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Innovative Mercury Removal System for A2A’s Waste-to-Energy Plant

  • Award: Collaboration with A2A
  • Challenge type: Electronic Request for Partners (eRFP)
  • Challenge closed

Challenge overview


Waste-to-energy (WTE) plants convert unsorted urban waste into energy through a process of incineration in a boiler. The combustion of waste generates a flue gas containing different concentrations of pollutants, such as acid gases, mercury, metals, and volatile organic compounds. The concentration of pollutants measured at the boiler outlet can vary depending on the waste composition. Such waste heterogeneity can cause several problems for mercury removal at high temperatures because activated carbons cannot absorb effectively this extremely volatile element. A2A Ambiente is therefore looking for a collaboration partner to develop a system to optimize the performance of a dry system flue gas de-acidification specifically for mercury removal.

This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge; the Solver will only need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by the Seeker with the goal of establishing a collaborative partnership.



In WTE plants, unsorted urban waste is turned into energy through a process of incineration in a boiler. The process of incineration generates a flue gas containing several pollutants at the same time (e.g. acid gases, mercury, metals, volatile organic compounds). Nowadays, important improvements are being introduced in the monitoring of air emissions, with particular attention to the continuous measurements of mercury and the long- term sampling of polychlorinated dioxins and furans.

A2A Ambiente is looking for a collaboration partner to develop a system to optimize the performance of a dry system flue gas de-acidification in terms of mercury removal for one of its plants in Italy. The system should be indeed compatible with the specific temperatures and emissions at the chimney made available in Annex A within the Detailed Description of the Challenge.

This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge. The Solver will write a preliminary proposal (about 2-4 pages, including supporting non-confidential information and contact details) to be evaluated by the Seeker with a goal of establishing a collaborative partnership. Upon completion of the evaluation, the Seeker may contact selected Solvers directly to work out terms for a collaboration contract. The monetary value of the contract will vary depending on the amount of work to be delivered and the agreed upon time frame.

NOTE: Proposals from Solvers who have the ability to work directly as the collaboration partner will be considered first. The Seeker will also consider proposals from other Solvers who refer a suitable candidate as a partner for a “finder’s fee” of $2,000 USD if the Seeker agrees that the candidate is worth contacting. See full description for details.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 30, 2022. 

Late submissions will not be considered.



Employees of A2A Group and their families are not eligible to receive awards for this Challenge.



The A2A Group is the largest Italian multi utility, at the forefront of territorial services and technological solutions. We design smart and sustainable cities, with respect for the citizens, we are protagonists of energy transition, and we implement the principle of the circular economy in all of our activities. With a far-reaching strategic plan, we manage the generation, sale and distribution of electricity and gas, district heating, waste collection and recovery, e-mobility, public lighting, and the integrated water services.

A2A Ambiente, part of the A2A Group, designs, builds, and manages the collection systems and plants for the sorting, treatment and transformation of waste into material or energy according to circular economy principles. The company operates a vast range of plants that stand out for their reliability and innovation, safety and high environmental performance, and offers integrated and cutting-edge solutions in all sectors of environmental services to both administrations and businesses. A2A Ambiente develops research activities aimed at identifying new technologies and collaborations with industrial partners.


What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an eRFP Challenge?

An InnoCentive eRFP Challenge allows Seekers to submit Requests for Proposals for a partner or supplier to provide materials or expertise to solve a business challenge by leveraging the InnoCentive Solver network. This global community includes organizations and individuals, such as contract research organizations, scientists, university researchers, and technology companies.

After a Solver submits an eRFP response, the Seeker evaluates the responses to determine which Solver(s) to contact for further business discussions. With eRFPs, the Solver must not provide any confidential information in the eRFP response. If your eRFP response is selected, you negotiate the terms of the contract (including scope of work, tasks and duration) directly with the Seeker.

This Challenge type does not require Intellectual Property (IP) transfer. However, sometimes Seekers request that certain IP arrangements be made should a partnership be formed.