Progetto Cheers: a name inspired by the most international of toasts for a decidedly avant-garde initiative.
Launched in 2019, Cheers re-uses wine-making waste as a component in the manufacture of photovoltaic cells. The project continues to grow, proof that innovation comes about when excellent vision, research and cooperation get together.
What is progetto Cheers
It all started with Venice Cà Foscari University, financed by the European Social Fund. Objective: to explore a new frontier in the production of clean energy by using wine-making waste in the manufacture of cells by Gräetzel.
This is a special type of photovoltaic cell featuring organic colouring: an innovation inspired by nature, in particular the chlorophyl photosynthesis mechanism.
However, this time it isn’t the chlorophyll that captures sunlight to convert into energy: the activator is a colorant extracted from the lees, a by-product of the wine-making process. Serena Wines 1881 cooperated with the Venice institute and the Universities of Udine and Malaga, providing the material needed to produce the organic colorant for the photovoltaic cells.
This is our commitment to sustainability, but also a choice that looks to the future. Progetto Cheers continues, with the aim of valorising what has been achieved so far and extending application of this new technology.
Let’s talk about results, then: starting with research. The first stage of the project studied how to regenerate production waste (lees) to make the colorant that supplies the photovoltaic cells. The sediment that remains on the bottom of the wine-making tanks is rich in natural pigments ready to be re-used for generating clean energy.
The research stage was followed by the filing of a patent to protect the results achieved. Our company dealt with this aspect: a strategic action for the valorisation of what was developed during the project.
Luca Serena, General Manager of Serena Wines 1881, underlines its importance: “For us it’s important to promote an approach to the production cycle and organic waste management that pursues a Green Economy”.
Progetto Cheers was not put on hold even during the pandemic lockdown, and we managed to build a real prototype: the first version of new photovoltaic cells.
And that’s not all: right now the promotors of the initiative are studying how to valorise and spread the results further, with new ambitious objectives.
Innovation for the future
The new technology has many applications: the building sector, the chemical industry and industry in general. For example, the Gräetzel cells produced as part of the project have been integrated into a glass, custom-built structure that can be used for the facades of buildings.
That’s why the promoters of Cheers are assessing the best strategy for the industrial development of the patent, encouraged by the first pilot experience gained in cooperation with our winery.
To achieve such an objective takes vision, courage and commitment: together with an ability to bet on the future by imagining something that doesn’t exist yet. This is the strength of Progetto Cheers, which innovates, activates cooperation, and drives the energy and resources of a territory. Looking one step ahead, beyond tomorrow.
This is a result to be feted: and what’s better than a toast to do it properly? Maybe with vivacious, scented Prosecco Treviso Doc Brut Nature: ideal as an aperitif, but also for celebrating with friends who work together.
So, raise your glasses: cheers!