Engineering: leader della Digital Transformation

Engineering Innovation in

Smart Energy & Utilities

we defend energy

Through a research project we develop a framework that ensures safe and resilient management of Critical Energy Infrastructures, which mitigates computer and physical threats.

Approach & Solution



The protection of Critical Energy Infrastructures (CEI), such as nuclear power plants or networks is playing an increasingly important role in our daily life. However, current theoretical approaches to countering threats are not sufficient, as they are based on incomplete models.

To meet these challenges, DEFENDER proposes the following objectives:
  • Transforming Critical Energy Infrastructures in Cyber-Physical Systems to manage the effects of potential cyber and physical threats.
  • Managing infrastructure security through a specific life cycle analysis model.
  • Training staff to identify threats and act in case of emergencies.

Engineering is the coordinator of the project, it guides its administrative and technical management, contributes to data monitoring and will host the DEFENDER platform.


  • Combine security devices and technologies (e.g. fixed sensors, drones, advanced video surveillance, etc.) to identify cyber and physical threats, mitigate incidents and respond to emergencies
  • Provide a "Human-In-The-Loop" approach, leveraging Blockchain to track and safely register every operation and interaction between workers and infrastructures. In this way it will ensure high reliability and complete information.

DEFENDER will be tested in a laboratory of the AACHEN University in Germany, and in 4 real-life situations (in Belgium, Italy and Slovenia) covering the entire energy value chain: a nuclear power plant (partner: ENGIE), a decentralized plant (partner: BFP), a TSO HV network (partner: ELES), a DSO network (partner: ASM) and a producer / consumer.

The project has received co-funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme - Contract No. 740898


Effective detection of physical and cyber threats

Incident mitigation and rapid response to emergencies

Solid tracking of operations through blockchain

Project value


Enabling Technologies


Project Team

Research & Innovation