Phase focuses on batteries and rare earth recycling

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«We want to be the Ferrari of electric motors. And so far we have succeeded.” Marco Venturini chooses an effective comparison to describe, in one sentence, Phase Motion Control, the company of which he is general director and one of the founders. The company, which today has 200 employees and an expected turnover of between 41 and 42 million euros for 2023, specializes in power electronics and manufactures electric motors. «In reality – explains Venturini – they are machines that can be defined as engines but which have nothing to do with the classic ones. We could say that these are the muscles of robots: all automatic machines have a series of movements and these are governed partly by electronics and partly by electromechanics.”

Furthermore, the company has long focused on electric mobility and is active in the creation of engines for airplanes and ships. Now, however, he is focusing on two new sectors that he would like to develop, creating as many spin off, by 2024: the recycling of rare earths and the construction of electric batteries. Two fields in which the Chinese monopoly exists but in respect of which Venturini is convinced that the spin off of Phase can end up occupying a significant niche in the market.

But to talk about the future it is useful to have a picture of the past and present of the company which, among other things, was one of the companies that participated, as a group, in one of the tenders for the relaunch of Piaggio Aero, reaching one step away from acquiring it, with 160 million (the extraordinary commissioner had assigned it to him but then the MISE let the terms expire and the fund that financed the operation withdrew).

Venturini, a former researcher at the University of Berkeley, returned to Italy at the end of the 1980s to manage a Philips power electronics project, developed in a factory near Genoa, his hometown. «When Philips decided to sell this company, a group of people working on the project and I proposed to buy it. They told us no so we decided to do it ourselves, and Phase was born. It was 1994 and we were in a warehouse mezzanine so low that we couldn’t stand up straight. However, we had one thing clear, and that is that to start a company from scratch, without capital but with ideas, it was necessary to find customers with problems to solve that were difficult enough to be willing to pay not only for the product but also for the its development. Since that moment, the strategy has always been the same: we do innovative things to solve high tech problems, for which they also pay us for the project and then, with the technologies we develop, we create industrial products that we need and for which no one pays us the cost. project”. Over time, the company grew by changing various locations, until it arrived in the warehouses abandoned by Piaggio Aero, at the Genoa airport. «They were in disastrous conditions – recalls Venturini – and to transform them into what they are now we spent 8 million on renovations». Today, continues the entrepreneur, «the strategy is to work in all sectors of electric mobility except automotive, for which we are too small. In particular, we work on engines for electric, hybrid and vertical take-off aircraft as well as for ferries, which were the first vehicles to become electric, especially in the North, in Sweden and Norway”.

Now, however, Phase is looking at new developments. The first concerns electric batteries, a sector in which China has 95% of the world’s production capacity. «Even if it seems crazy – says Venturini – we decided to do something that, for now, no one here does. We set up a research team and funded the University of Genoa and other universities to study the batteries. And now we have several patents, a few ideas and a small turnover. So it’s time to create one spin offwhich we want to call Cyclica, and start making batteries.”

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