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Running EU-funded research projects

efre-fesr Südtirol-Alto Adige

Project index

Projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020


FESR1164 — Predictive maintenance for industrial equipment (PREMISE)

The maintenance of industrial equipment is typically preventive, scheduled based on calendar time or asset runtime, or reactive when errors occur. Today’s availability of huge amounts of sensor data allows predictive maintenance, which is scheduled as needed based on real-time conditions of industrial assets. Predictive maintenance tracks the performance of equipment during normal operation and detects possible defects before a failure occurs. This maintenance strategy has two major advantages: cost savings due to a reduction of downtime since maintenance steps can be better planned, and a reduction of resources since parts are only changed if their performance degrades.

The PREMISE project aims at developing a framework for predictive maintenance for industrial assets and is composed of three main components: data pre-processing, data analysis, and prediction. Since raw sensor data is typically noisy and incomplete, a pre-processing phase is needed to clean and prepare the data before more advanced analysis steps can be applied. The analysis phase aims at extracting correlations between different signals, performing a root-cause analysis, and identifying signals and patterns with high prognostic value. The extracted knowledge serves in the prediction phase as a basis to forecast abnormal behaviour and failures in a reliable manner.

The project is a collaboration between unibz and the two industrial partners Durst and TechnoAlpin, which produce digital printing systems and snow making systems, respectively. The developed prediction framework will be applied and evaluated using different use cases provided by the two companies.

Principal Investigator: Johann Gamper — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2021 – 31/12/2022
Project Partner:  Durst Professional Services, TechnoAlpin


FESR1161 — Tiny FOP MOB - Real world laboratory for ecological experimentation of the future building sector (TinyFOP)

The project pursues the overall goal of fostering innovative, socio-ecological transformation processes of companies and their economic processes. The testbed is featured by the design, development and testing of an energy self-sufficient real laboratory, the so-called transdisciplinary TinyFOP. In this respect, the comprehensive analysis of the TinyFOP includes a number of dimensions ranging from environmental and economic sustainability to Life Cycle Analysis, from metrics relevant to the Circular Economy to the perception of performances, from internal comfort to attractiveness. The whole development and testing process aims to create awareness among the companies in Vinschgau-Val Venosta and across South Tyrol of the need to change their entrepreneurial actions towards sustainability and thereby enable new economic cycles.

The project aims to impart and sensitise knowledge about sustainable business strategies and, more specifically, about sustainable construction through the CO2-neutral and energy self-sufficient TinyFOP, and to promote the exchange between science and entrepreneurship.
Thus, on the one hand, the level of awareness will be enhanced, and, on the other hand, the application of best practices will be fostered. The real-life experiments conducted at TinyFOP are also intended to promote innovative change processes in the corporate, organisational and production culture of companies. Furthermore, a contribution is to be made to close the gap between the often undiscovered innovative approaches of the periphery and the scientific knowledge produced predominantly in the urban centres, in order to create new models of socio-ecological management starting with the building sector.

Principal Investigator: Yuri Borgianni — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 24/09/2020 – 30/06/2022
Project Partner: Eurac Research (Lead Partner), Schönthaler Betonsteinwerk – Manufatti in cemento, Habicher Holzbau


FESR1149 — Development of an eco-sustainable bioprocessing for making low sugar fruit juices (SMARTJUICE)

The main source of excess sugar in the human diet is constituted by sugary drinks. Excessive sugar consumption is considered one of the determining causes of obesity and, consequently, is associated with a higher prevalence of risk factors for metabolic and cardio-metabolic diseases. Although natural juices are perceived to be healthier, they favour the energy and calorie intake of more portions of fresh fruit. Consequently, natural juices have a sugar content similar to that of sugary drinks, and once metabolised they induce the same biological response. In addition, the political orientation to introduce the sugar tax in many countries might limit the production of drinks with a high sugar content, and consequently reduce the daily intake of sugars.

The project Smartjuice aims to develop a new fruit drink with reduced sugar content produced in a natural way, in which the nutritional and sensory quality of the fruit is preserved.

The challenge of the project is monitoring and controlling the catabolism of sugars and the synthesis of natural sweeteners within fruit juices and natural smoothies without altering their organoleptic characteristics. The use of functional microorganisms and “food grade” enzymes combined with guided fermentation will constitute the natural and sustainable way to achieve this goal. Fermentation is considered one of the most traditional, eco-sustainable and effective examples of biotechnology to ensure the hygienic, sensory and shelf-life properties, and the improvement of the nutritional value of many foods and beverages.

Principal Investigator: Marco Gobbetti — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/10/2020 – 30/06/2022
Project Partner: Zuegg Com, Hans Zipperle


FESR1140 — Semiconductor Device Physics Laboratory (PhyLab)

The aim of the project is to set up a laboratory to research active materials, and to realise a technology platform for the local fabrication of specialised electronic components. Thin-film technology enables the low-cost production of traditionally very cost-intensive integrated electronics. In particular, customised analogue circuits are essential for the conditioning of sensors and transmission of data. The process required for these is the deposition of extremely thin layers of electronic oxides and metals by means of sputtering.
Such sputtered coatings enable the functionalisation of surfaces and the production of active components on various substrates such as paper, glass, or polymer films at low temperatures. This energy- and material-efficient production, and the use of biocompatible materials ensures a much smaller environmental impact than caused by traditional semiconductor processing technologies.
It also enables basic research in the fields of solid-state physics and material science. In addition, the use of alternative substrates allows the simultaneous optimisation of the electrical and mechanical properties of electronic systems and thus their seamless integration into our environment. Such unobtrusive electronics to collect and transmit data connects our physical world to the digital world and is therefore essential for the digital and sustainable society of the future.
Optimised integrated circuits and systems from the Device Physics Lab, can be directly used to monitor health, environmental and production processes. This will enable the region to optimise industrial and agricultural production cycles and open new market segments such as smart textiles.

Principal Investigator: Niko Münzenrieder — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/10/2020 – 31/12/2022


FESR1138 — Human-centred Technologies and Machine Intelligence Lab (MELANIE)

South Tyrol is characterised by a strongly developed service sector and a large number of small businesses (production area and agriculture). The ageing of the population, the opening of markets and climate change bring new challenges for both. In order to be able to remain competitive, existing processes must be further optimised and automated.
Embodied Artificial Intelligence plays a special role in this context, along with digitisation and networking in the sense of Industry 4.0. It enables not only the making of intelligent decisions, but also their translation into actions by a physical body, also in interaction and collaboration with humans. In South Tyrol, especially the areas of agriculture, care and assisted living, medicine, production, and construction can benefit significantly from embodied artificial intelligence.

Performing research on the next generation of embodied artificial intelligence with and without humans in the loop, that is supposed to be not only intelligent but also trustworthy and ethical, is the mission of the “Human-centred Technologies and Machine Intelligence Lab”, bridging the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, and human-system interaction.

Principal Investigator: Angelika Peer — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/10/2020 – 31/12/2022
Project website:


FESR1133 — Data Integration for Energy Efficiency (IDEE)

The energy consumption and efficiency of buildings is determined by a multitude of factors, an in order for energy managers to understand the current and past status in a certain region, a variety of data coming from different sources need to be accessed and processed in an integrated way.
The aim of the IDEE project is to develop a technological infrastructure based on semantic technologies for the integration of data concerning buildings, with an emphasis on the energy related data, and to provide techniques and tools for the visualisation and analysis of such data. The concrete outputs of the project can be identified in the preparation of suitable software functions that allow:

  • the system of existing information on an ontological basis;
  • the interrogation and interpretation of the answers provided by the system;
  • the use of the information system by end users.

The development of these functionalities will be based on innovative semantic technologies that, starting from a specific ontological definition of the domain of interest (buildings), will make it possible to system and query dynamically the information currently available on buildings.
The project will develop a case study based on the municipality of Merano, where both current and historical data about energy consumption (gas, electricity, distance heating) is available through Alperia, and topographical and cadastre data is available through an agreement with the municipality. The project will further rely on the expertise of R3-GIS in the development of geographical information systems to manage building and energy-related data and on the knowledge of the unibz KRDB Research Centre in developing ontology-based data-access and integration technology.

Principal Investigator: Diego Calvanese — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2019 - 31/05/2022
Project Partner: R3GIS (Lead Partner), Alperia


FESR1129 — Chemical markers in milk associable with silage in cow’s forage (HEUMILCH)

Hay milk meets the growing demand of consumers for traditional and authentic products. To produce hay milk, no fermented feed such as grass or maize silage and genetically modified feed is used. Hay milk is produced by cows that feed exclusively on fresh grass or hay and with a limited use of concentrated feed (no more than 25%).
The project HEUMILCH supports the maintenance of traditional production processes that are of strategic importance for the valorisation of the mountain area. Thanks to its nutritional, technological and sensory properties, hay milk can create added value with a positive impact on the income of farmers and the entire territory.
At present, no analytical methods able to detect the use of silage in milk, prohibited for the production of hay milk. The HEUMILCH project aims to develop new analytical methods for milk that can detect the presence of silage in the feed of the cows, guaranteeing the authenticity of the product. It aims to improve and refine the current control mechanisms on the product and is based on a recent official analytical method developed for the differentiation of Parmigiano Reggiano from Grana Padano. In particular, specific fatty acids will be analysed, which have been identified as biomarkers in the milk of cows fed with maize silage. Therefore, the presence or absence of these molecules will objectively define the genuineness of the product. In the HEUMILCH project, chemical analyses are carried out using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography coupled to the mass spectrometry. In addition, rapid screening methods, such as such as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) and PTR-MS (Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry) for hay milk will be tested and evaluated to detect any non-compliance in production, as further evidence of the authenticity of the hay milk product.

Principal Investigator: Matteo Scampicchio — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/01/2019 - 31/03/2022
Project Partner: Versuchszentrum - Centro di Sperimentazione Laimburg (Lead Partner), Sennereiverband Südtirol - Federazione Latterie Alto Adige


FESR1127 — Smart textile for monitoring muscles activity (STEX)

STEX is a project focused on the development of wearable sensors for real-time monitoring of muscle activity in the lower body. The main aim of STEX is monitoring high-performance muscle activity in cycling and running training, as well as in clinical rehabilitation using internet-of-things type connectivity for data acquisition, processing and storing. The project´s objectives are based on the development and employment of sensors capable of perceiving different parameters of single muscle groups: power output by electromyography or equivalent technique and lactate detection by using both printable polymeric electrochemical biosensors and optical-based methods. The project is also aiming at comparatively analysing the performance and the reliability achieved using the different approaches. While optical methods are already employed in different contexts (for example pulse oximetry), printable electrochemical biosensors based on nanotechnologies are at an early stage of research, motivating the effort to accelerate their transition to a prototype phase.
The project´s initial phase aims at understanding and defining the specific requirements for the project’s final application. First, state-of-the art scientific literature as well as existing products are to be thoroughly investigated. Subsequently, specific sensors (together with the technology necessary for their operation) are designed, fabricated and tested. This stage is of significant scientific importance, given the necessary basic research into sensing technologies that is required. In the final phase of STEX the resulting sensors are integrated into smart textiles for the realization of wearable prototypes that will be tested in real-life conditions. This also comprises the development of data acquisition platforms with internet-of-things connectivity.

Principal Investigator: Paolo Lugli — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2019 - 30/09/2022
Project Partner: Microgate (Lead Partner)


FESR1119 — Sensors and data for sports activity analysis (SALSA)

Recording and measuring athletic performance using sensors installed either on the athlete's body (e.g. in the form of a wristband) or on the sports equipment is a method of tracking fitness goals. Sensors must record the movements of the athlete in such a way that events can be detected in the subsequent data analysis that allow statements to be made about the success of the training. There are already systems on the market which are closed, i.e. they cannot be adapted to other requirements. This project aims to develop various prototypes (consisting of a sensor component and a software component) that can be used in the sports field to record and evaluate performance. As a concrete application case, this project is dedicated to the climbing area. Climbing is a young sport and is enjoying increasing popularity worldwide. The sport has received increased attention since its inclusion in the Olympic programme. Climbing is a differentiating feature for South Tyrol. As in many other sports, performance and workload (in the climbing hall) should be measured, improvements analysed and shared via social media. Through this project the necessary know-how will be built up in South Tyrol to use sensors in the sports sector but also in general in the industrial sector to record and evaluate human activities.

Principal Investigator: Andrea Janes — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2019 - 30/06/2022
Project Partner: Vertical-Life


FESR1113 — Optimisation of the robustness of compression presses in powder metallurgy through adaptive press control (RobuSinter)

To achieve a high process robustness of sintered work pieces manual quality checks and manual adjustments of production parameters are currently required in regular intervals. This work represents one of the major bottlenecks in achieving a more cost-efficient production, which will be required to maintain international competitiveness of companies like GKN Sinter Metals. The project aims at targeting this challenge and at developing new methods and tools for achieving such a higher process robustness. In doing so, the project will develop control and machine learning methods for modelling the process of creating sintered work pieces as function of a large series of inputs (machine data, CAD data, material and environmental data) and for identifying driving production parameters that mainly define the finally achieved quality. Using this information and with the help of methods for the active control of machine parameters the project aims at influencing the production process to attain the required process robustness.

Principal Investigator: Angelika Peer — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022
Project Partner: GKN Sinter Metals (Lead Partner)


FESR1111 — Hyperspectral images for wood and fruit inspection applications (H2I)

Hyperspectral images allow inspecting the composition of objects in a scene in a non-destructive way by generating the band-spectrum of each pixel in the scene. Hyperspectral images are widely used in remote sensing applications, astronomy, and they are finding their way into archaeology, agriculture and food processing industry. There are two main issues with this kind of images: firstly, the hardware platforms are bulky, expensive and complex; secondly, extracting useful information from hyperspectral images is complicated due the presence of spectral dimension, in addition to the spatial two-dimension.
The project H2I is going to propose and design a hyperspectral acquisition platform with a dedicated illumination source. Furthermore, it is going to develop a set of Deep Learning based methods to extract spatial and spectral information, and aims to propose a framework for training the designed Deep Neural Network suitable for the hyperspectral data. The proposed hyperspectral-image inspection platform could be used in a variety of applications, for example to inspect woods to detect defects, to check the maturation state of fruits, to check the status of conversation of some archaeological artefacts.

Principal Investigator: Roberto Confalonieri — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 17/01/2019 – 16/03/2022
Project Partner: Microtec
Project Website:


FESR1104 — Hydrothermal carbonization of biogas digestates: an innovative concept of bio-refinery (HB Ponics)

The HB Ponics project aims at developing an innovative and sustainable alternative to the treatment of digestate, a by-product of the anaerobic digestion (AD) process that at present is used as a fertilizer in agriculture or it is dried and burned in incinerators or disposed in landfills. The HB Ponics project thus proposes to apply the hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process to digestate derived from biogas plants and to exploit its products in soilless cultivation systems. In particular, the HTC products are constituted of a solid substrate (called hydrochar) and a liquid phase. The former has properties similar to those of natural peat, while within the process water several micro and macro nutrients are dissolved. Hydrochar has thus the potential to be used as a renewable substitute of the common solid growing media, such as the rock wool, while the process water might be used as a fertigation solution. The HTC process has been engineered and implemented by the start-up HBI, who has developed its own technology and is the project lead partner.
The main objectives of the HB Ponics project are:

  • analysing the current methods of treatment / disposal of the digestate, highlighting its main problems;
  • optimizing the parameters of the HTC process with the aim of producing hydrochar and liquid fertilizers for hydroponic systems.
  • acquiring all the knowledge and know-how necessary to be able, in a second moment, to develop an optimized system of HTC for the treatment of digestate and an innovative hydroponic plant;
  • analysing all aspects related to the potential business and the commercial value of these two new products.

In order to reach these objectives, HBI has provided to the Free University of Bolzano a lab scale HTC prototype through which functional tests on digestate will be performed. HBI will also analyse and develop all the strategic aspects to make this project a viable and effective alternative to common digestate treatments, while the University will provide all the scientific support, particularly concerning the use of the HTC by-products in soilless cultivation systems.

Principal Investigator: Stefano Cesco — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/04/2018 – 30/09/2021
Project Partner: HBI (Lead Partner)


FESR1103 — Thermal management of the accumulator batteries in electric and hybrid cars: optimization strategies for performance enhancing and for a sustainable mobility (COOL-CAR)

The main critical aspects of storage batteries used in the automotive sector concern cost, weight, low autonomy and loss of performance due to incorrect electrical and thermal management of modules and cells. The project COOL-CAR aims to adopt an integrated development methodology, specifically designed to meet the needs of the automotive sector, which takes into account the different technical issues in the design of batteries in order to optimize the phases of discharge (use of the vehicle) and charge (fast charge), and to increase autonomy and performance of electric and hybrid vehicles. The aspects that will be investigated in higher detail are the ones concerning the module materials and assembly and the thermal management: a lightweight and modular mechanical arrangement will be specifically studied; an innovative heat dissipation and thermal management strategy will be developed to meet the requirements of high current rates and module reliability. The output of the project involves the realization of a prototype battery and/or lithium battery components developed in collaboration with the industrial project partner. The module will be developed with an iterative procedure that exploits the results of experimental tests and simulations until the realization of an optimized prototype is reached. The experimental tests will be carried out to characterize the lithium ion cell batteries and to build an electro-thermal model of the battery useful to develop a flexible battery design tool. The prototype module can then be integrated into battery packs, arranged accordingly to the specific requirements of the vehicle. The prototype will be ready for the industrialization phases that will begin at the end of the project.

Principal Investigator: Marco Baratieri — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 04/05/2018 - 31/03/2022
Project Partner: Roechling Automotive


FESR1095 — Definition of a System of Laboratories for the development, characterisation and the technology transfer for Smart Energy Buildings (E2I@NOI)

E2I@NOI aims to support the development and adoption of technologies necessary to overcome the barriers that hamper the diffusion of Smart Energy Buildings.
The project has a threefold purpose:

  • development of methods to characterise technologies enabling the construction of "Smart Energy Buildings" by an upgrade of the EURAC and UNIBZ Laboratory System and by opening of the Laboratory System to the local production companies with a coeval involvement of industry associations;
  • transfer of these technologies to the territory of the Autonomous Province through definition of university and high-level training courses for designers, architects and technicians that will include practical laboratory experience on archetypes of building, heat generation and distribution systems as well as photovoltaics strongly integrated into the building by electrical accumulation and intelligent network interfaces;
  • development of tools for good practice and performance expectations from Smart Energy Buildings through the involvement of experts to define indicators and performance communication interfaces for users and professionals, useful for integration into mobile applications and BIM software.

Principal Investigator: Andrea Gasparella — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/07/2018 – 15/02/2022
Project Partner: Eurac Research (Lead Partner), KlimaHaus Agentur - Agenzia CasaClima


FESR1089 — The bread road map in alpine environments: new technologies for the cereal transformation chain in high mountain (Brotweg)

The project Brotweg aims to develop radical and incremental innovations for the cultivation of cereals in extreme mountainous areas (<1500 m) on fields featured by very steep lands (70%) where cereal cultivation is nowadays precluded by any form of mechanisation, resulting in abandonment for the high labour demand. Yet, the need to identify new development models for mountain agriculture, complementary to the animal farming models now prevailing, foregrounds the alternative of the farm-bakery supply chain (cereal-flour-bread), instead of the farm-cheese one (hay-milk-cheese) with the major benefits of the former in terms of reduction of manpower and annual workloads, investments and environmental impacts. However, the cereal supply chain requires a priori the solution of all the problems that prevent the adoption of suitable lines of mechanisation and conservation in small mountain farms.
Project activities will focus on:

  • cultivation, with the development of new machines capable of dealing with the problems of steep lands in the most critical operations, i.e. sowing (with the adaptation of existing models to sod seeding, thus avoiding soil tillage that is harmful to erosion) and, above all, harvesting (with the design of new harvesters for low straw/grain biomass ratio, reconsidering modular solutions possibly with stripper headers);
  • post-harvesting, including appropriate technologies for small sized farms for transport, fixed point threshing, storing and at-farm conservation of grain;
  • transformation, with baking lines suitable for small mountain farms.

Principal Investigator: Fabrizio Mazzetto — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/06/2018 - 31/10/2021
Project Partner: GEIER, Neuero Italiana, Taseralm - Maso Taser, Fraunhofer Italia Research


FESR1085 — Hydro Turbines optimisation for a sustainable production (TURB_HYDRO)

The project has the aim to develop, together with companies working on hydro turbines production, research activities for improvement of conventional and original hydro power turbines (mini-hydro). The research activities will include both analysis through fluid-dynamic numerical simulation and advanced simulation using both commercial and proprietary codes (Computational Fluid Dynamics). Moreover and advanced experimental fluid dynamics analyses through physical modelling will be developed. Over a time span of three years, research activities will include both Computational Fluid Dynamics studies and analyses on physical models of innovative solutions for mini hydro through the installation of proper hydraulic circuits for physical modelling, one of them dedicated at pressure (operating pressure higher than 20 bar). The research results that will be obtained during the project, will not be solely submitted for publishing on scientific journals, but also "engineered" and applied to the partners manufacturing machines in order to improve the competitiveness of their products and facilitate the introduction of new products.

Principal Investigator: Maurizio Righetti — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 04/05/2018 - 30/03/2022
Project Partner: Troyer, AC-TEC

FESR1084 — Field Robotics South-Tyrol Laboratory: applied research laboratory and infrastructure for robotics and mechatronics for the Alpine region (FiRST Lab)

The FiRST Lab's mission is to conduct applied interdisciplinary research at the intersection of "mechatronics, robotics and automation" and "agro-forestry". In particular, under the Autonomous Province of Bolzano’s S3 Strategy, this project lies within the domain of "Alpine Technology" and has natural connections with both energy- and food-technologies, which the province considers strategic research areas. The project focuses on the design and realisation of the infrastructures related to the establishment of the lab as well as on the starting of the planned research activities. The lab will be established in building B7 of the NOI Tech-Park. Expected research activities include:

  1. Basic and applied research, as well as third-party services, in the field of mechatronics and mobile robotics for outdoor activities.
  2. The development of autonomous- and semi-autonomous-robots.
  3. The development of technologies for monitoring operations (e.g., apple orchards, greenhouses, riverbeds, lakes, slopes); automated inspection; and sample collection.
  4. Collaborative research with SMEs to foster the technology transfer of any products/processes developed in the above-mentioned research areas.

A strong cooperative working relationship with other planned laboratories that will be housed in B7 is foreseen, specifically the Agroforestry Innovation Lab (reference person prof. F. Mazzetto), the Applied Thermo-Fluid Dynamics Lab (reference person prof. M. Righetti), and the Bioenergy and Biofuels Lab (prof M. Baratieri).

Principal Investigator: Renato Vidoni — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2018 - 31/07/2021
Project Partner: NOI Techpark Südtirol / Alto Adige
Project Website:


FESR1068 — Sensing Laboratory (Senslab)

SENSLAB is a project focused on the realisation of a fully functional laboratory devoted to the fabrication and characterisation of environmental, chemical, physical and biological sensors. At this aim, the project is structured/organised in three main phases: the realisation of the physical infrastructure, the procurement of the necessary equipment, the start-up of the laboratory with the verification of the equipment functionality and the processes optimisation.

The first phase of the project is constituted by the realisation of three main functional areas: one devoted to the synthesis and deposition of nanomaterials (NanoMat), one devoted to the fabrication of the biosensors (BioSens), and finally, an area for the assembly and characterisation of the sensors and the related electronics (E-Lab). While the NanoMat and the BioSens areas comprise basic chemistry facilities with compressed air and nitrogen plugs, the E-Lab area is characterised by working benches.

In a second phase, all the necessary equipment is purchased and set-up. In particular, in the NanoMat a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) system for the realisation of carbon nanomaterials equipped with atomic layer deposition (ALD) of dielectric materials and an optical microscope are installed. In the BioSens area, a glovebox with e-beam and thermal evaporation machine, a clean-room with mask aligner for optical photolithography and spin-coaters are installed. In the E-lab, an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), an optical table with an optical setup for material characterisation, a probe station with parameter and network analyser, along with classical electrical characterisation tools such as oscilloscopes, source meters, power supplies, and function generators are installed. The last phase consists in the training of the scientific personnel involved in the operation of the laboratories and in the optimisation of the fabrication processes.

Principal Investigator: Paolo Lugli — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2018 - 31/01/2021
Project Partner: NOI Techpark Südtirol / Alto Adige


FESR1065 — Microbe and food proteomics: a platform for process and product innovation, sustainability and authenticity (MICRO4FOOD)

The "omics" sciences are a pillar in many research fields, but the recent improvement has pushed towards their specialization. Among "omics", proteomics is certainly the most versatile and effective, offering a holistic approach to the selection and microbiota assembly responsible for food production, the conditioning of the human gastrointestinal microbiome in response to diet, and the improvement of food quality, regarding nutritional, functional and authenticity attributes. Micro4Food aims to create a platform for microbial and food proteomics that allows innovation, sustainability and authentication of processes and products, mainly in the Province of Bolzano. The approach that will be used is that of a biotechnological "supply chain" with a multi-purpose application, able to make the most of the application opportunities. According to the above concept for any food, it will be possible:

i) to drive the food processing;

ii) to innovate processes and products;

iii) to enhance environmental sustainability, as well as recover by-products;

iv) to enhance and improve the nutritional and functional features, with regard to the axis diet – man; and

v) to ensure markers and techniques for the authentication of typical and traditional products.

The platform will have a marked ability to interact with industries and stakeholders. The synergistic relationship between university and businesses will therefore encourage the development of innovative solutions, enhancing the application of research.

Principal Investigator: Marco Gobbetti — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/01/2018 - 31/03/2021
Project Partner: NOI Techpark Südtirol / Alto Adige


FESR1033 — Development of insect-based feed products for livestock production in regional cycles in South Tyrol (PROINSECT)

Insects as protein source for animal feed represent a valid alternative to the use of soybean and fish meals, considering that 70% of the world’s agricultural land has already been dedicated to the production of feed and the supply of fish is declining. Insect farming has several advantages: for example, insects can convert feed 7 times more efficiently compared with cattle and the emission of greenhouse gases and ammonia is up to a hundred times lower. This project aims to explore the possibility of using 'black soldier fly' (Hermetia illucens), as a suitable species to develop on OFMSW (Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste), of which the company Eco Center SpA collects about 5,000 tons annually in South Tyrol. The Free University of Bolzano, with its wide knowledge and experience in entomology, food technology and animal husbandry, collaborates with Eco Center SpA and a private company, to reach project’s outputs. The objective of the study are:

  1. set the optimal breeding protocol for H. illucens,
  2. produce insect-based feed and
  3. evaluate its efficacy in feeding poultry.

Experiments with different room conditions and larval densities are ongoing to find out the best rearing settings of this species on OFMSW. Trials with different extrusion parameters are examined to obtain insect-meal pellets. Finally yet importantly, chickens will be reared with H. illucens-based feed and broiler meat’s features will be evaluated. Insect rearing will have the advantage of producing a rich-protein source in South Tyrol, and at the same time significantly reduce the volume of organic waste, of which the landfill-disposal is currently extremely expensive.

Principal Investigator: Sergio Angeli — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/01/2017 - 31/03/21
Project Partner: eco center


FESR1029 — Thermo Fluid Dynamics, infrastructures for applied research to business and industry in South Tyrol (LTFD)

The proposed project aims at being for the territory of South Tyrol a reference example of a multidisciplinary and multiplatform network in the field of Thermo-Fluid Dynamics that facilitates the link between advanced research and industrial applications. The goal is to provide advanced research tools and methods to respond to numerous requests from the territory and at the same time to strengthen the existing laboratories of the Free University of Bolzano. The laboratory will be able to supply the most modern experimental techniques that can be applied in different aspects of thermo-fluid dynamics applied research, mainly focusing on

  • solid biomass gasification and renewable fuel combustion;
  • optimisation of hydro-power machines and their integration in the civil works;
  • optimisation of energy-intensive industrial process that involve the use of any kind of liquid and gaseous fluid.

There are many areas of applied research, currently including:

  • Renewable energy and the environment
  • Hydroelectric production: new types of turbines and production systems, power plants revamping
  • Biomass gasification processes
  • Sprays for combustion of liquid fuels and other industrial uses
  • Civil Protection and Environment: Protective works against geo-hydrological instability

The instruments and the devices that will be acquired and the numerical techniques and codes that will be used and implemented in the frame of the project, will not be restricted to single limited applications but they will be designed in order to grant the highest flexibility and the application of cutting-edge methodologies of both experimental and numerical analysis to a wide range of researches and industrial problems related to Thermo-Fluid-Dynamics.

Principal Investigator: Maurizio Righetti — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2017 – 31/12/2020


FESR1028 — Optimization of WOOD gasification chain in South Tyrol to prodUce bio-energy and other high-value green Products to enhance soil fertility and mitigate climate change (WOOD-UP)

The WOOD-UP project aims at improving  the gasification chain of wood biomass for energy, soil fertility and climate change mitigation. The research consortium consists of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and specifically the Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences and the Center for Agricultural and Forestry Experimentation of Laimburg. WOOD – UP is an applied-research project that aims to produce expendable results, with an impact on key sectors (agriculture, energy, environment) of the South Tyrolian economy. Pyrolysis and gasification of woody biomass for cogeneration of heat and electricity is a sustainable form of energy production from renewable sources. Nevertheless, it still has elements of weakness that could be improved. Among these, it has to be mentioned the solid, C-rich by-product (biochar) of pyrolysis and gasification, which is now treated as waste, resulting in an economic and environmental cost. Recent research findings have suggested that biochar may represent a valuable resource, when used in agriculture as soil amendment. However, biochar physical and chemical characteristics, which determine its suitability to be used in agriculture, depend both on the feedstock and on the production process. The characteristics of the biochar produced in South Tyrol are only partially known, and its ability to improve soil fertility is still unknown. A second aspect is related to the raw material. The lignocellulosic material used in pyrolysis and gasification plants is rich in secondary compounds, which could be used by the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industry. These compounds could be extracted before the use of biomass for energy production, increasing the economic sustainability of the entire value chain. In this framework, WOOD – UP aims to:

  1. assess the energy efficiency of existing pyrolysis or gasification plants and
  2. characterize the biochar produced in South Tyrol ;
  3. assess the potential to extract substances with high added value from wood biomass;
  4. study the effect of biochar application on the soil fertility, the quality of the agricultural products and the GHG emissions in vineyards and apple orchards in South Tyrol;
  5. integrate the obtained results in a scenario analysis using LCA.

Principal Investigator: Giustino Tonon — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 18/11/2016 – 17/11/2020
Project Partner: Versuchszentrum - Centro di Sperimentazione Laimburg
Project Website:


FESR1021 — Drosophila suzukii management through yeast based trapping lures (DROMYTAL)

Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) or spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), is an extremely polyphagous invasive species responsible for major damages to local and global fruit farming and viticulture. It attacks soft-skinned fruits of cultivated and spontaneous plants, especially berries and stone fruits, and grapes, in particular the variety “Vernatsch”, which is very important for the local wine production. The fruit damage happens shortly before harvest, therefore using synthetic insecticides is particularly challenging, as it is difficult to respect pre-harvest intervals. The main goal of the project is to develop an effective pest control strategy based on the behavioural manipulation of the insect, in order to keep it away from fruits and lower the damage rate. We aim to develop a new control strategy that will reduce or eliminate the residues of chemical insecticides on fruits, targeting fruit-associated yeasts to attract specifically the oviposing females of D. suzukii with a mass trapping approach. In this research, we propose a different approach to tackle the problems caused by D. suzukii, considering the predisposition of the insect towards yeast odours. In a parallel experiment, we determined the yeast strains that might function as phagostimulant components for D. suzukii.

The project outputs include the identification of a lure with an attractive component and the elaboration of suitable application methods for different cultivation systems and cultural species. The methods should allow the transition from basic research to the field application of the final product. Experiments are still in progress, but the preliminary results are promising.

Principal Investigator: Sergio Angeli — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 18/11/2016 – 31/10/2020
Project Partner: Versuchszentrum - Centro di Sperimentazione Laimburg (Lead Partner)


FESR1008 — Collaborative Construction Process Management (COCkPiT)

The aim of the project is to provide methodologies and tools to support the efficient management of construction processes, adopting a collaborative approach based on real data. There are three sub-objectives:

  1. Development of a formal framework and development of a methodology, and an IT tool to support cooperative process modelling: The formal aspect will be the basis for the whole approach on process management and will allow the implementation of automatic verification and scheduling functionalities. The methodology will define guidelines for the use of the collaborative approach in process modelling. IT will support the collaborative aspect by supporting touch devices and will implement automatic functions (e.g. consistency checks).
  2. Development of a methodology and a software prototype for short-term capacitive scheduling. The methodology to be developed and the software tool will facilitate the scheduling of activities on site: To increase reliability, the scheduling should be short-term (weekly or daily), based on real data on available resources (capacity scheduling) and related to the real progress of activities. Automatic functions will suggest possible scheduling or optimal distribution of resources.
  3. Development of a methodology and an IT tool to support real-time monitoring of progress: The monitoring of progress on site must be defined precisely in order to ensure that it is measured consistently for different activities and by different workers. For this reason the project will define a methodology and a tool to support this activity.

Principal Investigator: Werner Nutt — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2017 – 31/12/2020
Project Partner: Fraunhofer Italia Research
Project website:


FESR1002 — Sediment budgeting and planning for rivers in South-Tyrol: from hazard mitigation to environmental restoration (SEDIPLAN-r)

Sediment transport processes in Alpine rivers are of great relevance due to their ecological, energetic and risk-related consequences. Sediment fluxes provide the hydromorphological conditions supporting dynamic aquatic ecosystems. To achieve these conditions, sediment continuity must be maintained or enhanced if already disrupted. Such goal is often in conflict with:

(i) flood risk mitigation, as sediment transport may strongly amplify flood hazards; and

(ii) hydropower production, as the required hydraulic structures cause alterations of longitudinal sediment transfer and of its temporal dynamics.

Therefore, decision makers involved in river basin management in the Alps – and thus in South Tyrol as well – are facing the urgency to test policies able to reconcile these conflicting targets, especially in river basins hosting numerous hydropower and flood-mitigation structures. The main goal of the integrated project SEDIPLAN (research and innovation parts) is to investigate and to quantify sediment transport and morphological trajectories of river channels within the territory of the Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano (APB) at three different spatial and temporal scales (small, intermediate and large), with the final aim to identify priorities for sediment management.

The single objectives are:

- estimating annual sediment yields in the main channel network of APB through an evidence-based approach, which integrates data from ad-hoc monitoring stations, hydropower reservoirs and sediment retention basins;

- encompassing an array of different spatial and temporal scales relevant for sediment management, from the short and localized flood scale to the centennial, Province-wide channel variations (observed and expected);

- promoting an active collaboration with three important hydropower companies;

- integrating a scientific project with an innovation project led by private companies (see companion project SEDIPLANi).

Principal Investigator: Francesco Comiti — Faculty of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Project Duration: 01/01/2017 – 17/11/2020
Project Website:


FESR1001 — WEb Service Centre for a QUALity multidimensional design and teleoperated monitoring of Green Infrastructures (WEQUAL 1/a)

The Wequal Project has the aim to develop a new quality multidimensional designing support system, integrated with solutions for aiding environmental monitoring, for works and activities related the so-called Green Infrastructures. It includes:

  • I) the design of a web information system (WIS), to manage the various steps of a multidimensional evaluation (MVMD) of alternative GI projects at hand, with user access (designers, evaluators, researchers, institutional actors) permitted  through different levels of privilege;
  • II) the integration into the SIW of a library of different multidimensional evaluation packages (MDE), including multi-attribute and multi-criteria tools to be selected according to the user’s objectives; packages will include data structures, calculation procedures, GUI, guidelines, and procedures to interpret raw data achieved from automated environmental monitoring;
  • III) the development of new, highly automated environmental monitoring methods, aiming at providing new indicators to be evaluated through rapid direct surveys to be carried out by unmanned vehicles (both aerial and surface, UAV and USV) and able to plug in with the WIS;
  • IV) the development of historical data bases (archives) to be built, according to the WIS information formats, following a sort of "community logic" approach, involving all WIS users who have gained significant experience using the features of the Wequal system.

WEQUAL 1/a is the partner project of WEQUAL 1/b, conducted by Maccaferri Innovation Centre, MAVtech and Naturstudio.

Principal Investigator: Fabrizio Mazzetto — Faculty of Engineering
Project Duration: 01/01/2017 - 30/09/2019