SER Social Energy Renovations

The H2020 project to finance sustainable construction in the service sector has begun

 

Financing sustainable building renovations in the service sector with an innovative tool that will accelerate the ecological transition and counteract energy poverty: This is the objective of the European project SER-Social Energy Renovations, which sees the participation of the Italian CGM Finance, the School of Management of the Politecnico di MilanoENEA, and Fratello Sole, a consortium of non-profit entities dedicated to fighting energy poverty. Other partners include the Spanish company GNE Finance, the project leader, Secours Catholique-Caritas France, and the Bulgarian branch of Econoler.

Financed under the Horizon 2020 programme, the project will last three years, in which a de-risking mechanism will be designed and developed to reduce the risk associated with financing and allow access to credit, even for subjects with limited economic capacity. The mechanism will include analysis and technical standardization when defining interventions to make buildings more energy efficient.

The projects will be consolidated and subject to social impact assessment and then financed, allowing investors to access safe, effective investments in line with ESG criteria. It will also allow social companies to carry out green renovations at accessible prices with the necessary technical assistance.

ENEA and Fratello Sole will involve service entities and select buildings used for non-profit activities, intervening with energy-efficient and sustainable restorations. Energy renovation will be carried out by Fratello Sole Energie Solidali – ESCo, a joint venture between Fratello Sole Scarl and Iren Energia.

Within the project, the School of Management will identify indicators to assess and analyse the social impact of the financed projects.

“The question of evaluating social impact is as current as it is complex, growing from a topic of interest to few people into an integral part of business strategy and an essential issue in finance”, explains Mario Calderini, Professor of Social Innovation in the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering.
He adds: “This project aims to improve not only the environmental impact generated by building efficiency interventions, but also the social impact generated by service-sector organizations, which will be able to offer better services due to the benefits of such interventions.” 

Finally, Secours Catholique-Caritas France, together with the Bulgarian branch of the energy efficiency consultation company Econoler, will explore the possibility of replicating of this tool in other European countries.

 

Announcing the start of the TREASURE project

New testing opportunities for new technologies to make the automotive sector more circular

 

1 June 2021 marked the start of the TREASURE project (leading the TRansion of the European Automotive SUpply chain towards a circulaR futurE), coordinated by Sergio Terzi and Paolo Rosa from the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering of the School of Management.
Co-funded by the European Commission with the H2020 programme, TREASURE is a Research and Innovation Action (RIA) that aims to offer new testing opportunities for new technologies to make the automotive sector more circular.

Its main objectives are:

  1. to guarantee sustainable use of raw materials in the automotive sector reducing the risks linked to supplies;
  2. to apply the circular economy paradigm to the automotive sector, acting as examples for the manufacturing macrosector;
  3. to deliver better economic, environmental and social performance for vehicles for all users;
  4. to create new supply chains around end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), focusing on the circular use of raw materials.

In this way, TREASURE will deliver tangible support for companies in the automotive sector, providing a practical demonstration of the benefits obtainable from the application of the circular economy paradigm, from the point of view of both business and supply chains and also of technology and sustainability, through the adoption of industry 4.0 technologies in the management processes of ELVs and their parts.

The primary results expected include:

  1. the development of an AI-based tool for analysis and comparison of possible circular supply chains in the automotive sector;
  2. the realisation of a series of successful cases for key players in the management of ELVs, such as car wreckers, scrap metal shredding plants, raw material recycling plants and vehicle manufacturers;
  3. the integration of key enabling technologies for the design, dismantling and efficient sustainable recycling of electronic auto parts.

Partners in the project, coordinated by the Politecnico di Milano, are the Dutch research centre TNO, Zaragoza University in Spain, the professional school at the Università della Svizzera Italiana, the Università degli Studi dell’Aquila, the Dutch consultancy agency Material Recycling and Sustainability B.V., the Estonian company for social studies Edgeryders OU, the Lithuanian LCD screen manufacturer EUROLCDS SIA, the Spanish auto parts manufacturer Walter Pack SL, the vehicle demolition company Pollini Lorenzo e Figli Srl, the leading Spanish car manufacturer SEAT SA, the software developers TXT E-Solutions Spa, the Spanish scrap metal recycling company Industrias Lopez Soriano SA, the Italian National Unification Body, and the French automotive cluster NEXTMOVE.

New life for electronic waste thanks to the circular economy

This virtuous example of circular economy is the result of the Horizon2020 FENIX project in which the Politecnico di Milano is a partner.

 

Like a phoenix rising out of its own ashes, the FENIX project has achieved its aim of giving new life to electronic waste, turning it into raw materials for eco-compatible products such as new metal filament for 3D printing, eco-friendly metal powders for additive manufacturing and sustainable 3D-printed jewellery.

The Horizon 2020 FENIX Project, in which the Politecnico di Milano is a partner, has drawn to a close after 40 months of work and achievement of its objective to develop new business models and industrial strategies with a view to a circular economy.

The Industry 4.0 Laboratory of the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano has in fact implemented an automated station for the disassembly of mobile phone circuit boards by collaborative-robots (cobots), one of the most advanced automation solutions in robotics technology, as they guarantee operational flexibility while permitting interaction with their surroundings and with the operators who share their tasks.

Thanks to a semiautomatic process, the cobot manages to unsolder the electronic components of the circuit board while preserving their chemical characteristics: it uses a jet of hot air to melt the solder holding together the components so that these can then be detached and processed separately from the board.

Thanks to the circular supply chain set up by the consortium participating in the project, the circuit boards disassembled by the Politecnico di Milano are processed by the University of Aquila, which recovers pure materials (such as copper, tin, gold, silver and platinum) from the boards and their electronic components. Copper and tin are then transformed into metal powders (by MBN Nanomaterialia SpA in Treviso) and filaments suitable for 3D printing (jointly by MBN Nanomaterialia SpA and I3DU and 3DHUB in Athens, Greece), both then tested at the Fundació CIM in Barcelona, Spain. Whereas the precious metals are used by I3DU and 3DHUB in Athens, Greece to create eco-compatible jewellery. Produced and sold through the consortium, these jewels can also be personalised with a 3D scanner service and given the shape of objects or people’s faces.

The hope is that when the project ends, the business models conceived and tested by FENIX will be replicable by other external parties, with a view to promoting the setting up of new circular supply chains.

Also worthy of note is that two of the results developed by the Politecnico di Milano team involved in the FENIX project have been cited by the EU Innovation radar and that an article written by the team received recognition from the publishers Taylor & Francis and appears on the website of the International Journal of Production Research as top cited article. Click here to read the article.

Source: https://www.polimi.it/pressroom/comunicatistampa/

For more info about the project: http://www.fenix-project.eu/
Link to the Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEg3DZSWyo62lSaMg7xxZrg

The challenge of circularity in extended supply chains

Awareness around the environmental impact of products and processes and moving towards the sustainable use of natural resources is increasing in Europe. As such, the circular economy paradigm is obtaining even more success.

Based on this, the H2020 FENIX project, of which the Politecnico di Milano is a partner, aims to develop a new set of business models and industrial strategies with a view to facilitating circular products and services.

Three pilot plants will be established thanks to the development of sustainable processes for the combined treatment of different types of e-waste (e.g. printed circuit boards):

1) A modular, multi-material, reconfigurable pilot plant producing metallic powders for additive manufacturing processes
2) A modular, multi-material, reconfigurable pilot plant producing 3D printed gems
3) A modular, multi-material, reconfigurable pilot plant producing advanced filaments for 3D printing processes

The three pilot plants will be designed in such a way as to exploit Industry 4.0 solutions (e.g. smart sensors) which are able to send online data in real time through dedicated websites developed by FENIX.

The result of this is that production capacity will be shareable amongst the different actors involved in very different supply chains, by encouraging the involvement of end users (both private users and companies) in industrial processes and offering new services to companies for monitoring and controlling industrial plants.

The scientific role of the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering takes many forms. Firstly, the identification of new circular business models able to make use of pilot plants developed in FENIX. Secondly, the assessment of how Industry 4.0 technologies could support circular processes, specifically those related to the disassembly of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). Finally, the Department is responsible for the dissemination and communication of the FENIX project and the management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) strategies.

One of the initiatives promoted by the Department related with FENIX involves collecting obsolete mobiles/smartphones. The mobile phones will be disassembled by the Industry 4.0 Lab in order to facilitate the recovery of valuable materials from electronic components through eco-friendly chemical processes. These materials, once transformed into metal powders, will be reused in additive manufacturing processes.

FENIX is also promoting a set of success stories related to the adoption of circular practices in different industrial sectors. The goal is to use real-world examples to demonstrate that the adoption of circular economy principles will allow for the creation of more sustainable supply chains by improving quality, market value and the alternative exploitation of secondary materials.

Finally, FENIX aims to integrate Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for the efficient recovery of secondary resources within the same industrial plant. FENIX will consider three types of KETs:
1) Advanced production systems: a wide number of sensors will be embedded in each module that makes up the FENIX pilot plant.
2) Industrial bio-technologies: since the initial stages, FENIX has taken into account the use of biometallurgy for the sustainable recovery of materials from different types of waste.
3) Nanotechnologies: this type of materials technology allows for an improvement ofmaterials’ mechanical properties, thermal and electrical conductivity and overall functional properties.

FENIX (Future business models for the Efficient recovery of Natural and Industrial secondary resources in eXtended supply chain contexts)