Milan, 3rd June 2021 – Further boosting the energy transition process through the use of increasingly cutting-edge digital technologies. With this goal in mind Italgas, the leading operator in Italy and the third in Europe in natural gas distribution, and SkipsoLabs, a company that provides advisory services and technology platforms for innovation, today launched a new Call for Innovation titled "Gas grid of the future".
The initiative, which is part of the "Ideas 4 Italgas" programme launched by the company at the end of 2020, is aimed at the best startups in the world and will focus research on three specific areas:
- Technical 4.0. New technological solutions for plant maintenance activities, in order to simplify operations and promote ever greater personnel safety;
- Gas Grid monitoring and transformation. Systems for monitoring, managing and balancing gas networks, which accelerate the digital transformation process and through it the introduction and distribution of different gases such as biomethane, hydrogen and synthetic methane;
- Smart city & mobility. Value-added services, based on distributed IoT, which enable the Italgas network (withdrawal stations, distribution network and meters) to contribute to the development of smart cities and increasingly sustainable mobility.
Italgas has been engaged for years in the digital transformation of its assets and processes, and at the same time in the dissemination of a digital culture in its organisation, also through the training and reskilling of its people. Having a “full digital” network is the technical precondition for immediately receiving and distributing renewable gases, promoting a faster transition towards the EU's 2050 net carbon zero targets. Technological innovation becomes the main enabler of the process of decarbonization and, thanks to the open innovation approach pursued by Italgas, becomes available everywhere in the world.
The strategic role of SkipsoLabs, which supports the creation of innovation ecosystems around the world, will allow Italgas to expand its search for startups globally, simplifying its management. The proprietary technological platform, activated for the project, will allow management and operations to be centralised and made more efficient, also through an easier sharing of information with all the players involved.
"Open innovation - comments Paolo Gallo, CEO of Italgas - is a natural solution for us, given the important digital transformation we are carrying out in the company. We started in 2018 by integrating the most advanced technology for network monitoring into our systems. Since then, we have started a path made of uninterrupted research of innovative technologies. Today, with Ideas 4 Italgas, these activities have become structured and more agile and with SkispoLabs we can count on an even wider pool of startups. These elements allow us to set the basis for a further technological improvement of our operations".
“We are honoured to support Italgas in this call for startups dedicated to a crucial sector such as energy distribution - adds Carlo Soresina, co-founder and CEO of SkipsoLabs - which also allows us to strengthen our commitment to supporting organisations that are driving the energy transition towards a sustainable future. Open innovation is a unique opportunity for scouting and selecting the best startups, and our international approach will connect Italgas to the global innovation ecosystem of incubators and accelerators to test new evolutionary scenarios".
The call is open to Italian and international startups and SMEs that develop products and services based on sustainable and original business models in line with Italgas' strategy, and that will be able to offer solutions capable of addressing the challenges posed by energy sustainability targets.
Interested startups will have to send their application on the innovation platform by 18 July 2021. Candidates will be assessed by a committee of experts, the best projects will be presented to Italgas in September and, following a further selection process, will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with the company to start the codesign phase and define an experiment applicable to the sector.