7 October 2021
Innovation & sustainability: Enel X and ADR launch PIONEER project
Enel X and Aeroporti di Roma will design an innovative storage system that will allow, through used electric vehicle batteries, for the storage of excess energy produced by a solar plant, which can cover evening energy demand peaks at the airport and provide services to the network . The project has attracted European funding from the Innovation Fund and will drastically reduce emissions at Italy's largest airport hub, improving the sustainability of the battery supply chain

Thanks to a partnership between Enel X and ADR (Aeroporti di Roma, Airports of Rome), second-life batteries from electric vehicles will be integrated into a 30 MW solar park being built at Rome Fiumicino Airport and scheduled to be finished by 2024, helping to drastically reduce emissions at the airport.

The project, called Pioneer- airPort sustaInability secONd lifE battEry stoRage, has been awarded a grant of more than 3 million euros from the Innovation Fund, the EU's climate innovation fund, and involves the construction of an innovative 10 MWh storage system based on electric vehicle batteries in their second-life cycle. The batteries will be used to store the excess energy produced by the solar plant and cover any evening energy demand peaks at the airport.

Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X said: "For the first time, a large industrial site such as Fiumicino Airport, Italy's largest airport, will have an energy storage system utilizing second-life batteries from electric cars. We will use an innovative modular design to optimize integration costs and allow for the flexible use of batteries from cars. This pioneering project is added to the other important innovation activities we are carrying out within the framework of the European Commission's IPCEI calls for proposals to make the battery and electric vehicle supply chain increasingly sustainable, and once again confirms our commitment to combine innovation and sustainability.

Marco Troncone, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma said: "ADR has always been at the forefront of Sustainability and Innovation, and this project embraces both. This highly innovative project, one of the largest in the world, is fully integrated into our way of doing business, contributing to the continuous and steady recovery of the aviation sector in the direction of eco-sustainability. Furthermore, this is a solid demonstration of the necessary and proactive capacity to implement innovation that needs to be engaged to take full advantage of the opportunities for European and national support for the transition of a strategic sector for Italy”.

The combination of this storage system and the photovoltaic plant will allow the airport, managed by Aeroporti di Roma, to accelerate the achievement of the zero CO2 emissions target by 2030. With this project, electric mobility becomes doubly sustainable. In their first-life use, the batteries allow electric cars to reduce the environmental impact of transport and pollution in our cities to zero. In second-life use, they allow for the implementation of stationary storage systems, which offer balancing services to the electricity grid, enabling even greater penetration of renewables into the electricity system. In this way, a virtuous cycle is established that further accelerates the decarbonization of transport and the electricity system.

As well as increasing the penetration of renewable power generation, the project will benefit the entire electric mobility supply chain by helping to increase battery lifespan, with a view to the circular economy of the supply chain, which makes it possible to further reduce the CO2 footprint of batteries with the same storage capacity, thanks to their further use.

The use of second-life batteries is a crucial step in the battery production chain, prior to their actual end of life, where they are recycled to ensure those valuable materials are available again to produce new batteries, with a circular and sustainable production vision. Enel X has long been committed to improving the sustainability of the battery supply chain. In addition to this project, the Enel Group's business line dedicated to innovative energy services has been given the green light from the European Commission this year to develop three other initiatives under the framework of the second IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest). Specifically, Enel X projects span applications in the fields of electric mobility, large stationary storage systems, the recycling and sustainable end-of-life management of lithium batteries.

ADR, Italy's leading and Europe's best airport hub over the last three years, has chosen to focus on digitalization, security, innovation and environmental sustainability, and has for some years now been working towards zero CO2 emissions by 2030, ahead of the targets set by the European airport sector, confirming its determination on the sustainability front and in particular, in the fight against climate change.