This MOST be the place
Avio Aero is among the leading Italian companies contributing to and supporting the National Center for Sustainable Mobility with activities and projects interconnected with the future of flight.
In a world increasingly in need of truly sustainable solutions, the setting up of the National Center for Sustainable Mobility (MOST) in Italy in July 2022 is one of the vehicles needed to address the challenges posed by the need for decarbonisation of air, sea and land transport.
The initiative, put forward by the Politecnico di Milano and funded by the Ministry of University and Research through PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) funds, involves 25 national universities and research centers and 24 companies, working together with the aim of developing the technologies and solutions needed to accompany the transition to sustainability and digitalization of the entire industry.
MOST is organized with a Hub & Spoke governance structure, where the Hub has the coordinating role while the fourteen Spokes, subdivided by technology theme or transportation type, carry out the research activities.
"MOST is a response to an issue, that of mobility, which is of primary importance for the country's development, not only from a technological perspective, but also and above all from an economic and social one. Bringing research closer to business is essential in order to meet the innovation needs of a sector that is central to European policies," - comments President, Prof. Ferruccio Resta. "MOST was created with the aim of accompanying the green and digital transition from a sustainable perspective, ensuring industrial evolution and supporting institutions toward modern, sustainable and inclusive solutions."
The founding and participating companies in the National Center for Sustainable Mobility include some of Italy's leading companies in the transportation sector - such as Ferrari, Leonardo, Fincantieri, Iveco Group, Stellantis, Ferrovie dello Stato, Autostrade per l'Italia, Hitachi Rail - as well as companies involved in services - Intesa SanPaolo, Poste, Accenture, Almaviva. Avio Aero also participates in MOST and, specifically, in four Spoke projects.
"For Avio Aero, participation in MOST is important in order to direct the Italian R&D ecosystem toward themes and goals which are consistent with the sustainability and competitiveness goals of the global aviation market, including innovative propulsion systems, hydrogen and electric fuels, and new materials. Thanks to MOST, it will be possible to both foster the upgrading in Italy of key knowledge for the green transition and facilitate the adoption of research results to protect the future competitiveness of the industry," explains Marco Silvano, Government Affairs & Funding Leader at Avio Aero.
Avio Aero will, in fact, be involved in projects led by the Politecnico di Torino for air mobility, by the University of Bologna with the University of Pisa for the use of innovative materials and thermal energy management in aeronautics, by the CNR (National Research Center) with the University of Florence for innovative propulsion and, lastly, by the Politecnico di Bari with the University of Salento for the use of hydrogen as aeronautical fuel.
These are key issues that tie in harmoniously with the innovative programs and projects the company has launched or is coordinating on a European scale. Activities in the Spokes dedicated to air mobility and innovative materials will have important spillovers on the development of more efficient systems with regard to the management of heat produced on board by thrusters and electric motors. At the same time, those dedicated to innovative propulsion and the use of alternative fuels will enable increased expertise for the introduction of hybrid-electric motors or motors powered by liquid hydrogen.
"MOST was established with the intention of creating and renewing current research infrastructure and laboratories, fostering the emergence and growth of innovative and high-tech startups, and enhancing the value of research results"
"MOST was established with the intention of creating and renewing current research infrastructure and laboratories, fostering the emergence and growth of innovative and high-tech startups, and enhancing the value of research results," explains Stefania Migaldi, head of Avio Aero's led E-TDCs research network. "We, as participating members, will support the activities of MOST but, more importantly, we will invest in the activities of the Spokes we are affiliated with."
For Avio Aero, MOST is also an important opportunity to deploy the ability of its engineers to work together with universities and research centers. In fact, the company has for years had its own important and thick network of collaboration which includes the leading Italian institutions in the field of research, namely the E-TDCs (European Technology Development Clusters).
"This is crucial, because the dynamics and attitudes of the big industry are very different from those of universities, research centers and SMEs. Having already developed an extensive network of collaborations with these realities allows us to better understand their needs, be able to identify the opportunities they offer and succeed in creating the dialogue that is essential to the birth of a winning partnership," Stefania Migaldi concludes.
This is an ambitious project that will have significant social, economic and industrial impacts but, above all, it will enable Italy to tackle the transition to decarbonisation of air, land and naval transport with the right skills and capabilities.
Cover illustration by Federica Sella Nora, page image credits by Unsplash