Civil Environmental Engineer, expert in urban planning, energy auditing, renewable energy, Near Zero Energy Buildings, circular economy, impact assessment and evaluation techniques, information technology (GIS, DBMS, BIM), innovation management, European Projects. Master Degree in environmental engineering and PHD in Urban Planning (La Sapienza University, Rome). Lecturer and tutor for university courses in Environmental engineering (GIS, Assessment). Long experience in Research and Development projects (Sapienza, ISPESL, INAIL, INRETS), environmental engineering public and private projects (NZEB, renewable sources plants – designer and site manager; hydraulics and waste water treatment), GIS, BIM and multimedia development projects. Constantly updated on new technologies, he has competences for the management of the whole design workflow. From 2009 focused on renewable energy technologies, ESCO business model and energy efficiency, founded and promoted a Start-up company, Spin-off of the University Sapienza, oriented to the BIM Design of Energy Active Buildings and NZEB. Indipendent Expert Evaluator and Monitor for European Commission on Horizon 2020 program, for MISE – Ministry of Economic Development –, MCI and ANR – France- on several R&D projects mainly addressed to Climate change. European projects and international cooperation Manager for Sapienza CITERA, Roma Capitale, Risorse per Roma Spa, FEDERESCO. Responsible of “GIS BIM and Digital Twin Laboratory” of CITERA Sapienza University.

Patrick, what is your organisation’s role in PLATOON?

Risorse per Roma SpA (RpR) as support service agency of Roma Capitale (RC) works to boost the innovation in a wide range of domains and activities of the municipality. Within the PLATOON project the main role of RpR is to support the RC team, composed of personnel from 3 different departments: SIMU (Public Works and Energy Management), DIT (Department for Digital Innovation), and PSFE (Development Programmes and European Funds), to contribute to the development of the Pilot of Rome. This is dedicated to the collection and management of the datasets concerning the energy consumptions and PV production coming from the 6500 meters by the owned buildings. This role is mainly conducted through the project management activity, the energy expertise contributions, and the dissemination and communication management, granting an integrated approach and maintaining an overview of the ensemble of objectives that the pilot has to pursue. RC and RpR’s main role in PLATOON is focused on the Pilot development, being the Municipality the foreseen beneficiary of the Advanced Energy Management Systems that the project will produce.

How does PLATOON relate to you and your team’s background and interests?

Personally, I have been working for 15 years on energy issues ranging from Renewable Energy System (RES) solutions to energy efficiency for buildings and plants, both in research contexts and in the private sector. Recently, I was in charge of the innovation management within the Public Works Department (SIMU) of RC and one of the main levers was represented by the European Projects. This was the opportunity to start collaborating with the RPR and the Department PSFE teams that deal with the European projects in which RC participates.

A growing need has emerged to orient the energy sector of the municipality towards innovation, and therefore to develop international relationships that would allow RC to be brought on board Horizon projects. Among others, the PLATOON project distinguished itself for the advantage of being transversal addressing the issue of data enhancement as a driving strategy towards energy efficiency.

How will PLATOON digitalise and contribute to the development of the energy sector (e.g. with big data, edge computing, and AI) in your opinion?

PLATOON can bring the considerable IT and ICT skills offered by the members of the Project consortium within the energy management sector. Digitalization is an unstoppable process that needs to be fed with innovative visions and solutions. The flows of energy consumption, production, and distribution generate an enormous amount of data which is why in many cases, risk can be inadequately observed, analyzed, and exploited.

Therefore, the first contribution by PLATOON is the enhancement of big data role; the second contribution that of the application of AI techniques to improve management and optimization;  the third contribution that should not be underestimated consists in bringing out energy management problems by giving immediate visibility to the need to intervene avoiding or tempering critical issues and to improve energy efficiency, resulting in precious Decision Support and Management tools.

Latest generation sensors and meters belong to the IoT framework, thus allowing the distribution of intelligence in complex systems. PLATOON will be able to produce cutting-edge data analysis and automation solutions. In the use case of the Roman pilot, one of the most ambitious goals is the semi-automation of energy audits updating for a large asset, an evolution that can produce a great acceleration to the knowledge processes in the field of energy management.

Which stakeholder groups can benefit from PLATOON?

Focusing on the energy big data, PLATOON offers – to the large energy asset players, consumers, producers, or prosumers – new easy-to-use tools, which are useful to increase knowledge on energy issues and to redesign their policies, improving efficiency and reducing consumptions. The municipalities and other public administrations, the DSOs, and the large asset managers (AM/FM) can receive relevant benefits.

How do you expect the energy sector to be like in the future?

The transition towards the all-electric model is going to accelerate more and more and at the same time, the distributed RES generation must follow this trend. The energy efficiency could then reach the desired targets reducing the overall consumptions. The energy sector will be invested by a growing digitalisation that will permit the sharing among prosumers. The improvement of flexibility will be another result of these tendencies. The role of the policies, in terms of governance, regulations, and incentives is fundamental to keep this track.

Which are the most significant challenges and opportunities related to the digitalisation of the energy sector in your opinion?

On the one hand, energy sharing and flexibility are the current challenges related to digitalisation of the energy sector. But on the other hand, the user’s behaviors, either small or large consumers, represent the success key of the energy transition and new low carbon models. Digitalization plays a formidable role in the awareness that can drive changes in usage models. The diffuse and easier access to certified energy data for anyone can be supported by the blockchain applications in the sector so that the next step could be the deployment of peer-to-peer energy sharing. The RES distributed generation and the energy efficiency of buildings and infrastructures will benefit from the increasingly massive digitization of the energy sector.

Which are your expectations from the PLATOON project?

In my opinion, the most important goal in this first phase is to integrate the awareness of the great value that information and data have into the ordinary management within the complex system of the Municipality of Rome.

My expectations from the project are manifold: the effective re-shaping of a data-driven energy management system, the improvement of responsiveness to the emergences of energy inefficiency issues, the strengthening of the ability to evaluate, design and implement efficiency interventions, a greater frequency in dissemination and publication practices of the energy knowledge framework in the RC asset, the semi-automation of the energy audit processes for the thousands of municipal buildings. In the mid-term, the replication of the good practices of data exploitation that will come from PLATOON to other specific sectors of the RC Energy Management such as mobility, private thermal plants monitoring, public lighting, or even to the implementation of the new SECAP.

Thank you, Patrick, for this interesting interview!