The Enerver project located in the industrial area of Vercelli, involves the construction of a management system for the organic waste fraction for the production of compost and biomethane. The proponent, Polioli Bioenergy, has decided to invest in a participatory path.
Problems and Purpose
Enerver is the name of a project of "building a plant for the treatment and transformation of organic moisture into advanced biomethane and quality compost in the industrial area of Vercelli." With the words of the CEO Giacomo Bombardieri, a green idea was presented, "which grows with the territory and is part of the model for reducing waste and energy recovery. The efficiency of the plant will bring concrete repercussions on the entire industrial area and on the entire territory of Vercelli."
Over time and with the exhaustion of landfills, the waste problem becomes more and more complex. The separate collection of the organic fraction is one main objective of both the European strategy and national policies. With the separate treatment of the workforce, the aim is to reduce over 50% of municipal waste. However, the growth of this fraction is constantly growing. In Piedmont in 2017, over 409,500 tons of waste were produced between organic and green fractions (mowing, pruning); according to Ispra's 2018 projections, these numbers will increase by 7% by 2025 and according to Polioli Srl a "constant increase represents an environmental problem that cannot be solved with current technologies and systems."
Background History and Context
From the press reports on the launch of a citizenship communication and involvement campaign, it seems that the company submit to the Province of Vercelli the request to start the authorized procedure, a different approach than that of February, when the same project had been presented (and then withdrawn). This time it aims for greater transparency and dialogue with citizens.
According to the proposers, the Vercelli area, like all of Piedmont, is experiencing a long phase of deindustrialisation, so many industrial companies are closed and the sites are in a state of abandonment and degradation.  The future, on which the area has been reorienting for some time, is logistics, thanks to its poorly congested strategic position and the good quality of road infrastructures, water purification, and gas network. 
The site of the future plant is located in a vast unused lot located in the industrial area of Vercelli, still partially occupied and in any case adjacent to the plants of the ex-Polioli, a historic large chemical company. In the documentation of this current project, no information was found on the history of this company and it is not clear whether it is still partly active or what the relationship of contiguity is, in addition to the name, between the historic company from Vercelli and the new Polioli Bioenergy based in Bergamo as well as Polioli Biowaste. All that can be found about the history of Polioli, ex and new, is what emerged from the second public meeting, in which
Giacomo Bombardieri, current CEO of Polioli Bioenergy, underlined how the ownership and control body of the two companies are different, just as the activity of Polioli Bioenergy is radically different from that of the former Polioli, now Alcoplast. Enerver's initiative is part of the transformation of waste, agro-food waste and brushwood, and has nothing to do with Alcoplast's chemical activity. Infrastructure, general site management services and energy optimization will be shared with Alcoplast, but the two activities will be absolutely divided and independent.
The political tradition of the post-war period, albeit in the presence of a majority DC party, is left-wing with a dominant PCI flanked by other forces such as socialists and social democrats. Since 1993, there has been an alternation updated to 2019 with the victory of the center-right led by the current mayor, Andrea Corsaro (41.9% in the first round and 54.8 in the second). Corsaro already held two mandates from 2004 to 2014, succeeding the outgoing and re-nominated mayor Maura Forte of the center-left, who in 2014 had obtained more than 35% in the first round and 65% in the second.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Main proponent of the project and financier of the dialogue process, Polioli Bioenergy Srl is a new company's parent; born in Bergamo in 2018, it united four Italian companies operating in the chemical and energy sector: GSquared Spa, Tekne Bio Srl, Falmar Chimica Srl, Biological Care Srl. The company involved its CEO, G. Bombardieri; technical director, Federico Frascari; and a support figure connected by videoconference from Sardinia, Grammenos Mastrojeni, the assistant secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean. The financial cost of the route is not given.
Ascolto Attivo Srl is a facilitation company based in Milan, founded by Prof. Marianella Sclavi. Agnese Bertello and Stefania Lattuille of Ascolto Attivo coordinated and supervised the participatory project, as well as 3 external collaborators to moderate the work in the 3 groups that were formed in the first meeting of 16/12/19. The cost of the service is not known, nor is the selection method adopted by the client.
Provincia di Vercelli is the owner of the decision relating to the Single Authorization procedure, VIA, AIA and VAS, mandatory for the commissioning of waste disposal plants or production of energy from waste. It appears that the entity is not interested, if not indirectly, in the process.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Two public meetings were organized (December 16, 2019 and January 21, 2020) at the Cnos Fap room in Vercelli. Present as presenters and speakers at them were:
- CEO of Polioli Bioenergy, G. Bombardieri,
- Technical directors of the project, F. Frascari and A. Chiabrando,
- Deputy Secretary General of the Union of the Mediterranean, G. Mastrojeni (via teleconference),
- Ascolto Attivo Srl facilitators, A. Bertello and S. Lattuille, with 3 collaborators.
The advertising plan of the meetings is not given, nor the number of participants in the first meeting, while the second meeting declares the presence of 30 people.
The participants, at the first meeting, expressed their disappointment at the poor participation of the community. The problem has been widely debated in the election campaign and has found a lot of space in the local media; according to the participants, with the initial electoral political push having run out, the issue has gradually lost attention. The participants expressed the request to publicize these events more so that more people can participate.
The presence of administrators or public officials of the Province or other bodies does not appear from the minutes of the meetings. From the declarations of the CEO of Polioli, it appears that the project had already been presented in February 2019, then immediately withdrawn before the authorization process began. At the time, controversy arose from politicians involved in the election campaign. It was therefore decided to present it again in December 2019 with a more organized communication approach.
Methods and Tools Used
Thematic dialogue tables: These are discussion groups in which the participants ask questions, express doubts, and discuss issues of common interest. In the event, the groups were formed after a presentation by the proposers. They were divided on the basis of technical and economic data. Finally, the summaries of the discussions of each group were reported in plenary and received immediate answers from the technicians / proposers.
What Happened: Process, Interaction, and Participation
From 7/12/2019, the communication campaign began, the website was opened, and interviews with local media were given. The interviews brought out concerns about odours, traffic, accident risks due to the presence of gas, and spillover jobs. Issues arose with the first proposal attempt in February 2019, and as a result, two public meetings were organized with the advice of Ascolto Attivo Srl.
16/12/2019 - Public meeting with 3 thematic working tables
The meeting was organized in a room of the Cnos Fap of Vercelli, a building of the Salesian Works, a historic professional training institution.
At the start of the first meeting, the proposers (CEO and technical director) “presented the project, touching on all the salient aspects: strategic aspects, environmental impact, technologies adopted, possible synergies with the existing chemical plant and development of the territory." The theme was introduced in a speech by Grammenos Mastrojeni, Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, who spoke on the importance of the circular economy and the sensitivity of this phase of transition towards a new industrial model.
After the presentations, the different working groups were formed which gave way to discussion within each of the three tables. The results were shared in plenary by the Active Listening facilitators-collaborators present at the tables (Cristina Turconi, Alessandra Scala, Alessandro Matonti) and the designers present offered answers. The participants expressed in particular the need for further information on the strategic reasons for the project (considering the presence of other plants for the treatment in the area), the effects for citizens in terms of economic savings and new employment and development, and environmental aspects, in particular with regard to odour emissions. From the first group, for example, it emerged that the "participants at the table shared the same professional background, therefore there was an in-depth discussion on the technical aspects of the project, which highlighted the need to encourage innovation in this sector." A common idea was a belief in continued technological development. Even in the second group, "they all agreed very much on the fundamental importance and the opportunity to proceed with the construction of the system" thereby overcoming the initial diffidence to speak and even to sit at the table. In the third group, the discussion started from the consideration that “the territory is already heavily stressed by various industrial and anthropic activities, with beneficial or negative consequences for the population." For example, the case of Saluggia, where nuclear waste is present, was cited. The participants therefore expressed the need for an in-depth analysis of the strategic reasons of the project in consideration of the needs of the territory. 
Finally, a summary of the questions and insights to be submitted to the proposers in the following meeting was prepared, divided into 4 thematic areas: environmental; technicians; territory and development; procedural.
For example, for the environmental theme, the issue of odor emissions was the first point, expressed in the question "How were the odor emissions simulations carried out?" According to the proposers, the Environmental Impact Study (SIA), prepared by the company Simul Aria Srl, adopted the forecast model set by the Regional Council Resolution of 9 January 2017, n. 13-4554, where at the worst possible conditions, beyond 500 meters from the site, the perception of odour emissions is below 1 odour unit (practically imperceptible to most). At 1.5 km from the site in the worst possible conditions, the smell is totally imperceptible. If it was possible to provide different solutions to the chimney for the dispersion of odor emissions, the company replied that the choice of the chimney responds to the objective of reducing the perception of emissions and measuring them. In addition, the plant is located in an industrial area adjacent to a chemical plant with structures of equal height. Finally, the height of the chimney designed is the minimum achievable to obtain the benefits of the dispersion of emissions into the atmosphere . Overall, 18 questions were given concise and clear answers.
1/21/2020 - Second meeting
The meeting opened with an introduction by the facilitators, summarizing the objectives and the summary of the previous meeting, highlighting the issues where participants asked for further information. In particular, more insights were provided on the theme of the strategic reasons for the project in its relationship with the territory and the environmental impacts and technical responses.
So two short videos were screened, the first on a staff treatment plant in Malmö in Sweden and a second on the Faedo plant in Trentino, located in a valley cultivated with vines. This was followed by Frascari's interventions on the manufacturing process and Bombardieri on the strategic aspects. A discussion followed with the participants. The management scenarios talked about the projections on the production of organic waste and the advantages for the territory if with the planned plant, they were treated in the region instead of exporting them to other territories. Details followed on the operation of the plant, the digestion and biogas production process, the air and waste water purification devices, the possible synergies with the underutilized purification plant of Alcoplast (the nearby chemical plant) and on the confined and depressurized environment in which organic waste passes. 
To date (7/14/2020), there are no further updates on the route or on the procedure for the authorization process, nor communications regarding interruptions of the route due to the COVID-19 confinement.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
In the comparison process, a final report has not (yet) been drawn up. The administrations do not appear, it is not clear if the process has ended, there are no updates after 3/27. At the moment, it is not possible to ascertain whether the route had an effect on the procedure. The site dedicated to the project contains two letters to the local newspaper "La Sesia" (dated 13 and 27/3) in which two citizens defend the "proposed and by some poorly accepted" system with various arguments, but the positions are not reported criticisms.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The transparency of the project is lacking. There are no explanations on the total defection of the administrators and public officials, the presences at the first meeting are not reported, there are no reports on critical positions from the press or other sources, and the cost of the path to the client is missing as are the methods of publicizing the meetings. There seems to have been no attempt to negotiate and share the path with public administrations and other key players in the area (eg Confindustria, trade unions, environmental associations) that do not appear. More detail on these strange defections is needed.
The representativeness of the comparison cannot be considered sufficient, given the aforementioned shortcomings and the small size of the participants; however, there seems to have been a spread of the news and a certain debate in the press, although there is no adequate reporting.
 Enerver, Obiettivi del progetto. http://enerver.it/#obiettivi-del-progetto
 Enerver, Rifiuti organici. http://enerver.it/#rifiuti-organici
 Maggio, R., Tutti i segreti dell’impianto Polioli. Ora la parola passa alla Provincia, La Stampa, 7/12/2019 (Ed. Vercelli), http://enerver.it/media/rassegna/La_Stampa_Vercelli_Vercelli_7_12_2019.pdf (ril. 11/7/2020).
 Enerver. Incontro di presentazione del progetto Enerver. Approfondimenti tematici. Meeting of 16/12/19, Vercelli, http://enerver.it/media/incontro16dic/enerver_report_def_incontro_16_12_19.pdf (ril. 11/7/2020).
 Bombardieri, G. Enerver Presentation. 1/21/2020, Vercelli, http://enerver.it/media/incontro21gen/Presentation-Enerver-2_rev.pdf (rel. 11 / 7/2020).
 Enerver. Secondo incontro di confronto sul progetto Enerver. 21/1/2020, Vercelli, p. 4, http://enerver.it/media/incontro21gen/enerver_report_incontro_def.pdf (ril. 11/7/2020).
 Gardelli, M. Parla l’ad di Polioli: “Nessuna letamaia a Vercelli.” La Sesia. 13/12/2019, http://enerver.it/media/rassegna/13_12_2019%20La%20Sesia.pdf
 Enerver. Report Incontro di presentazione del progetto Enerver, 16/12/19, p. 4. http://enerver.it/media/incontro16dic/enerver_report_def_incontro_16_12_19.pdf
 Enerver. Incontro di presentazione del progetto Enerver. Approfondimenti tematici. Meeting of 16/12/19, (op. Cit. Note 2), p. 1.
 Enerver, Report of 16/12/19 (op. Cit., Note 6), p. 1-2.
 Enerver, Report of 16/12/19 (op. Cit., Note 6), P. 2.
 Enerver, Report of 16/12/19 (op. Cit., Note 6), P. 3.
 Enerver, Report of 16/12/19 (op. Cit., Note 6), P. 5.
 Enerver, Approfondimenti tematici. Meeting of 16/12/19 (op. Cit. Note 2), p. 2.
 Enerver, Approfondimenti tematici. Meeting of 16/12/19 (op. Cit. Note 2), p. 2.
 Enerver. Secondo incontro di confronto sul progetto Enerver. 21/1/2020 (op. Cit. In note 4), p. 1-2.
 Enerver. Secondo incontro di confronto sul progetto Enerver. 21/1/2020 (op. Cit. In note 4). Pp. 2: 5.
 Enerver, Approfondimenti tematici. http://enerver.it/#approfondimenti-tematici
Enerver, http://enerver.it/#un-passo-nel-futuro (rel. 11/7/2020)