The research project (Cod. PON04a2_H), started on November 4th 2012, is aligned with the action plan of the European Union in the field of urban mobility and renewable energies.
The project relates to the following two areas in the field of research and innovation on the “Smart Cities and Communities and Social Innovation” theme (PROT 84 / RIC on March 2, 2012):
- Smart Mobility and last-mile logistics: promotion of urban and interurban mobility with low environmental impact and of sustainable logistics;
- Renewable energy and smart grid: development of technological solutions to support innovation in the energy sector through the integration of renewable energy sources.
i-NEXT project supports innovation in transport and logistics sectors through the development of technology and functional systems to promote and develop sustainable urban and interurban mobility, as well as an increase of efficiency in the management of the channels of distribution of goods.
The project promotes easier, more sustainable and better organized transport by an integrated electric mobility/RES (Renewable Energy Sources) system, which acts on the logistics, on improvement of distribution channels and on the management of available energy resources.
The identified experimental fields are oriented towards the integration of alternative mobility systems through the use of an ICT platform (HW and SW Overlay Network) geared towards services, infrastructures and electricity-powered vehicles.
Through the optimization of interchanges of nodes, city access points, the realization of technological aids and informatization of logistic platforms, these systems will be made available in a simple and organized way with the aim of improving the quality of life and support the Public Administrations in their tasks.
As regard technology related to vehicles, the research will be oriented towards the application of innovative storage systems (Na-NiCl2/Li-Ion), Fuel Cell (FC) and hybrid powertrain architectures (Range Extender) that can guarantee ever increasing levels of autonomy.
i-NEXT project supports innovation in the energy sector through the development of technological and managerial solutions able to promote and strengthen the recovery, production and integrated management of different renewable energy sources and their distribution systems.
The project addresses issues related to the analysis and optimization of the interaction between the energy demands of buildings, also in aggregate form, with the non-programmable production of renewable energy and energy accumulation.
In this context, these activities are aimed at:
- Definition of a new management model of all energy resources available at the city and urban district levels, in order to permit the increasing of renewable source production, increasing security of electricity supply services, a more adaptable demand resulting in a reduction of energy prices on the market as well as energy consumption reduction (Demand Response);
- Generation of a new Smart Grid model geared towards planning of urban functions in terms of space and time, and the change of the energy consumption model towards more energy-efficient models;
- Creation of a communication and service infrastructure (Hardware and Software) that permits the interconnection of local level with overlay networks. This approach proposes the creation of proximity relationships that can be defined not only on the basis of physical and functional proximity, but also on the basis of production and consumption profiles;
- Integration and management through advanced ICT systems of innovative technology, such as intelligent systems of public street lighting, innovative systems for energy storage, terminals for electric vehicles.
Lastly, this research project aims to contribute to the “development of the information society”, proposing new solutions for communication infrastructures, monitoring platforms and intelligence distributed in the network through the creation of test/demonstration terminals aimed at identifying, developing, testing and suggesting new products and technology for a business based on distributed and sustainable technology.
The testing phase, following the research activities, will be carried out in the municipalities of Capo d’Orlando, Palermo and in the Valle dei Templi Park, where it will be possible to test and demonstrate the results obtained in the field of mobility, logistics, intelligent buildings, smart grid, energy efficiency and the production of electric energy from RES.
The partners of i-NEXT project are: the Department of Energy, Information Engineering and Mathematical Models (DEIM) and the Department of Architecture (DARCH) of the University of Palermo, the National Research Council CNR ITAE and companies such as Italtel SpA, Exalto Srl, TRE SpA, MUOVOSVILUPPO Scrl, AVENS Srl and AVENS PLUS.
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