IG Focus logo

December 2023

01. Nimbus, the new H2 ready smart meter of Italgas
Data di pubblicazione:

The path of network  and infrastructure digitization that began in 2017 takes another significant step forward with the development of the first digital smart-meter “made in Italgas.”

Nimbus, with its unique features, is one of the enablers of the distribution in the low-pressure network and to the end user of green gases and hydrogen blends.

Nimbus was first unveiled at Enlit Europe 2023 in Paris last November 29.

On the occasion of the 2023 edition of Enlit Europe, the largest trade fair dedicated to the issues of the global energy agenda, Italgas Reti CEO Pier Lorenzo Dell’Orco presented the new “H2 ready” digital smart-meter Nimbus fully developed by Italgas Group’s subsidiaries, Italgas Reti and Bludigit.

The new smart meter, the most cutting-edge in the world in terms of its ability to process and measure mixtures of methane and hydrogen, confirms the Group’s ability to look ahead and anticipate change in a sector traditionally characterized by a lack of dynamism. Nimbus is part of the overall plan to digitize gas distribution networks launched by Italgas in 2017 and aimed at increasing networks safety and resilience, but also at making them drivers of the energy transition process by encouraging the safe distribution of green gases and hydrogen blends.

In December, Italgas started the installation of the first 10,000 meters, which it will double by the end of January 2024. In line with Strategic Plan targets, the number of new meters is expected to grow gradually from 2025 to exceed 5 million in 2029, covering about 50 percent of the investments in digitalization in the Strategic Plan 2023-2029. The new meters will be installed not only in Italy, but also in Greece where Italgas is a leader in gas distribution with Depa Infrastucture.

The features of Nimbus

The new meter was entirely designed and developed by Italgas Reti and Bludigit, building on the Group’s experience, starting in 2014, with the plan to massively replace traditional meters with smart meters. The new meter has undergone more than 300 laboratory tests to align with all international certification standards.

Nimbus is capable not only of measuring natural gas consumption, but anticipating energy transition scenarios in which distribution networks will also carry green gases and hydrogen, it can handle methane and hydrogen blends of up to 23 percent, placing it at the top end of the market. Further improvements are under consideration.

A high-resolution display makes it easy to read. Nimbus operates in two languages, Italian and English, and is set up for a third language to be configured as needed. Thanks to this feature, the new meter can be used in Greece or given to third parties who wish to install it on their networks.

From a security point of view, Nimbus is equipped with specific anti-tampering solutions, thanks to an integrated pressure sensor. In addition, the new meter is also equipped with a seismic sensor and an outdoor temperature detection sensor, which enable it to automatically cut off the gas supply in case of earthquake events or sudden temperature rise, linke in the case of fire. The data collected can be shared with local safety agencies, which is beneficial on a systemic level.

Also significant are innovations in terms of communication and battery life, with an estimated autonomy of at least 15 years. The meter leverages three communication channels: NB-IoT and LoRaWAN as primary networks and the mesh backup channel, which ensure data transmission even in the absence of signal. In fact, Nimbus meters can operate as a network due to the ability to exploit the nearest meter as a bridge, allowing the signal to pass through. This allows the correct accounting of consumption to the end customer, with obvious benefits on the quality of billing service.

In addition, Nimbus can measure the actual remaining battery charge, unlike pre-existing meters that instead had only an estimation algorithm. This capability makes it possible to monitor the actual state of the battery in real time, facilitating the planning of necessary interventions.

Last but not least, 85% of the Smart Meter is made recycled materials, including a sustainable recycled polycarbonate casing; and it is smaller, easier to transport and install, contributing significantly to a circular economy system.

Nimbus Smarter than ever

Enlit Parigi: Italgas presenta Nimbus, lo smart meter ‘H2 ready’ più all’avanguardia al mondo

Italgas unveils Nimbus, the World’s smartest ‘H2 Ready’ Smart Meter at Enlit in Paris