Granted the InnoWWide VAP Call 1, the IoT Microturbine project seeks to understand the industrialisation and commercialisation potential of their energy-harvesting, coin-sized microturbine in the Peruvian gas production sector. Founder and CEO, Emanuele Guglielmino PhD. explains their route to internationalisation and expansion to the Latin American market.
IoT Microturbine enables off-grid IoT applications and data-driven management of gas networks in Peru. Could you explain the project and its objectives in a few more words?
The microturbine has been designed to self-sufficiently and reliably monitor power and control apparatus helping to detect and reduce leaks in gas pipes. Ultimately, the technology assures gas pipeline infrastructure functionality. It is an innovative self-powered gas management system that simultaneously enables continuous remote monitoring and efficient pressure management of gas networks through data-driven decisions.
The architecture of the turbine is relatively like that of an aircraft engine. At the core of the technology sits this novel, patented, highly miniaturised microturbine (coin-sized, 14 mm diameter), designed to be introduced into the gas distribution pipelines, taking advantage of any existing pressure drop in the system to generate electricity in off-grid contexts (e.g. remote areas). It harvests the available energy for free, with no emissions or burning of fuel. The Microturbine together with a smart IoT technology for real-time monitoring and control in the project, allows a more energetically efficient management of pipelines with increased reliability, and reduces operational costs.
What other impact does the Microturbine have beyond operational cost-savings and reliability?
The IoT Microturbine addresses the “Secure, clean and efficient energy” societal challenge. The European Commission Energy Roadmap 2050, sets out that substituting coal and oil with gas, using new technologies, could help reduce emissions until 2035. Our solution contributes to lowered carbon emissions by reducing impaired performance, e.g. due to leaks.
Active pressure management enabled by the microturbine allows operating at low pressure. It offers energy savings and contributes to reduction of gas leakages, which contributes to lowering the impact of the greenhouse effect and global warming (methane has an impact 84 times higher than CO2 on global warming). Considering the 30 W microturbines, over a year microturbine installations produce 262.8 kWh for each installation point. Considering that only in Europe there are already about 200,000 potential installation points, based on the assumption that 25% will be equipped with our solution, this results in a production of 13,140,000 kWh that are equivalent to 5781 tons of CO2 saved. As such, our microturbine directly contributes to making the gas network more reliable, energetically efficient, more economically managed and more environmentally friendly.
The Peruvian gas production market knows many more competing countries in terms of yearly gas production quantities. How did your choice for expansion to Peru came about?
Based on existing contacts and awareness of the potential of the larger Latin American market we set out to analyse industrialisation and commercialisation of the microturbine in Peru.
How did the InnoWWide VAP grant and network supported you?
Encountering a different Latin American gas pipeline infrastructure compared to the European system, our main challenges focused on defining the requirements for technical installations and finding the right partners abroad with the right blend of technical and commercial skills.
The InnoWWide VAP grant enables Advanced MicroTurbines Srl to analyse in detail the Peruvian markets, including the regulatory and legal framework. Based on existing contacts with a local engineering company and technology consultancy partner which followed out of the earlier SME instrument grant and the latest collaboration with Themma S.A.C., new contacts could be established with local companies supporting in marketing and installations. As a result two major gas companies could be approached and pilot tests could be prepared.
The partnership with Themma S.A.C. helped to find the right local, potential distribution partners in Peru, with the appropriate blend of technical and commercial skills. It successfully bridged the Italian and Peruvian operating realities with the right contacts and has been instrumental in forming the foundation of the commercial expansion in Latin America – a region where Italian products are highly valued due to the quality stamp that comes with technology produced in the European Union.
Overcoming the foreign market entry barrier in Peru, has led to access other countries in Latin America such as neighbouring country Colombia.
Furthermore, the participation in the InnoWWide VAP grant call has opened doors for the IoT Microturbines project to other EU-funding opportunities.
What are your next steps?
We realised the commercial potential outside of Peru in neighbouring countries, such as Colombia. We now plan to realise a number of installations in Peru and subsequently expand to neighbouring countries. To stimulate large-scale implementation in Latin America we, the team of the Italy-based company Advanced Microturbines Srl, are seeking to obtain additional support from EU-funding..
A detailed explanation of the concept and its application can be viewed in the product demo video here.
Read more about the InnoWWide VAP Grant and Microturbines IoT in the case study here.