In pictures: Is this hidden net-zero community our future?

Since 2008, Loccioni (world leader in mechatronics and automated robotic systems) has transformed its factories and residential buildings into Italy’s first eco-sustainable community with zero carbon pollution, the “Community of Leaves”.

The hidden valley of Valle dell’Essino near Ancona is an area rich in history and natural resources, an ideal place for Locconi and local authorities to work together to protect and enhance the valley’s heritage while creating jobs.

Loccioni has become a hub for business and technology in the region, a great example of how technology can be used to create a sustainable life. Here, people live in carbon-neutral housing, commute in electric cars, and commute to work in facilities powered by renewable energy sources.

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The Leaf Society is a laboratory that focuses on future agriculture, such as digitally controlled beehives, experimental models to measure the health of farmland or smart irrigation systems for crops.

The electricity required for industrial operations is produced by a mix of resources, including photovoltaic panels on office roofs, hydroelectric plants along the nearby Esino River, and biomass pyrogasification (heating waste to produce biogas). ) to provide heat to the whole community.

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Energy systems form a so-called “smart grid” network, where excess energy in one area (eg, solar energy) can offset deficits in another. Excess power can be stored in batteries that are inefficient enough for electric vehicles, meaning nothing goes to waste.

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These interconnected systems could become the blueprint for many other communities around the world as engineers look for new ways to combat the climate crisis and transition to a carbon-neutral society.

Valle di San Clemente

A warm day in the Italian countryside

Italy’s Valle di San Clemente is home to the Smart Land Project, a public-private initiative to enhance the valley’s historical, cultural and agricultural heritage. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

Energy islands

Solar powered laboratory buildings

These “mobile” labs are energy islands consisting of photovoltaic panels and interconnected storage tanks. Thanks to smart management of power flow and peak power, almost all consumption is recovered and transferred to the grid. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

Medical robots

A robot arm in the factory

Apoteca Chemo Medical Robot Trial Phase; An automated system for the preparation of intravenous chemotherapy drugs at the Loccioni Laboratory in Ancona, Italy. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

Natural energy sources

Hydroelectric power plant on the Esino River in Angeli di Rosora, Ancona, Italy. Two hydraulic banks inside the building, built in 2013, use the flow of water to generate electricity for the Leaf community. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

Abbey restoration

View of the church of Sant’Urbano, Macerata, Apiro, Italy. Recently restored as a result of a local initiative to preserve and improve the Valle di San Clemente, the church is now considered the heart of tourism in the valley. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

High-tech beehive

Colorful beehive in the field

In this photo, a weather station and digital sensor system in the San Clemente Valley monitor beehives, another element of the Smart Land Project. Sensors allow beekeepers to view hive parameters without moving, monitor hive weight, analyze weather conditions, fertility, and bee quality of life. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

Factory floor

Industrial construction workers

Testing and production laboratories of Loccioni Laboratories. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

More pictures Science concentration:

Burning power

Industrial facilities from outside

In this pyrogasizer, waste is burned at high temperatures. This process produces biogas, which is used to heat all local buildings. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato


Solar panels at sunset

A view of the Leaf Park solar facility in the San Clemente Valley in Macerata, Italy. The energy produced by these solar panels supplies science projects at Lockoni. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato

The soil is carefully monitored

Solar panels in rural Italy

A prototype soil erosion analysis system for agricultural fields in the San Clemente Valley, Italy. The prototype consists of a mobile device that can be used in different terrains and geomorphological conditions. Photo by Luigi Avantagiato


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