CNR-STIIMA collaborates in the development of new systems supporting the tracking and management of the environmental impacts of industrial activities through a dynamic and modular approach.

Control of the industrial drivers that influence the environmental impact, to consequently plan design actions minimizing these impacts along the entire life cycle of the products, is key enabler for companies to face the sustainability challenge.

The disruptive effect of the sustainability challenge for businesses

According to the Global Risk Report from the World Economic Forum environmental problems represents one of the main global risks, with an increasingly significant effect on current industrial activities.

The rapid growth of the environmental challenge is linked to high interconnection among climate change, loss of natural capital, loss of biodiversity and pollution and their consequent mutual reinforcing. The presence of these exponential dynamics implies that the operating methods of the industry will suffer increasing and

Industrial activities as a focus of international policies

Within the reports of international steering bodies such as IEA, EEA, IPCC, UNEP, OECD, industrial activities have been indicated as the main source of negative environmental effects on a global scale. According to the main strategic documents, the growth of environmental changes will have an increasingly significant effect on industrial activities. The new key environmental-related drivers under which to operate will be linked to a shift in demand towards more sustainable goods and services, to the limitation of production assets, such as the reduction of the availability of raw materials and the constancy of operating conditions, and to increasing regulation and standardization.

The importance of tracking the effects of industrial activities

It therefore becomes strategic to control and mitigate the effects of future industrial activities according to operational conditions that are manageable for companies. While on the one hand there are growing limitations on the possibility of producing negative impacts (for example the recent edition of the Emission Trading System or the EU Waste Management Law), the new paradigms of circularity and carbon neutrality require a rethinking of the industrial production.

Within this trend, tools for a systemic approach become particularly relevant in order to have an anticipatory knowledge of the effects of activities within organizations and in order to design more informed and, ultimately, more effective actions. These tools are aimed at both the monitoring of plant activities and the design of new products, and, more generally, the tracking of the entire production chain in an environmental efficiency perspective.

CNR-STIIMA activities on integrated tools for industrial management of environmental effects

In recent years, STIIMA CNR has focused on the development of alternative tools for the current calculation of impacts in an increasingly anticipatory and planning perspective. It took place within the Lighthouse project, funded by the Lombardy region and the MISE, for the development and integration of dynamic impact monitoring systems in the steel industry. In addition, it also took place with the Horizon Europe E2COMATION project, which aims to create a virtual monitoring environment of the environmental effects of the plant layout in different types of manufacturing companies. Both projects involved the active participation of companies in the design and implementation phase of this type of tools.

Towards new integrated tools for the ecological transition

The use of this new type of tools allows the dynamic monitoring of consumption and production patterns in order to track specific drivers and to mitigate the consequent effects. These are systems developed according to an Industry 4.0 perspective, starting from data available at field level such as energy consumption monitoring systems, but also remote inventory systems. These systems create a monitoring and reporting interface both internally and externally, supporting different methods of environmental-related certification (ISO 50001, ISO 14001, ISO 17033 etc.).

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Projects: E2COMATION, LIGHTHOUSE
Contacts: Carlo Brondi, Andrea Ballarino, Davide Rovelli, Michele Andreotti