Progetto Fuoco closes the exhibition in Verona, Italy with great success among visitors and operators and returns to pre-Covid levels, repeating the attendance figures of the 2020 edition. This is an injection of confidence for the sector, which in Italy boasts a turnover of 4 billion euros and 14 thousand companies, thanks also to the great return of consumer interest in wood and pellet. The world's most important event dedicated to biomass heating, promoted by Piemmeti, was held from 4 to 7 May and saw the presence of more than 800 brands, with 32% of operators coming from abroad. Numbers in line with the previous edition, when 36% of operators from abroad, which included also 6% Russians and Ukrainians.
«Over the last few days we have seen great confidence from operators and exhibitors. We are very satisfied, because we are facing a result that was by no means taken for granted» declared Raul Barbieri, general manager of Piemmeti. «After two difficult years marked by the pandemic, we are back to 2020 levels and we are disproving the negative forecasts made in the run-up to the event. The biomass heating sector, as well as Progetto Fuoco, which is a worldwide reference point, are in good health. We have worked hard together with all the partners involved, whom I would like to thank, and the results are evident».
Technological innovation and environmental sustainability were the focus of Progetto Fuoco 2022. From stoves to fireplaces, boilers, barbecues and wood and pellet-fuelled cookers, young innovators and start-ups were at the forefront at the fair, alongside the large companies that have always worked together to develop the sector. The latter were hosted in the Innovation Village, a "future showroom" with the best Italian start-ups.
On the last day of the event, 7 May, the prize-giving ceremony was held for the second edition of the "Give Me Fire - Progetto Fuoco Startup Award", the challenge promoted by Progetto Fuoco, Blum and AIEL, which saw numerous innovative companies competing in pitch competitions and presenting their technological products in the biomass heating sector. The winner was the Pistoia-based startup Ager Oliva, which aims to save the 4 million abandoned olive trees in Tuscany through long-distance adoptions by private individuals and companies, so as to ensure the preservation of biodiversity, the respect for the environment, recovery of land, avoiding at the same time the hydrogeological risk. Second place went to BioLogik Systems, a start-up based at the NOI-Techpark in Bolzano that produces systems for the energy recovery of biomass waste. Third place ex-aequo for Altrefiamme, a project that aims to enhance the entire wood industry through a professional e-learning platform, a marketplace and a service area based on Blockchain and IoT sensing, and Fybra, a startup that has patented an IoT sensor that, through predictive and adaptive algorithms, improves air quality in closed spaces, exploiting natural ventilation or optimising mechanical ventilation.
The event also hosted a hackathon involving thirty students and startuppers to reinvent the world of stoves and barbecues. The students, selected by IUAV, the University Institute of Architecture of Venice, and guided by the professors of SMACT - Competence Center of the Northeast, were divided into six teams. On the basis of the briefs assigned to them by the companies, they competed in a "marathon of ideas" that lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to respond to the challenges proposed by the three leading companies in the sector: Edilkamin, La Nordica Extraflame and Palazzetti.
But Progetto Fuoco also focused on the beauty and design of the products. The companies Moretti Fire of Ripatransone (Ascoli Piceno) and Kalon of Tarquinia (Viterbo) won the two prizes of the first edition of "Prize X 2021", a design award for stoves and fireplaces organised in partnership with the blog "Fire Observer | Danilo Premoli". The prize was awarded on Wednesday 4 May on the basis of votes cast by blog readers and a jury of architects and trade press. The stoves selected for the final of the award were set up at the Fair by a number of furniture companies of Lignum, the governance body of the Furniture District of Verona, Padua and Rovigo, which in partnership with Piemmeti created a 400 square meters exhibition area at Progetto Fuoco. In this context, 14 companies from the District furnished ten furnishing spaces to set up the ten stoves selected by the Prize X team.