Energy Center Lab

How can our communities be provided with increasingly safe and renewable energy? What are the key energy technologies and infrastructures to be developed or strengthened? And what are the characteristics of the city of the future to be more and more sustainable?

A new multidisciplinary laboratory will develop models and scenarios for the new energy transition, with the aim of designing increasingly interconnected energy systems, and to predict its behaviour and impact on different geographic and temporal scale.  The economic and environmental impact of the energy technologies and infrastructures used, and the user's role in the management of energy flows will be an integral part of the activities carried out.

Politecnico di Torino has launched since 2016 the Energy Center Initiative (ECI) to launch a series of actions and projects that will provide support and strategic advice to local authorities, national and transnational bodies, on energy policies and technologies to be adopted.  The two pillars of the ECI are the Energy Center House (EC_house) and the homonymous interdepartmental laboratory Energy Center Lab (EC_lab). The EC_house is a new building within the campus of Politecnico di Torino that will host companies, start-ups and public administrations active in the energy field. The EC_lab is the scientific engine of the Initiative: an Interdepartmental Center which brings together a multidisciplinary group of researchers and professors of the Politecnico dedicated to the study of technologies and integrated systems for the transition to a more sustainable society towards the use of energy and towards environment.

The Energy Center Lab (EC_lab) is the Polytechnic's initiative that coordinates and promotes the scientific activities of the Center. The multidisciplinary research team includes competences deriving from different departments of the University and is active on various research topics related to energy. EC_lab provides integrated hardware-software tools to simulate future scenarios for energy supply and its end-use, taking account of environmental constraints and socio-economic aspects. The increasing amount of (energy) data available in real time is an integral part of the multi-layer approach carried out by the Center. The ultimate goal is not just to simulate the competition of different technologies - both at a local level (for example an urban district) and at a global level (for example a nation) - but also to verify the impact that energy policies and environmental issues have on their dissemination, and also the impact of social interactions (user behaviour).

The first case study will be the city of Turin. A densely populated urban area is an ideal case to verify the synergy between digitalization and energy in order to design and then realize the city of the future. Buildings and mobility are in fact among the most energetic sectors of an urban settlement. The search for the optimal mix of energy sources to be used in this context, and the integrated management of local energy networks (gas, electricity and heat) maximizing the local production of energy from renewable sources, is a first example of the research goals.