MARKET | Feb 28, 2020

IT, IoT and AI at the service of environmental sustainability

An integrated system of technology and software helps to monitor and optimize district heating systems integrated with renewable energy sources

“We work to ensure that digital technology should not only allow to optimize the management of energy plants, by also integrating renewable energy solutions which are therefore more respectful of the environment, but also in order that it may show the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of good plant management and targeted investments. Too often today, in fact, we rely on energy management or district heating systems without knowing whether, beyond environmental sustainability, there is also economic viability”.

Marco Bombardieri, new member of the Board of Directors of FDL Servizi encapsulates in this sentence the almost thirty years of activity of the IT company from Breno, in the province of Brescia, which has gained a leadership in the analysis and management of data originated by energy plants and which was recently acquired by Engineering precisely because of its strategic position in this market niche.

What is the innovative feature of FDL?

“The mission we have pursued since the nineties is to make innovation not of product but of information, that is, to create software able to analyze data coming from thermal power plants, cogeneration plants, cooling systems and district heating networks, even where renewable sources are used in an integrated manner, and to compare these with other parameters in order to return complete information in relation to the convenience of a certain choice or to give indications on how to optimize this. Today –  continues Bombardieri – with IoT and Artificial Intelligence all this is much more within reach than it was a few years ago and it would be very useful also, for example, for Public Administrations which can choose a solution by also evaluating the “environmental” effectiveness of a plant”.

Why is FDL one of the excellences “to aggregate”?

District heating, –  says Vincenzo Tartuferi, Director General Telco & Utilities at Engineering which until some time ago was a niche market, has grown a great deal thanks also to incentives and a greater attention to environmental sustainability, and we are interested in it precisely because it is of public utility, as is the energy one. FDL is part of our development strategy in favor of environmental sustainability, not only because of its experience in the market, but because it has IT solutions which are applicable to all types of plants, of different sizes. In a world that is finally becoming increasingly sensitive towards the subject, energy plants are becoming even more strategic and our Group intends to continue to make an active contribution to their evolution”.

How has an IT company evolved over the years?

“Over these years – says Marco Bombardieri – under the guidance of the founder Fausto Romelli, a great deal has been invested in developing a solution able to satisfy the various needs of all the main operators which have focused on the management of energy and district heating plants over time, such as A2A, Carbotermo, Gruppo Egea, Iren Energia e Rinnovabili, Città Metropolitana di Torino and other provinces in Lombardy. Thanks to the software we have written, it is possible not only to monitor and analyze the state of the plants, but also to manage the billing of the services offered, complying with the maintenance requirements laid down by the control bodies, monitoring energy consumption in relation to the service offered and the climatic conditions detected, identifying critical issues and actions for improvement and energy saving, fully complying – as far as district heating networks are concerned – with the directives issued by the Autorità di Regolazione per Energia Reti Ambiente (ARERA – Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy Networks and Environment)”.

What prospects for the future?

“I am convinced that the combination of a growing market linked to renewables and rapidly evolving digital technologies such as IoT, BlockChain and Artificial Intelligence – adds Vincenzo Tartuferi – will encourage the spread of energy solutions which are increasingly respectful of the environment in which we live and which are able to ensure the economic sustainability that we must necessarily think about”.

Sonia Montegiove