Italy

italy

Italy is the fourth largest economy in Europe. The country’s GDP is made up by the sectors agriculture (1.8%), industry  (25%), and services – trade, finance, transportation, tourism (73.1%).

In eco-innovation scoreboard index Italy presents quite a strong performance with respect to the other European countries, and it is the 9th ranked country in EU28. In particular, Italy excels with respect to the European average under the dimensions “Eco- innovation activities”, “Eco-innovation outputs”, “Resource efficiency outcomes” and “Socio- Economic outcomes”. However, the dimension “Eco-Innovation inputs” it is 25% lower than the EU average

Italy’s eco-innovation and circular economy development are characterised by the increase in recycling activities (e.g. in textile, mineral oil, packaging, construction waste, etc), strong R&D performance in water pollution abatement, waste management, and renewable energy areas, as well as by the initiatives in industrial symbiosis.

The still-low private and public R&D expenditures can be explained by the Italian industrial structure, which is mainly composed of small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and family businesses, which have only limited access to credit and often are not of a large enough scale to undertake R&D projects. Nevertheless, the country shows great potential for specialising in renewable energy technologies, which have been well supported by policies and regulations .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Italy

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Microfinishing

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Italy-CeramicsThe project microfinishing "sustainable process of surface treatment of the porcelain gres" (LIFE02 ENV/IT/000052) was developed by the company Ceramica Fondovalle of Modena with the aim to demonstrate the feasibility of a new dry process for grinding / polishing the gres porcelain.

The main problem that the project has addressed is to eliminate the phase of sanding and polishing of ceramic tiles, responsible for producing a large volume of sludge. The project has developed an innovative technique, that through the use of a homogeneous mixture of substances (such as abrasive particles) of the product being processed (corundum, zirconium sand, clay), projected at high pressure on the surface to be treated by operating pressure, it allows recovery of abrasive material used and reused as raw material in the production of tiles. With the development of this project, Ceramica Fondovalle is capable of treating dry surfaces of its entire production of around 2.5 million sqm / year. The new process, unlike traditional ones, either can handle any type of surface, whether flat or planar structured.

Determinants:

• Barriers are that the final manufacturing step of porcelain gres has a strong environmental impact, since it consumes large amounts of energy and water. It also produces significant amounts of polishing sludge (classified as toxic waste or special). In Italy in 2003 more than 360 million square meters of vitrified tiles, where produced with water consumption (for the single phase surface finish) of approximately 1 million litres of water per day.

• Drivers include savings of resources and raw materials;

• reduction of production costs;

• strong replicability of the project results in other related fields.

Sustainability effects:

The environmental benefits associated with the introduction of the technology developed in the production of porcelain tiles are as follows:

Saving of resources and raw materials:

- 20,000 litres in less than in the water / day (i.e. 4.7 million l / year);

- 18,000 kg in less than polishing sludge / day (i.e. 4,300 tonnes / year);

- Energy consumption of no more than 1 kWh / sqm, with a reduction of approximately 50% than before;

- 20,000 exhausted abrasive wheels / year less;

- 10% less glazes used.

Ceramics Fondovalle has not developed directly the pilot industrialization process that will be done through an important industrial and technical collaboration with Ceramiche Gardenia Orchidea SpA who used the CIP Eco-innovation co-financing.

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