Multicircle Economy. Multiplying the value of the circular economy
Nowadays, everyone is talking about the circular economy. At Iren, we have taken it to a new level, focusing our vision on the conscious use of resources and connecting energy production, energy efficiency, the waste cycle, water management and electric mobility. This is what a Multicircle Economy means: multiplying the value created in everything we do.
- Responsible management and adding greater value to waste represent one of the basic pillars in Iren’s strategy. The Group is seriously committed to developing the circular economy in its environmental management activities in order to close off the waste cycle across all waste cycle stages; this is done by using more effective collection systems that increase waste collection separation, but require adequate plant capacity, an area where Iren ranks among the leaders in Italy. The objective is to ensure that greater value is added based on the vertical integration of the value chain, which is effectively closed off, implementing Waste to material for any non-recoverable material.
- Iren has an on-site plant in Vercelli producing pallets from wood waste, which will be one of the first plants in Italy to produce pallets solely from wood waste generated in the region;
- Production has already begun on the selection and recycling of plastic with the acquisition of I.Blu, a company specialising in transforming waste plastics into polymers (plasmix), which are used in construction products and other uses.
- The sustainable use of water resources, where the Group has undertaken to further improve water-supply networks, with their progressive division into districts in the historic areas, in this way reducing the water drawn from the environment and containing water losses, thus guaranteeing high levels of service quality. Iren is also bolstering and upgrading its plants to improve treatment capacity and reduce biological sludges, by applying the most innovative technologies, again from the perspective of the Multicircle Economy. The plants in Roncocesi and Mancasale are two examples of this.
- At the waste water treatment plant in Mancasale in the province of Reggio Emilia, waste water that is treated and filtered using an innovative method, is then reused for irrigation in agriculture;
- At Roncocesi (Reggio Emilia), the gas produced from the treatment sludge is transformed into biomethane, a renewable fuel for cars.
- Green energy, a fundamental component of the decarbonisation processes, thanks to the hydroelectric production plants (with the one in Pont Ventoux-Susa worthy of mention, built mostly in a cavern) and cogenerative plants, which currently provide Iren with almost 76% of its production capacity from renewable or similar sources. Cogeneration and the plant at Moncalieri, which is one of the most important electricity and heat production hubs in Italy, is an example of this. It is naturally supplemented by district heating, with Iren the leading national operator, managing integrated systems (generators/storage/networks) in all the main centres in the reference regions.
- The Iren district heating system guarantees that tens of thousands of heating plants/boilers are switched off within cities, which also optimises the processes producing energy because it utilises the heat produced from the cogeneration plants as well as the waste-to-energy plants, giving full expression to the principles of the circular economy: it relies on efficient underground transport and distribution networks and a growing number of heat storage systems (hot water tanks), which “follow” the peaks in demand, optimising flows in the networks and minimising the heat generators that are switched on.
- Increased energy efficiency in buildings represents a key component for the Iren Group when planning future smart cities, which require building upgrades to both public buildings (e.g. schools and healthcare), and private buildings (condominiums), based on structural works (thermal insulation, relamping, installation of PV panels, revamping thermal installations, etc.), and innovative interventions like the New Downstream (smart home, domotics) to optimise energy consumption, providing benefits to households and the environment.
E-mobility, as a truly alternative solution to sustainable electric and shared mobility, where the IrenGo brand operates, both in the area of corporate mobility and new mobility solutions (electric sharing).