The evolution towards a sustainable transport system in environmental, social and economic terms is one of the pillars of the energy transition, and through the implementation of the Green Deal Europe is a pioneer of this process. Energy carrier, propulsion technology and energy conversion process are the key points for the transition of the transport system. Research is therefore focused on the development of technological solutions able to eliminate not only emissions of climate-altering species but also of toxic ones.
Through the development of innovative methodologies and technologies, the activities of the area are therefore focused on improving the various types of engines used in the various transport sectors (land, sea, air) and on a gradual introduction of “carbon-neutral” energy vectors (electricity, hydrogen, biomethane, e-fuels, etc.) with attention to answer the intermediate and final objectives (2050) dictated by European and international regulations on polluting and climate-altering emissions. In particular, this area includes activities aimed at the evolution of electric powertrains that are increasingly performing in terms of operating autonomy (energy storage), cost and weight, and the design of thermal engines (alternative engines and turbines) with very high emission efficiency “Zero-equivalent”, the improvement of the performance of Fuel-cell systems, the development of innovative sensors, the optimization of power transmissions, the characterization and analysis of the environmental impact of transport vehicles during their life cycle.
As a result of the expansion of commercial activities in space, a sector in which Italy is engaged as a leading player, technologies related to propulsion and space energy are becoming increasingly important. With respect to this field, the activities are directed to the development of economical and efficient launchers, powered by less polluting alternative fuels, the development of propulsion technologies for hypersonic flight and the development of energy systems for space installations.