CNR – ITAE   Italy

The scientific network of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) consists of more than 100 Institutes, divided into 7 Departments. The Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies “Nicola Giordano” (ITAE), headquartered in Messina, operates within the Department of “Engineering, ICT and Energy and Transport Technologies”, being one out of a total of 21 research institutes grouped according to similar competences and strategic priorities of the reference macro-area. The department staff numbers about 1.400 people, with approximately 850 researchers/technologists engaged in R&D activities along with the support of technicians and administrative personnel.

ITAE develops and promotes energy-efficient, innovative technologies with low environmental impact through the use of fossil and renewable energy sources. The scientific expertise of ITAE is related to the development and optimisation of chemical and technological processes, for the production of electric and/or thermal energy along with new fuels with specific reference to hydrogen.

ITAE staff, whose scientific component comes from various disciplines such as engineering, industrial chemistry, physics and mathematics, includes, in addition to the Director, 52 researchers, 3 technologists, 16 technicians, 5 administrative staff, 1 professional collaborator, 11 associate professors, 9 research fellows, 1 PhD student.

The activities of ITAE are divided into the following research lines:

  1. Fuel Cells (Tasks: Development of Materials, Components and Stacks for PEFC, DAFC, SOFC – System Engineering, Field Testing and Demonstration for All Fuel Cell Technology);
  2. Hydrogen and environmentally friendly fuels (Tasks: systems for the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels – systems for the production of hydrogen from renewable energies – systems for the production of bio-fuels from waste and scrap – systems for the production of alternative fuels);
  3. Energy storage and rational use of energy (Tasks: hydrogen storage – electric storage – absorption heat pumps);
  4. Integration of new technologies with renewable energy (Tasks: Coupling renewable energy with reversible fuel cells – Solar thermal coupling with absorption systems);
  5. Support activities (Socio-Economic Impact – Technology Consulting and Transfer).

Furthermore, some years ago ITAE opened a Test Center for the promotion of “innovation and transfer of energy technologies”, with the aim to create a research infrastructure able to provide a support service to industries operating in development of innovative systems for the production of energy and environmentally-friendly fuels.


Contacts: Giuseppe Bonura ( – Francesco Frusteri (


ITAE has a specific know-how in the reference field, being also able to apply technology and knowledge at the industrial level for the achievement of high technological readiness levels (TRL). Within this proposal, ITAE intends to study a catalytic conversion process of CO2-rich gaseous streams into DME. Precisely in the field of production of environmentally-friendly fuels, the research group from CNR-ITAE has developed significant expertise in identifying heterogeneous catalytic systems and processes for obtaining alternative fuels either from fossil sources different from oil (coal and methane) or renewable sources (biomass).

The specific role of ITAE within the CO2Fokus project will be:

  • involved in WP1 activities related to the design of CNT catalytic membranes to be tested in WP2 ”CO2 utilisation reaction for DME production, novel proof of concept”
  • WP2 leader, being deeply involved in the testing of conventional single tube catalytic reactors as for DME production under CO2 hydrogenation conditions (T2.1 Development and testing of ‘conventional’ single tube catalytic reactors at TRL4-TRL6) as well as in the design of novel catalytic CNT membranes (T2.2 Development of single tube reactors (catalytic CNT membrane) and in the development and 3D printing of catalytic multi-channel reactors (T2.3 Development and direct 3D printing of multi-channel catalysts at TRL4). Specifically, the ITAE activities will be focused on:
  • Catalysts design and development of hybrid systems;
  • Chemical-physical characterisation of such materials by analytical characterisation, morphological and structural techniques: X-Ray Diffraction for crystallographic measurements; X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy for chemical composition investigations; Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) equipped with EDAX microprobe for morphologic-structural and analytical analyses; thermo-gravimetric analysis; FTIR Spectroscopy;
  • Catalytic testing under different PFR conditions and validation of a DME production process at TRL4.
  • involved in WP4 “Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), socio-economic assessment (LCC, S-LCA)” activities dealing with LCA and techno-economic assessment, providing support in the evaluation about multichannel reactors efficacy as determined in the CO2Fokus project versus cost effectiveness;
  • involved in WP5 “Dissemination, exploitation and communication” activities, in relation to the communication activities.