Energy for Motion, a project on the development of energy-related technologies for the transportation sector
The Department of Energy was born in 2008, when Politecnico di Milano decided to merge the competences of the research groups working in the broad field of Energy. Ten years later, the Department has been awarded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) as “Department of Excellence” with a grant of over 9 million Euros for the next 5 years.
The grant will allow to pursue an ambitious development plan, named “Energy for Motion”, which aims at making the Department of Energy a reference international center for the assessment and the development of the energy-related technologies for the transportation sector.
The five-years funding program will allow to invest in human resources, infrastructures and teaching.
The Department of Energy currently has a staff of more than 350 people among professors and researchers (above 100 people), PhD students and post-doc fellows (about 200 people) and technical-administrative staff (about 50 people). Thanks to almost 6 M€ from MIUR (in addition to the already-planned budget) the Department of Energy intends to create 10 new positions for professors, researchers and technicians. The main action will be the creation of a new research group with competence on the development of new-generation batteries, to be formed by recruiting professors and researchers of outstanding international profile. Having strong competences in this field is today of the utmost importance for the energy technologies of the future, involving not only transportation but also stationary applications (e.g. the management of electric grids and micro-grids with high share of intermittent renewable energy sources).
The Department of Energy has an exceptional experimental capability, with a laboratory surface of more than 10000 m2, as a result of important investments of Politecnico di Milano in the Bovisa Campus where the Department is located. The development of the area and of the research facilities of the Department of Energy is still in progress; a new representative near-zero energy building has been designed and will be built in the Bovisa Campus in the next years. Energy for Motion will further contribute by investing more than 1.8 M€ in novel infrastructures. In particular, the project will: support the development of experimental and modelling laboratories of the research groups of the department; create new offices and labs for the new researches and professors to be recruited; open new spaces for the scientific dissemination and communication.
The Energy for Motion project identifies two targets for improving the teaching offer: the Master of Science and the PhD.
On one hand, the new professors and researchers will allow to widen the teaching offer of the Department of Energy, with new courses on the energy technologies for transportation. This will provide new knowledge for the engineering MSc students of Politecnico di Milano.
On the other hand, the Department of Energy aims at recruiting an increased number of talented PhD students, boosting in this way its scientific production. We believe that empowering the PhD will have a major social impact: PhD engineers can in fact bring new knowledge, methods and boost innovation in the industry. This is witnessed by the increasing number of companies interested in hiring highly qualified PhD students from Politecnico di Milano. Energy for Motion will invest almost 1.8 M€ to promote PhD studies, through different actions: by increasing the number of positions (at least 25 per year); by increasing the salary of PhD students (because the choice of investing in PhD education should not be seen as an economic penalty compared to earlier jobs in companies); by offering an education program “of excellence and favouring the exchanges with companies and other research centers.
Finally, through the Energy for Motion project, the Department of Energy aims at promoting the interactions with authorities, national and international institutions and policy makers and share its competences for the proposal of new energy policies.
The scientific activity of the Energy for Motion project will consist of four pillars:
- Energy for new generation vehicles;
- Hybrid vehicles with internal combustion engines;
- Fuel cell vehicles;
- Battery electric vehicles.
The figure shows the number and variety of public (ERC, EU and Miur) and industrial projects currently ongoing in this field in the Department of Energy, highlighting the critical mass which allows the Department to be and grow as an international reference research center: a solid background for new ambitious challenges.
In Phase 1 of the Energy for Motion project, several research groups received funding in the form of contributions to experimental and calculation labs and contributions for doctoral positions.