Italian Cleantech Innovation on Display

In December of 2013, Cleantech Group collaborated with Italy Cleantech Network and several prestigious investors and clusters in the Italian ecosystem to conduct a research endeavor into the landscape of sustainable innovation in Italy, one of Europe’s largest and most heavily industrialized manufacturing economies. We’ve also highlighted some of the most promising cleantech SME companies in the country, through a report and video series, where you can view the personalized stories of BM Solar, Directa Plus, Electro Power Systems, i-EM, Newlisi, Personal Factory, and Underground Power.

Interestingly, the top themes expressed by several of the top Italian companies are similar to some of the mega-trend subjects we have continually discussed at our events, such as the Global Cleantech 100 Gala and Summit in Washington DC and London. Here are some snippets of innovation focus areas amongst several of the Italy Cleantech 10 companies:

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1. Emerging Markets as the Go-to-Strategy:

i-EM, the developer of a software that fuses data from satellites and sensors to provide forecasts on grid performance, “is looking to add value to utilities, operators and traders especially in regions where renewables are starting to be adopted, like Latin America,explains the CEO, Emilio Simione.

BMSolar’s internet-connected power optimizers offer intelligence to extend the efficiency, fire safety and lifetime of new and existing PV installations. The company has a positive outlook on future growth with major international orders, most notably from China.


2. Changing pre-existing business models:

Underground Power has a fresh outlook on road traffic, through harvesting kinetic energy from moving vehicles. An installation of their modular platforms is already generating energy from thousands of shoppers’ vehicles daily in a major Italian parking space.

Personal Factory is working on 5 continents to distribute building materials (such as dry mortars) closer to end users, via selling its local chemical compound plants to retailers – thus reducing 98% of transportation cost. According to the CEO, Francesco Vito Tassone, this is a potential $2 trillion market.


3. Discovering new applications, and new target customers

Electro Power Systems, through its decentralized and self-recharging fuel cell systems, re-establishes hydrogen reserves on site by using surplus electricity and water. Potential customers are in “all markets where energy is a critical element for the continuity of services, like telecommunications or energy storage for housing,” says Marco Congiatu, Head of Business Development.

Directa Plus is investing to scale up its production of pristine graphene nano-structures, having just opened a plant that is the largest of its kind in Europe. Directa Plus can enter many different industries since “graphene is an enabling material in different applications, and can be utilized immediately by existing markets, like tires, textiles and water & purification applications,” says theCEO Giulio Cesareo

Newlisi’s zero sludge system offers a solution to transform bacteria from wastewater into clean water and fertilizer, currently with major municipal and industrial customers across Europe. According to the CEO Antonio Capristo, “the company would like to deploy its technology into different industries, like food and beverage, such as the beer segment, where there seems to be a high demand.”

Find out more about these and other Italian companies in our video series. Next year, we are taking our annual Cleantech Forum Europe, for the first time, to Florence, Italy on April 27-29, 2015, to uncover more of what the region has to offer the international community. Don’t forget to save the date – we hope to see you all there!