smart networks and micro-networks: technologies, systems and methods for management and control
- Energy storage: technologies and management and control systems
- Smart Grid: innovative devices, technologies, and measurement methodologies
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
- Smart Energy
- Hydrogen and CCUS value chain
The technology roadmaps deal with topics such as sustainable mobility, power-to-gas, integrated energy networks, digitalization and smart metering, energy storage management, energy production and end-use efficiency, energy production from renewable sources (solar, wind), RES integration in buildings and environment, local energy communities, biochemicals and biofuels, industrial symbiosis in the energy sector (energy recovery from thermal waste), hydrogen as energy vector, carbon capture utilization and storage CCUS (blue hydrogen), energy network integration and digitalization.
These areas are characterized by a different level of technological readiness, product innovation, patent activity and by the presence, in most cases, of an adequate and qualified national production sector, including related industries, which, supported by targeted policies and strategies to support research and innovation, will be able to enhance its positioning on the international market for Energy devices and systems, facilitating the energy transition towards a low carbon economy.
Input for the regular update of the Action Plan is issued from National programs and strategies: National hydrogen strategy, PNRR (National Plan for Recovery and Resilience, using Next Generation EU funds), PNR (National Program for Research), PNIEC (Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate), Mission Innovation, IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest).
National Energy Technology Cluster day to day activities
CTNE provide support to the Associates involved in the energy value chain, coordinate actions with other Associations, industries, research centers, promote events and facilitate networking, participate in institutional activities: public consultations, auditions, working groups.