On 22 February 2022, His Majesty the King of Spain Felipe VI has visited the technological centre ITENE, where he has known first-hand “the good work” that the institute carries out and has recognized its “commitment to R&D&I” as “a magnificent exponent of innovation and progress of the Valencian Community”, as the monarch has highlighted in a later act.

King Felipe VI visited the institute to learn about its R&D activities and the transfer of knowledge and technology to the packaging, transport and logistics sectors, including research into developing more sustainable materials and recycling technologies to facilitate the transition to a circular economy.

The King, who was accompanied during his visit by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and by the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, was received, on behalf of ITENE, by the President, Pedro Ballester.

During the meeting, the Managing Director, Javier Zabaleta, explained the evolution and current research lines of ITENE, focusing on the development of new sustainable and advanced materials, recycling and waste recovery technologies, solutions for sustainable logistics and smart mobility, and assessment of exposure to pollutants and air quality monitoring.

After the meeting, King Felipe VI toured several laboratories and pilot plants and talked with several ITENE researchers, who explained the technological capabilities of the centre, as well as the challenges and solutions addressed in various R&D projects carried out by the institute. Among them MERLIN was presented, highlighting its aims at designing innovative solutions for all the processes required to increase the quality and rate of recycled plastic materials coming from multi-layer packaging waste.

The visit was also attended by the Government Delegate in the Valencia Region, Gloria Calero; the Minister for Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Trade and Employment, Rafael Climent; the Minister for Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, Carolina Pascual; and the Mayor of Paterna, Juan Antonio Sagredo.

Also present at the event were the President of the Network of Technology Institutes of the Valencia Region (REDIT), Fernando Saludes; the President of the Business Confederation of the Valencia Region (CEV), Salvador Navarro, and the President of the Valencia Chamber of Commerce, José Vicente Morata.

This visit is the result of an invitation extended to the Royal House for the monarch to preside over the 25th anniversary of ITENE in 2020, which finally did not take place due to the outbreak of the pandemic.