Description and objectives

The research activities of the CREA group of the Department of Innovation Engineering embrace numerous research fields related to the applications of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, combustion and energy from renewable sources.

Main objectives of the Section are:

  • Development of combustion systems with low environmental impact and high efficiency;
  • Development of forecasting methods for applications in the renewable energy sector;
  • Development of plants with geothermal heat pumps (HAGHE);
  • Development of thermodynamic and thermal solar components and systems based on the use of nanofluids;
  • Development of components and plants in the biomass sector;
  • Development of hydrothermal carbonization processes;
  • Development of nanorectenes for the direct conversion of solar radiation into electricity;
  • Development of components in the field of large ship engines;
  • Development of innovative heat transfer fluids;
  • Characterization (performance, consumption, polluting emissions) of internal combustion engines fueled by traditional fuels, biofuels, gaseous fuels and in dual-fuel mode;
  • Characterization of the engine performance in terms of torque and power of internal combustion engines;
  • 0D-1D simulation of the engine system (performance, supercharging architectures);
  • 3D simulation of processes (combustion, washing, fluxing) in internal combustion engines with particular reference to diesel and dual fuel engines;
  • Optimization of geometric parameters and engine control;
  • Characterization of various automotive components, such as high-pressure pumps, injectors (diesel and petrol) with the creation of control cards;
  • Development of models for the numerical simulation of direct injection and dual fuel engines;
  • Models for the spray dynamic;
  • Models for self-ignition, combustion and formation of polluting emissions for Diesel engines;
  • Modeling of dual fuel combustion;
  • Modeling of ignition phenomena and formation of pollutants in HCCI engines;
  • Development and testing of multiple-goal genetic algorithms;
  • Application of optimization models and algorithms to energy systems and machine components;
  • Automatic method for the optimization of the combustion chamber in Diesel, HCCI and DUAL FUEL engines;
  • Design, simulation and control of hybrid vehicles with internal combustion engines or fuel cells;
  • Simulation of Adblue spray in SCR after-treatment systems;
  • Minimization of the environmental impact of plug-in cars;
  • Forecast of the future driving cycle;
  • Environmental impact analysis with WTW (Well-to-wheel) and LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) approach;
  • Advanced systems for aeronautical propulsion.

Areas of interest

  • Road traction;
  • Aeronautical and naval propulsion;
  • Energy accumulation;
  • Efficient use of energy;
  • Energy and economic sustainability of energy production plants;
  • Use of alternative and renewable energy sources;
  • Environmental impact of machinery and energy systems.

Composition of the Section

Prof. Antonio Ficarella
e-mail: antonio.ficarella@unisalento.it
t. +39.3393719379
Università del Salento, Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Innovazione, Via per Monteroni, Lecce


  • prof. Maria Grazia De Giorgi – mariagrazia.degiorgi@unisalento.it
  • prof. Teresa Donateo – teresa.donateo@unisalento.it
  • prof. Paolo Carlucci – paolo.carlucci@unisalento.it
  • prof. Arturo de Risi – arturo.derisi@unisalento.it
  • prof. Gianpiero Colangelo – gianpiero.colangelo@unisalento.it
  • prof. Giuseppe Starace – giuseppe.starace@unisalento.it
  • prof. Marco Milanese – marco.milanese@unisalento.it
  • eng. Elisa Pescini – elisa.pescini@unisalento.it

International scientific collaborations:

  • Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (VKI), Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium
  • Ohio State University, Center for automotive research (CAR)
  • B.V.B. College of Engineering and Technology, Hubli, 580 031, Karnataka, India
  • Center for Research in Sustainable Aviation, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, 4925 Dufferin St., Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T6, Canada
  • Mississipi State University (USA)
  • Tarbiat Modares University (IR)
  • Biofuel Research Team (IR)


  • Research projects:
    • 2011-2014: Buildings Energy Advanced Management System – BEAMS (funded by VII FP – Collaborative projects– European Commission);
    • 2013-2017: MEA – Gestione ibrida dell’energia per applicazioni aeronautiche (Hybrid energy management for aeronautical applications) (funded by Avviso n. 713/Ric. del 29/10/2010 Titolo III – “Creazione di nuovi Distretti e/o Aggregazioni Pubblico Private”);
    • 2013-2016: Greening the Propulsion – Sviluppo di uno strumento di simulazione e valutazione tecnologica per un sistema propulsivo aeronautico ibrido (Development of a simulation and technological evaluation tool for a hybrid aeronautical propulsion system) (funded by PON2007/13);
    • P.R.I.M.E. – Progetto di un sistema di ricarica intelligente per la mobilità elettrica (Design of an intelligent charging system for electric mobility) (funded by Italian Ministry of Environment);
    • SEB – Ricerca e sviluppo di sistemi per la produzione efficiente, la gestione e l’accumulo di energia elettrica e termica, integrati e interconnessi in un virtual power plant (Research and development of systems for the efficient production, management and accumulation of electrical and thermal energy, integrated and interconnected in a virtual power plant) (funded by PON2007/13);
    • DICET-INMOTO – Definizione e realizzazione di modelli, processi e strumenti innovativi per lo sviluppo sostenibile di un territorio intelligente attraverso la valorizzazione dei suoi beni culturali e risorse ambientali e la promozione e commercializzazione della loro offerta turistica (Definition and implementation of innovative models, processes and tools for the sustainable development of an intelligent territory through the enhancement of its cultural assets and environmental resources and the promotion and marketing of its touristic offer) (funded by PON2007/13);
    • 2013-2016: APULIA SPACE (funded by PON03PE-0M67-6 Asse I – Reti per il rafforzamento del potenziale scientifico-tecnologico delle Regioni della Convergenza);
    • 2008-2015: SOLAR – Progetto di un laboratorio pubblico/privato per lo sviluppo di tecnologie innovative nel campo della generazione diffusa di potenza elettrica da fonte solare (Design of a public / private laboratory for the development of innovative technologies in the field of widespread generation of electrical power from solar sources) (funded by PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007-2013);
    • 2012-2015: SMART ENERGY BOXES – Ricerca e sviluppo di sistemi per la produzione efficiente, la gestione e l’accumulo di energia elettrica e termica, integrati e interconnessi in un virtual power plant (Research and development of systems for the efficient production, management and accumulation of electrical and thermal energy, integrated and interconnected in a virtual power plant) (funded by PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007-2013);
    • 2011-2015: MALET – Sviluppo di tecnologie per la propulsione ad alta quota e lunga autonomia di velivoli non abitati (Development of technologies for high altitude and long range propulsion of uninhabited aircrafts) (funded by PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007-2013);
    • ENERWOOD: Renewable energy and management of the forest heritage (funded by INTERREG IIIA Transfrontaliero Adriatico – Asse 1– Misura 1.1);
    • 2012-2015: INNOVASOL – Development of innovative technologies in the field of concentrating solar energy;
    • 2012-2015: OLIGAS – Innovative model of short supply chain for the use of olive oil by-products for the micro-generation of electricity from bioga;
    • 2016-ongoing: CREA – Development of a New Hydrothermal Carbonization REActor with Renewable Energy Supply for Biomass Treatment;
    • 2012-2015: EFFEDIL – Innovative solutions for energy efficiency in buildings;
    • 2012-2015: ECOP4 – Promotion of ECO-sustainable processes for the enhancement of the Apulian agricultural production;
    • 2012-2015: PROINNOBIT – Development of innovative food products through biotechnological, plant and technological solutions;
    • 2009-2010: RECTENNA – Nano-Rectenna for direct conversion to high efficiency of sunlight in electricity;
    • 2015-ongoing: HERCULES – Fluel flexible, near-zero emissions, adaptive performance marine engine.
  • Training and education;
  • Provision of technical – scientific services;
  • Development and technological demonstration;
  • Organization of scientific and technological events.