The longer a professional and corporate journey is, the more numerous the key words are that mark its path over time. They are those often-used terms that we become accustomed to using and hearing because they become part of the lexicon and the corporate way of thinking. Throughout MAIRE's long history, we find some recurring concepts that continue to outline the distinctive and managerial profile of this company: entrepreneurial vision, the ability to integrate insight and expertise, the importance of strategic acquisitions (how can we forget those of Fiat Engineering and Tecnimont), the protection of Italy's industrial and engineering heritage, financial stability, and performance in terms of turnover, margins and results. However, we still need two more words: tenacity and courage.

Now we have a complete picture for putting the "Unbox the Future" revolution into context, announced by chairman and founder Fabrizio Di Amato at MAIRE's Capital Markets Day 2023 on March 2, with the presentation of the 10-year strategic plan, 2023-2032: «I am really excited today because we are entering the second life of our Group and it is a new beginning, both for us and for me – said Chairman Di Ama- to –. We have established ourselves as a leading player in engineering, bringing together expertise and technology with more than 100 years of history. We are now key players in the energy transition. And we are ready to accelerate. We want to use all our experience to meet the growing demands of the market with a new approach. Today we begin a new journey».

Here, on the cusp of his 40-year anniversary of constantly evolving entrepreneurial activity, Fabrizio Di Amato presents the second life of the company he founded at age 18, when he led a team of 20 employees that has grown into a group of 50 companies operating in 45 countries around the world: «We are making sure that our DNA, as a Group, continues to evolve. We are increasingly technology driven and want to give value back to our society. We expect great results for our people, shareholders and stakeholders». As part of this new dimension of MAIRE, the levers for achieving the objectives of the plan will arise from the opportunities presented by the energy transition. The ambitious plan announced by Di Amato is to double MAIRE's numbers in 10 years, both in terms of people employed and by bringing revenues toward a quota of 7 billion between now and 2033. How? «We are committed to significantly increasing our profitability and sustainability – the founder explained –. Our future journey will be supported by acquisitions and internal growth. Personally, as an entrepreneur, I feel a great responsibility: to support the transformation our planet needs regarding the environment and growth. To do this we have incorporated sustainability into our business. The goal is to achieve it in line with these three parameters: social, environmental and economic».

A social, environmental and economic sustainability

MAIRE's strategy encompasses every aspect of the concept of sustainability: social sustainability that continues to put people at the center of an inclusive and meritocratic path, in a stream of young energy mixed with senior expertise, and where the number of women hired in each department grows. Then there is environmental sustainability, which for MAIRE has a specific name and date, MET ZERO 2030, or rather the commitment the company has made to achieve carbon neutrality. As Di Amato tells us: «We are working to make it possible for our customers to produce the same products with different raw materials, and we are continuously working with our supply chain on making joint commitments». Closing this new virtuous circle is economic sustainability, on whose strategic importance the chairman is quite adamant: «It repre- sents the only way to grow. A strong innovative approach is required in this field, and MAIRE is ready with its technological solutions for the energy transition: one of them being synthetic fuels».

The path taken by the Group included not only a major rebranding with a new logo, but also a different organizational structure, which transcends the previous vision and reorganizes the company into two divisions. «The Sustainable Technology Solutions will expand our technology portfolio, in part because of the Group's ability to co-invest in sustainable projects. We are already present in biofuel technologies, biopolymers and biodegradable polymers, plastic recycling, CO2 capture, and hydrogen. The division will be able to work in tandem with the other unit, the Integrated E&C Solutions, which embodies our historical plant engineering capability. The goal is to play the role of global technology leader in the energy transition, focusing on sustainable technology solutions on the one hand and the historical engineering and construction capacity on the other».

Waste recycling, an example of advanced technology

One area that is already operational is waste management, which can now be used 100% of the time to produce either molecules or products, reducing overall CO2 emissions. «There is a lot of talk about waste valorization – Di Amato explains –. Our technology is at the forefront of the extraction of hydrogen and carbon from plastic and undifferentiated waste. It is often a matter of communication; the benefits of these new technologies need to be explained. The waste that cannot be recycled today is nothing more than material composed of carbon and hydrogen. The very building blocks that form hydrocarbons. With our processes, we recover and reassemble them without creating emissions. In "waste to chemical" MAIRE has launched ten initiatives in the country and we already have many partners, both financial and industrial, some in the role of suppliers of the raw material and others as buyers of the finished product».

With this in mind, MAIRE has developed an advanced technology that does not incinerate waste, but extracts from that waste a synthesis gas that can be used to reduce the carbon footprint of steel mills, make key chemicals for industry, or obtain hydrogen and ethanol which are more sustainable alternatives for mobility. And so, while the overall amount of CO2 emitted is reduced, the remaining waste (10% of inert material) can be utilized in building insulation or road asphalt. «Lazio alone – Di Amato adds – produces several hundred thousand tons of undifferentiated waste a year: with just one of our plants, we would be able to run all of Rome's public mobility. At the same time, green circular districts, which recycle plastic waste and process undifferentiated waste to derive carbon and hydrogen, can potentially be located in brownfield or abandoned industrial areas such as coal power plants. Doing the proper calculations, this type of plant could be used to recover up to 1.6 million tons of hydrogen from the 16 million tons of waste produced each year – waste which now goes to nationwide landfills – the equivalent of 20% of the hydrogen consumed in Europe today. In short, by making the supply chain work and forging partnerships with industry and finance, Italy could become a hub of self-produced hydrogen».

While we are on the topic of hydrogen and waste in the Capital, engineering studies and the permit process have begun for the waste-to-hydrogen plant, which will form the first Hydrogen Valley in Italy for the development of the national hydrogen supply chain. To be built within 2027 by NextChem, the plant will be situated in Rome on an area of about 8 acres. «Thanks to this industrial-scale technological incubator – concludes MAIRE's chairman – we will be able to convert 200 thousand tons of waste per year, producing up to 20 thousand tons per year of low-emission hydrogen. That's enough to run all the buses in service in the Capital for a year».