Innovation for business development

The development of more efficient and sustainable technologies is of vital importance in the reduction of the environmental impacts of a company. In 2019, various research and development activities launched in previous years were either continued or completed. At the same time, some new projects were launched with a potential impact on various areas of corporate operations. Many of these projects have been conducted with the Snamtec (Tomorrow’s Energy Company).


40 projects

10 different initiatives:

  • energy efficiency
  • reduction of emissions
  • new energy vectors
  • optimisation of the management
  • remote control of assets
Governance and monitoring of the network and plants (Icon)

Governance and monitoring of the network and plants

Installation of innovative systems for controlling and monitoring the network and facilities in the following areas:

  • Remote control: development of the Smart Tel project aimed at analysing the requirements of data acquisition and management processes relating to the control and running of the network, in particular:
    • adoption of IIoT solutions (Industrial Internet of Things) for reporting field data not available to date, for the diagnostics and operation of equipment aimed at making the gas transportation network increasingly more smart also defining supervision and maintenance logics that are appropriate and optimised for all equipment (for example, predictive maintenance);
    • study of preheating plant engineering solutions with automated management aimed at optimising energy efficiency and reducing emissions;
    • rationalisation of transmission equipment in order to have standardised, modular equipment to make the management and maintenance processes for the actual equipment more efficient;
    • creation of a repository with all the data to facilitate the maximum integration and availability of validated data and the implementation of Big Data and Advanced Analytics.
  • Security:
    • initiatives for protection against fire in plant control rooms through vacuum technology. A project was later launched to install similar fire detection/extinguishing systems in the technical rooms of the compression stations.
    • replacement of plant security management systems by installing electronic systems with SIL certification (Safety Integrity Level)
  • Monitoring compression units: in 2019 a project was launched for the modernisation of a telediagnostic system for the compression units through the acquisition of thermodynamic and functional parameters for the future development of predictive analysis aimed at improving performance. In addition, in 2019 a project was completed for the development of a dashboard that collects the main important parameters needed for dispatch for the improved management of the turbochargers.
  • Electro-compressors: study for the introduction of electro-compressors at storage sits.
  • Trigeneration: in 2019 works were completed to put high-efficiency trigeneration plants into operation at the Gallese and Istrana compressor stations. The start up of the system at the Gallese station took place in the last quarter of 2019 achieving an energy saving of more than 65% with further improvement margins following the tuning in 2020.
  • Treatment systems: installation of latest generation, high performance equipment with a low environmental impact. The first installation of the new generators at the Fiume Trieste facility is expected from 2020.
Physical integrity of infrastructures (Icon)

Physical integrity of infrastructures

Creation of experimental projects and development of specific collaborations aimed at guaranteeing the physical integrity of the infrastructures in the following areas:

  • Collaboration with the EPRG: it is ongoing the collaboration with the EPRG (European Pipeline Research Group,, the association for research into pipelines of which Snam is a member.
  • Protection against fire: installation of safety devices that, in the case of accidental breakage or faults, provide protection against the danger of pressurised gas emissions during the accident scenarios in the case of fire.
  • Micro-seismic monitoring: an innovative system to protect plants against earthquakes composed of accelerometers capable of instantly detecting seismic events and activating the automatic plant safety systems.
Maintenance and checking of networks (Icon)

Maintenance and checking of networks

Launch of trial projects for optimising and reinforcing maintenance and checking activities for the transportation networks in the following areas such as:

  • initiatives aimed at reducing emissions, with the definition of all preparatory activities for the implementation of an LDAR programme (Leak Detection and Repair) for measuring and repairing leaks in Snam plants.
  • maintenance processes: continuation of the Smart gas project aimed at improving the effectiveness of technical and operational processes, for the purpose of a comprehensive revision of the work processes and regulations relating to corporate asset maintenance activities. Specifically, the Smart LNG design and realisation phase was launched in 2019 for operations at the Panigaglia LNG terminal. The dematerialisation of the archives in the regional units continued through the eDoc document system which will be fully integrated in Smart gas.
  • leak detection: implementation of a system aimed at locating gas leaks along the transport network, based on the analysis of the pressure waves and the detection of possible disruptions.
  • checks with flyovers: development of drone flight infrastructure in BVLOS mode (Beyond Visual Line of Sight).
Gas metering (Icon)

Gas metering

Development of innovative technologies and methodologies for metering and controlling natural gas and related impact in the following areas:

Alternative instruments and quality measurement:

  • technological adaptation project with the installation of quality analysers and the automation and remote reading of the main measurement and reserve measurement.
  • project for the installation of dew point H2O meters and hydrogen sulphide analysers.
  • Estimating natural gas emissions: evaluation of methods for estimating natural gas emissions and research into the potential impacts, throughout the gas supply chain, of chemical components present in traces in biomethane is continuing in order to create the conditions for its safe development in conjunction with the European research group GERG (Groupe Européen de Recherches Gazières,
New businesses (Icon)

New businesses

Creation of dedicated working parties to take an in-depth look into issues related to the development of new businesses with special reference to:

  • Innovative use of existing infrastructures: sharing of information and expertise on the use of infrastructures in relation to their capacity for transporting and storing gases other than natural gas, including hydrogen: The following initiatives were also examined under the scope of European associations (Marcogaz):
  • Power 2 Gas: the process through which the electricity produced by renewable sources that is surplus to immediate consumption is transformed into hydrogen to be injected directly into the network (limited to the technically-acceptable quantities) or used for the production of synthetic methane (SINGAS) also to be injected into the network and possibly stored later.
  • Adsorbed Natural Gas (ANG): this is one of the latest technological developments for the storage of natural gas in tanks. The adsorption of natural gas in a porous sorbent injected into a recipient (tank/canister) takes place at ambient temperature and low pressure (25 – 35 bar).

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