The Science and Technology Park of Abruzzo (PSTd'A) is a structure composed by research centers, innovation centers and structures for advanced service. The aim is to promote innovative processes through the research and testing. In the reference sector of the proposed project, the strength of the PSTd'A lies precisely in its capabilities:
is equipped with performing laboratories for carrying out tests on materials and substances in numerous production sectors (mechanical, chemical, plastics and paints, etc.);
is equipped with facilities and tools for metrological confirmation of a wide range of measuring instruments;
has a large area for industrial pilot plants, consisting of a technological utilities platform (steam, electricity, cooling water, instrument air, etc.) suitable to install and operate large industrial pilot plants.
PSTd’A is Work Package Leader of the installation and demonstration of the Pilot Plant at TRL 6. The main activities coordinated are the following: detailed design of the pilot plant; construction of the pilot plant; commissioning and start-up of the pilot unit; testing and experimental data analysis. PSTd’A is further involved in activities of other Work Packages relevant to the complete design of the control system and the definition and testing of the material reactors.
Learn more about the contribution of Science and Technology Park of Abruzzo to the ēQATOR project by reading the interview below, in which Annabella Cretara and Alessandra Battista explain the role of the organization within the project and the vision and goals that shape the development of ēQATOR reactor technologies.
Annabella Cretara and Alessandra Battista
Please introduce yourself and your role in the project!
I am Anabella Cretara, I am a mechanical engineer and a Science Park researcher. My role in the ēQATOR project is to fix up the mechanical technical aspect and to manage the Work Package 5, relevant to the testing phase of the pilot plant.
I am Alessandra Battista. I'm a process engineer and Science Park researcher. In the project, my role consists of the management process issue of Work Package 5 and all technical features relevant to the integration and demonstration of the pilot plant.
How did you learn about the project and become a partner?
The Science Park was already involved in this type of European project before. For the ēQATOR project, we became a partner through the shareholder of Science Park, Walter Tosto, who had already joined the project and involved us as a Research Center.
What is your organisation's role in the project, and what expertise do you bring to the table?
The Science Park is the leader of the work package relevant to the installation and demonstration of the pilot plant because it will be welded in the premises of our research center. We will even coordinate the development of the detailed engineering design of the pilot plant, the commissioning, and the startup and will carry out the testing and the analysis of the samples. In our chemical labs, also the analysis of the data collected from the local control system, we will also use our labs to test the material of the reactor.
We will perform the integration of the plant into our technological platform, thanks to Science Park's expertise. The park was founded in 1993 and has developed projects in different research fields like chemical, mechanical, environmental, electrical, and so on. The current managing director, Mr. Alberto Santalucia, is also the technical director of the Science Park Science 1997, and the people in the Science Park involved have experience in designing, commissioning, and startup of the plant.
And regarding us, for me, my professional experience includes the design of the process, plant simulation of chemical processes, and the integration of instrument automation systems relevant to industrial processes and plants. In the last year, the key activities were focused on the management and the supervisor of integrating projects in different fields, including an industrial plant.
In turn, my professional knowledge involves expertise in mechanical design in industrial plants, in particular, mechanical calculation of static equipment, stress analysis and other analyses of the critical and non-standardized components. I manage also multidisciplinary projects and supervise mechanical designing of them. My expertise is also relevant to the knowledge of material and the problems that can arise in this kind of process.
How is your organisation collaborating with other partners in the project?
Regarding our activity in the project, we attend online technical meetings and also meet in presence in our office, the laboratory, and the technological platform of our Research Center with partners Italian partners like Walter Tosto or NextChem and also the European partner. Our work package involved also MEAM, MCI, and Johnson Matthey. Currently, the first team of people has been involved in the project, but in the future when our package will be properly started, it will be expanded.
How do your project activities contribute to the goal of the project to achieve a cost-competitive renewable methanol production with near zero CO2 emissions?
So we will contribute, of course, with the demonstration of the pilot plant and testing of all integration of the other work package inside the project. And the first and main contribution is by validating the result based on our experience and by optimizing the process parameter, if necessary, with the tuning of the process data during the pilot plant installation. A key activity also is the choice of material in which we want to achieve a trade-off between cost and performance.
Regarding your tasks, what do you expect are or will be the greatest challenges during the project?
The challenge is to study the potentiality of the plant and so efficiency influence of boundary effects, process stability problems in the transistors, and so on. But really the challenge is to phase up the industrial validation and so correctly extrapolate the data of the individual units and components in a space and time scale-up vision and even perform an assessment of the technological limits of the test equipment.
If you had one wish regarding the project, what would it be?
I wish we will identify the strengths but also the weaknesses of the plant in order to feed the further TR development. Our goal is the common goal that this revolutionary technology will be only a starting point for the transition to the next generation of industrial catalytic processes for syngas and hydrogen production that will improve CO2 emission savings more and more in the coming years.