conEnergia @ Mantova

conEnergia is a Festival on the future perspectives of energy taking place in these days in Mantova. I contributed to the organization of several activities taking place at this Festival, including movies screenings, laboratories with high-school students, and a scientific conference that will take place next Friday in the beautiful Teatro Bibiena, see the program below. I will try to live-blog from the conference.



Mantova, Teatro Bibiena, Friday April 20th, 2018, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Francesco Dugoni (direttore AGIRE). The project “conEnergia”

Matteo Polettini (University of Luxembourg). Introduction – Energies in transformation

At a first sight, the energetic discourse regards the harvesting of some specific resources, which are usually categorized as either fossil or “renewable”. However, every form of energy is degraded, and its regeneration depends on external factors: closing a thermodynamic cycle requires to open up another one, each with its own “externality” (which are never actually external, given that they remain on planet Earth). Thus, at a second sight, all energies are in mutual relation, often through several intermediate passages: photo-electric conversion is in relation to mechano-chemical extraction of the rare metals needed for the construction of solar panels; metabolic energy is in relation with the fossil energy sustaining the agricultural industry; the finiteness of resources of planet Earth is in relation with climate change. Finally, the great “cycle” of energetic policies conditions, and is conditioned, by local and global practices of energy management.

Matteo Polettini is research in Theoretical Physics at the University of Luxembourg, where he works on statistical mechanics and on the thermodynamics of irreversible processes.


Nicola Armaroli (ISOF CNR). The energy transition

We all use energy in each and every moment of the day, with an abundance never experienced in the history of humankind; this entails a considerable impact on theenvironment, climate, economy and international relations. My discussion will briefly illustrate the global energy picture, highlighting how the formidable expansion of renewable technologies indicates that the phasing out of traditional energy resources has started. However, the energy transition will be e a long and difficult process, requiring remarkable technological, economic and social progress, among which (a) a rational use ofthe limited mineral resources of “spaceship Earth”, which are necessary to fabricate theconverters and accumulators of renewable fluxes, (b) technologies that produce much more energy than that necessary to make them available, (c) a reduction of the primary consumption in the richest countries, (d) a transition from a linear to a circular economy, (e) a strong reduction of inequalities in the access to energy across the world.

Nicola Armaroli is a CNR director or research. He studies new materials for the conversion of solar energy, luminescence and catalysis.


Gianluca Ruggieri (University of Insubria). Consuming less to produce better – The energy transition and us

The renewable revolution proceeds faster than most favorable previsions. To complete it though will require an equally important effort to reduce the primary consumptions in all developed economies. Less energy we consume, the easier it is to produce it. The process has started but it needs a major boost. Which are the objectives that posed by the biggest European countries? What will these objectives imply in the fields of motility and building? What is the energetic intensity and how is it evolving in time? How can we be sure that the technologies that we use can effectively bring to a reduction of absolute consumes (and not just to a mimetization?) In all of this, which role can have every single citizen with his personal action or with collective activities “from below”?

Gianluca Ruggeri, environmental engineer, is researcher in Environmental Technical Physics at the University of Insubria.


Matteo Zuin (University of Padova – CNR). Sustainable thermonuclear fusion research for ultimate carbon-free energy

Thermonuclear fusion, the reaction that powers the Sun and the stars, is a potential source of safe, non-carbon emitting and virtually limitless energy. Scientists from all over the world have moved a step closer to achieving sustainable nuclear fusion. Harnessing fusion’s power is the goal of the ITER experiment, which is under construction in the southern France as the result of an international collaboration, including the European Union, the USA, China, Japan, India, Korea and Russia. ITER been designed as the key experimental step between today’s fusion research machines and tomorrow’s fusion power plants. The talk will introduce the basic concepts about the way plasmas, gases which can be ten times hotter than the sun, are produced and controlled in the laboratory and will describe the recent achievements in fusion research. The relevant role of Italy will be discussed.

Matteo Zuin has a master degree in Physics and a Ph.D. in Energetics at the University of Padova. He is researcher at CNR, working on the physics of Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion with Magnetic Confinement at the RFX experiment in Padova.


Alicia Valero Delgado (Fundatiòn CIRCE, University of Saragoza). Materials for the future in the energy transition

Decarbonizing world economies and thereby avoiding a 2ºC global average temperature increase implies the urgent adoption of the so called “green technologies”. Their deployment will mean a renovation of the energy sector toward using renewable sources and zero emission transport technologies. This renovation will require a huge amount of raw materials some of them considered to have high supply risks. This talk will cover the problems associated with resources supply risk for different low carbon energy technologies, including the new developments of solar photovoltaics, wind energy, CSP, biomass and biodiesel and the electric vehicle.

Dr. Alicia Valero Delgado is senior researcher at the Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE – Institute) and lecturer at the University of Zaragoza. Her more than ten years research activity has been focused on the identification of resource efficiency measures and the application of thermodynamics in the evaluation of resource depletion, subject from which she has received four international awards. Author of over 50 research papers and co-author of her renown book: Thanatia: the destiny of the Earth’s mineral resources.


Marco Grasso (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca). Climate policy and consumption-based carbon accounting

The history of climate policy is long and awkward. A possible way to increase the success of climate policy is to use consumption-based carbon accounting. This accounting basis is, in fact, more effective, fair, and undemanding than the traditional production based one.

Marco Grasso is associate professor of geographical economy at the University of Milan-Bicocca. He works on the politics of climate change, with particular attention to the aspects of mitigation and adaptation, to the role of the oil industry and on the gonvernance of geo-engeneering.


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