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Enel Green Power and Prati Armati®: the grass is always greener on the sustainable side

Enel Green Power and Prati Armati®: the grass is always greener on the sustainable side

By using a strong, deep-rooted grass seed, Prati Armati’s technology is poised to fight soil erosion and pollution. These plants are maintenance-free, durable, easy to set up, and encourage geological restoration and biodiversity.


Have you ever paid attention to grass? Did you know that it has surprising features that can help stop erosion, pollution and manage hydrogeological instability?

Claudio Zarotti discovered this twenty-five years ago when he stumbled across specific grass types with unusual characteristics and a strong deep root system that could withstand severe natural disasters. After years of research, projects and field tests, he turned this ground-breaking discovery into a successful business: Prati Armati®. The company uses strong, thin-rooted, location-sensitive grass seeds to cope with erosion on hillsides, road and railway embankments, and river and stream banks. These seeds can also recover and restore damaged sites.

The Italian startup set out to spread this green revolution, starting in Italy. In fact, Enel implemented this technology in 2018 at a wind power facility in Maida (Calabria) to combat soil erosion, at Isorelle (Piedmont) to solve long-standing plumbing issues, and at a hydropower plant in Narzole (Piedmont) to boost vegetation growth in a steep area.

While there is great potential for growth, new applications of this technology are still in their planning stages. Additional research is needed to implement it in various infrastructures around the world to replace polluting and high-energy consumption materials. The collaboration with Enel across a variety of sites allows Prati Armati® to facilitate testing in different soil types, pedoclimates and exposure levels. Our shared commitment to the environment will help us proactively identify possible problems in the roll-out phase.


Seeding a sustainable future

You might have heard that by leveraging existing natural resources, we can activate the planet’s inherent restorative capacity. Prati Armati® is doing just that.

Grass seeds are naturally available worldwide and with their strong, solid, adaptable roots, they can stop erosion with no need for topsoil or harmful plastic components.

Another benefit worth mentioning when talking about nature’s ability to recover is that these herbaceous plants are maintenance-free, durable, and quick and easy to grow in extremely arid soil types. Their 4- to 5-meter-deep roots give them access to key nutrients for plant reproduction and survival.
These plants also serve to beautify the landscape. The resulting turf is strong and perfectly compatible with its surroundings, both biologically and aesthetically.

“The major strength of this technology is that it can be tailored to the target site while maintaining its main purpose. We are working with Enel on bespoke solutions for each new project we take on,” points out Marcello Zarotti, who has joined his father Claudio in working to make this technology available internationally.

When Enel applied the technology at the Narzole hydropower plant, species were chosen carefully to fit the environment. The surrounding area has always been populated by forests and truffle plantations, so it was vital to respect the native vegetation. The level of success accomplished in this project led to the testing of bioenergy applications for other areas.


The roots of a long-lasting collaboration

The relationship between Enel and Prati Armati® goes way back to when Claudio Zarotti graduated from the Polytechnic University of Milan with a thesis project on one of Enel’s most renowned research centers, which was also the birthplace of the first ever Italian-built nuclear reactor, CIRENE.

Enel Green Power increased the Italian startup’s global reach and its appeal to regions where geotechnical and environmental technologies are in high demand. “Enel Green Power has fostered the growth of Prati Armati® by endorsing the achievements secured by our technology. They allowed us to connect with other international players and currently we are working with many private and public Italian companies,” explains Zarotti.

It is also worth highlighting that Enel’s focus on sustainability and Prati Armati®’s ground-breaking ideas have made the collaboration a perfect fit. “Enel has always valued environmental and ecological issues and striven towards increasing sustainable and renewable energy generation,” says Marcello Zarotti.  “The research and development accomplished alongside Enel would earn a place at the Italian technical and environmental cutting-edge providing increasingly sustainable and energy-saving solutions,” adds Zarotti.

Furthermore, at Enel we are proud to partner with companies that encourage the new United Nation regulations and SDGs with as much enthusiasm as we do: Prati Armati® has done so by storing up to 400% more atmosphere carbon dioxide than conventional grass types.

Next time you look at grass, consider what you are doing to save nature and whether what you are witnessing is actually nature at work saving itself.