ATENE: Virtual labs boost industrial innovation in Tuscany, Italy

The ATENE project has improved the efficiency of machinery used in the oil and gas industry. The technological advances made through the project have helped reduce the environmental impact of production and testing processes. Companies in Tuscany and beyond are harnessing the results to boost innovation and competitiveness.

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The ATENE project aims to improve the efficiency of turbomachinery and alternative machinery used in the oil & gas and IPG industries.  © Atene The ATENE project aims to improve the efficiency of turbomachinery and alternative machinery used in the oil & gas and IPG industries. © Atene

" A great R&D project that created new technology and dissemination opportunities, boosting capability and visibility of consortium partners. With over 20 papers presented at important conferences and journals, the project is a testament to progressing state of the art technology in Europe. "

Marco Ruggiero PhD Senior Engineering Manager at BHGE

ATENE – Advanced Technology for Energy Efficiency – developed five ‘virtual labs’ which brought together five research organisations, one large industrial company and 10 SMEs. Their collaboration aimed to create lasting technological platforms that more closely connect the worlds of research and industry. The labs looked to improve the reliability, power usage and environmental impact of various kinds of machines.

Each lab focused on a specific area, namely:

  • aerothermodynamics and heat transfer – the goal was to optimise aerodynamic performance, heat transfer and flows in different types of machinery;
  • control and calculation tools. This lab examined and developed improved tools for individual machines and systems;
  • manufacturing and materials. Studies were undertaken into advanced techniques, processes and components, and the behaviour of materials in hostile environments;
  • advanced mechanical design. New designs were brought forward for a number of machine components;
  • Testing and validation. Innovative probes and sensors were developed for use in turbomachinery and production methods with low environmental impact were tested.

Positive impacts

The project consortium believes that the technology developed in ATENE’s labs will have a positive impact on the environment. The improved efficiencies will lead to the development of sustainable solutions for transport and more sustainable exploitation of energy resources.

Moreover, the project results constitute a unique opportunity for research and industrial development that could make Italy a centre of excellence for the construction of machinery in the oil & gas sector. More specifically, the breakthroughs provided by ATENE will improve the competitiveness of Tuscany’s R&D sector. It may be possible extend the project’s technological know-how to other industrial areas.

The project ended in 2015, but the research network it created has been consolidated and extended. SMEs are now using the results to make new products.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “ATENE” is EUR 8 940 279, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 4 223 377 through the “Tuscany” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Research and development, technology transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship”.

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