Matteo Moratori, 36-year-old Milan engineer at the US Department of Energy
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Zero Emission Mobility
In the US by 2050: What to Study Matthew Muratori, inside the US Department of Energy, US Department of Energy. The 36-year-old, with a master’s and master’s degree in energy engineering at Politecnico di Milano, has 100 scientific publications to his credit and has won this year
Italian Embassy Award
for issues related to the sustainability of ISNAF, the institution of thousands of Italian scientists and academics active in laboratories, universities and research centers in North America. After a thesis at Ohio State University, where he also went on to graduate school for his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, Moratori moved first to Washington, D.C. and then to Colorado to work in Federal Research Center Which deals with energy efficiency and renewable energies: After my PhD, I was contacted by the Department of Energy who hired me to study transition, and how to transition from an energy system that is still largely based on fossil fuels, to sustainable system – Says -. There are 17 national laboratories in the US Department of Energy, the first of which was established during World War II to study new technologies, such as radar and nuclear weapons. Over the years it has grown and diversified. The one I work for focuses on energy efficiency and Renewable energy.
The US government has committed more than $1 trillion to the Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act, a provision that plans to build infrastructure that supports a fully carbon-neutral economy by 2050: Where are you?
A very ambitious project: decarbonize the entire economy in less than three decades, and these investments are only the first step. I deal primarily with the transportation sector, which today is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The key element is that many transports have a useful life that spans over several decades. Do you think locomotives over 40 years old are still running? How can we move all transmission systems by 2050 to net zero in less than 30 years?
Perhaps one hundred percent, but getting 80/90% of transport without impact is possible, especially in a country with giant investments like this. Indeed, Europe is a step forward: in Norway, 90% of electric cars were sold last year, and in the US only 4.5%, but there is a lack of significant investments like those in the US. After $1 trillion, the government is now discussing hundreds of billions of stimulus to advance the transition. This is how it works here, just as it was done to send man to the moon: seemingly impossible goals are achieved with effort and cooperation. The Biden-Harris administration has important ambitions that will constitute fundamental change. Investing in transportation electrification means paving the way for the immediate use of low-emissions electric vehicles. Not only that: here the public sector works closely with companies and research is carried out in real time. There is an urgency, it is time to stop climate change now, not twenty years from now.
What project are you currently working on?
I’ve been in Washington for a year and a half, on loan from the Colorado office, at the helm of a project trying to understand how to decarbonize the entire transportation system. We study system changes, mobility, and various technological possibilities, including batteries, electric vehicles, hydrogen and biofuels. We are focusing on how to transform the grid to support electric vehicles but also how electric vehicles can help the grid transition to renewables. Electric vehicles can compensate for interruptions in renewables, as the two technologies complement each other well thanks to the ability to recharge vehicles when there is plentiful renewable electricity production or power input from vehicles parked in the grid when this is scarce.
What is Italy missing?
Investments and close relationships between universities, research and business. In Italy you have EnelX, one of the largest and most famous players in this sector in the world, but unfortunately there is no cooperation between companies and research institutions. Something, however, is moving. For example, I am one of the researchers with whom Minister Enrico Giovannini has shared reports on “Climate Change, Infrastructure and Mobility” and “Investing in Infrastructure: Financial Instruments and Sustainability” prepared by the study committees established in April 2021 by the Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility Which contains ideas and plans to support Italy’s success in its energy transition. Here, too, the need for significant investments is emphasized. Indeed, a large part of the report is devoted to potential interventions to prevent the effects of climatic events in Italy and there is talk of 12 billion between now and 2030; Or, according to another calculation, 8 billion between now and 2040 but at an annual maintenance cost of €604 million.
Apr 16, 2022 (change on Apr 16, 2022 | 15:10)
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