An Italian Startup Transforms Water and Sun Into Green Hydrogen: “Let’s Imitate Photosynthesis”

By March 14, 2022 4   min read  (650 words)

March 14, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, An Italian Startup Transforms Water and Sun Into Green Hydrogen: “Let’s Imitate Photosynthesis”

The ideal solution to solve energy problems? Imitating nature. Purifying wastewater and producing green hydrogen also along highways, railways, public and private buildings, ports and airports, making it finally cheap and accessible.

Alessandro, Marta, Simelys, Matteo, Noemi and the rest of the team that makes up Green Independence, a Climate tech startup founded in Puglia in August 2020 and partner of the Politecnico di Torino, were inspired by trees to develop an innovative system to decentralize the production and storage of green energy.

hydrogen h2-jobs

They called it New Artificial Leaf (NAL) and it is an evolution of solar panels, conceived as a leaf and therefore able to directly store solar energy by producing green hydrogen.

“In fact, our new technology, like trees, can simultaneously produce energy from the sun, store energy that is not used immediately by turning wastewater or marine water into green hydrogen, and recycle CO2 emissions by producing synthetic fuels,” the researchers explain.

It will be one of the most surprising ideas on display during Smau – Italy RestartsUp, scheduled in Paris from 23 to 25 March with the aim of creating a bridge between the Italian innovation ecosystem, the Parisian Hub and also the French market.

With Monticelli there are Marta Pisani, co-founder, responsible for the administrative and organizational management of the project and creator of the brand, Simelys Hernández, professor at the Polytechnic of Turin with decades of experience in research projects related to hydrogen production and CO2 reduction, Matteo Morciano, a post-doc in Energy Engineering at the Polytechnic, Noemi Figliolini , Financial Planning and Analysis Executive and two advisors, Laura De Lorenzis and Andrea Mingolla.

A team with a strong Apulian matrix (Brindisi, in particular), which is gradually expanding into a multidisciplinary group.

The potential of the process capable of favoring a paradigm shift in the world of energy and transport seems to be considerable in terms of savings.

“The competitive advantage of New Artificial Leaf is the decentralized approach: a direct production from solar to H2 without the need for connection to the grid or batteries and therefore where it was previously inconceivable: on residential buildings, along railways and highways, parking lots, filling stations and other infrastructure, increasing their profitability and, above all, lowering the cost of green hydrogen.”

“So if today for a real carbon free breakthrough there is a lack of widespread infrastructure, especially in heavy transport – explains the founder of the startup – our project would allow to produce hydrogen on site for hydrogen trucks and trains, even along highways and railway junctions, also favoring the energy transition of old coal-fired power plants into green power plants without having to destroy the old infrastructures “.

The idea is precisely that of a transformation of infrastructures that guarantees zero emissions:

With our system – explains Monticelli – green energy is produced independently and where it is needed, without waste, with a reduction in the need to transport it from the producer to the user.

“We can make existing infrastructure more sustainable and energy-efficient by recycling their direct emissions and reducing their carbon footprint.”

The small-scale prototype should be ready in 12 months, while the final one will arrive within two years. Industrialization could take place as early as 2025.

And Snam, one of the world’s leading energy infrastructure companies and one of the largest Italian listed companies by capitalization, already seems to believe in the new technology, which has invested the first 60 thousand euros to verify the concreteness of the idea of the startup that has been validated at the laboratories of the Department of Applied Science and Technology of the Polytechnic of Turin.

All this while Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Venture Capital and Plug and Play, one of the most important American investors and business accelerators in the world, have – first – begun to believe in this ambitious and promising project.

Source: La Repubblica

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