The new frontier of future energy was born in Livorno and has a high-tech heart

I-Em’s Team of Engineers at Work: We’ll All Be Producers and Consumers at the Same Time, Here’s How It Happens

Livorno. Emilio SimeoneWith a bachelor’s degree in physics and a doctorate in engineering, he is a man who has looked upward since he has been involved in satellites and experiments in microgravity. Later, he continued to do so when he created an app to deliver a safe tan thanks to its ability to “look” at the sun and control its radiance. He has not yet stopped with his group’s new pioneering adventure that collects data from weather satellites, and analyzes “big data” that also emerges from terrestrial systems between production, distribution and consumption of the electricity to be managed. Through complex mathematical models (but turned into something that can be read through an interface that avoids limiting their understanding to only “nerds”).

Gas war

The “gas war” that underlies the war in Ukraine has taught us: Energy is essential to keep our communities in motion, and those who say our air conditioner temperature is just at stake or we keep our amusement park lights on, we heat an Angus chip or we can take a water shower Hot after the football match. Terna’s periodic report notes that 43% of electricity is generated by gas stations, and that electricity is what drives trains, the engineering and chemical industries, traffic lights like hospitals, and also lights schools. Like the streets, they recharge the battery of electric cars or the computers that make everything work.

But so far we have talked about it quantitatively: we must know that we are talking about a total requirement of 75-76 billion cubic meters, a little less than half of them are of Russian origin (years ago it was barely 10%), putting the complete regasification system in the network from Four to eight and so on.

Quality and quantity

However, there is also another problem: it is about quality rather than quantity, but it is precisely quality that leads to the use of different quantities. And that’s where improving energy management comes in: specifically the side of a Livorno company – called “I-Em” for “intelligence in energy management” – of which Simeone is CEO: he was born and Flyby ended up in the spotlight. Already in the first half of the last decade because it was among the winners of the first edition of the Enel Lab, the “business laboratory” that has seen more than two hundred entrepreneurial realities from Italy and Spain, two European worlds that are, along with Germany, the pioneers in innovative renewable energy technologies and Smart Grids.

But be careful: the improvement is not the modification that spoils the gears of the mechanism a little. “No, it’s a revolution that completely changes the scenario,” says the engineer. Cerro LanzettaWho is the technical director of the company and a member of the board of directors.

The road to “The Flowers”

the reason? «The classic scheme – he says – provides for an economic giant that produces energy, and the grid works in one direction, consumers buy it. In the future, but in a tomorrow already beginning today, every subject will be a producer and a consumer. So much so that they call it “Consumers” (Users – Producers) to find a word that fuses these two roles. We will take power from the grid but also supply it: we will exchange it within “energy communities”, perhaps providing battery capacity when we are not using it ».

Between batteries and panels

Engineer Simeone invites us to think of “thousands of square meters of photovoltaic panels in warehouses or large housing units that can provide power generation capacity” or “an army of thousands and thousands of vehicles that can share their barrel-making potential”. Then add: “The Internet of Things” will allow exchanges to be “calculated” by calculating how much each one took and how much it provided: this continuous exchange has the power of a “distributed” infrastructure within an ecosystem that a single component Batatrac can hardly transmit. Not only that: Distribution – Lanzetta adds – is the best antidote to avoiding having to scale structures based on peak demand. This is the problem for those who intend to focus on renewable sources: the sun and wind are not foolproof, so you need something available to store the electricity and bring it back when needed.”

After all, if all the ecological shift was the transition from diesel to electric and then electricity was produced using conventional power plants, we would have transferred only exhaust gas emissions: so far the muffler of the car, and now the chimney of the power plant is refueled (not entirely different , it risks being the hydrogen route…). Here, on the other hand, there is a leap forward in renewables because the goal is to solve the main problem of renewables: energy production is not static and not programmable, because it depends on the presence of the sun or wind. Thus there is no guarantee that it will be available when you need it, so you must have the ability to store it. A shared infrastructure among millions of user-producers allows costs to be reduced because the coexistence of such a large number of shared sources and suppliers allows for the reliance on a large number of battery parts or a small production surplus related to one family or one company that can be shared.

But it also means one more thing: there will be large suppliers who have energy distribution as their profession, but they will likely be a little less giant than they are now. It’s not just a technical shift.

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