Milan–2020 was the turning point for European environmental policies. Also complicit in the health emergency and public attention to green issues, the EU has launched a strategy that plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 100% by 2050.
In this context, hydrogen presents itself as key solution, complementary with other technologies, for the decarbonisation of the energy system.
Hydrogen is an energy vector that does not generate CO2 emissions, moreover, if produced from renewable sources through the electrolysis process of water, it is free of both carbon and polluting emissions even in its production. It can be stored for a long time in both gaseous and liquid form and allows the use of existing transport and distribution infrastructures with sustainable adjustment costs. It can be used in different types of vehicles for the mobility of goods and people , as a raw material in industries , as a fuel in high temperature processes , it can be used in the industrial sector andresidential as a substitute for fossil fuels for the production of energy and heat, pure or mixed with natural gas, both through electrochemical processes with fuel cells and by burning it as a traditional fuel obtaining a combustion with zero CO2 emissions. With storage that does not present particular safety problems , it therefore offers a solution to decarbonise industrial processes and energy sectors where reducing carbon emissions is urgent and difficult to achieve.
But how can the smallest and most abundant element in the observable universe really be the keystone towards a sustainable energy model? H2IT – Italian Association of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells , today presented the report “ Support tools for the hydrogen sector. Priorities for the development of the hydrogen supply chain in Italy ”on the occasion of the digital event Hydrogen: the future of energy is today.
During the meeting, attended by Alberto Dossi , President of H2IT, Luigi Crema , Vice President of H2IT, Prof. Filomena Maggino , Director of the Prime Minister and President of the Benessere Italia control room, and the honorable Vanessa Cattoi ( Lega) and Andrea Vallascas (M5S), and moderated by Marcello Baricco of the University of Turin, Institutions and protagonists of the supply chain talked about the potential of the sector, outlining the priorities for a National Hydrogen Strategy. Above all, the need for a certain and simplified legislative framework and a long-term investment plan to develop infrastructures and finance research and innovation stand out.
“ Italy has the potential to strategically position itself in all the reference sectors of the hydrogen supply chain: production, logistics and transport, industry, mobility, residential. – stated Alberto Dossi, President of H2IT -We have large operators and companies that are decisive in opening the market, SMEs and innovative start-ups, research centers of international importance. With this report, made by involving 67 organizations active in the sector, we wanted to make our contribution to the development of a market that will become increasingly central in the national and European economy. To overcome the challenge of decarbonization, the time has come to elaborate a National Hydrogen Strategy that implements a broad plan of investments and reforms. H2IT, as the only voice in the Italian panorama, is ready to work together with the institutions by providing all the necessary skills to facilitate decision-making . ”
Luigi Crema, Vice President of H2IT presented the Report born from the collaboration between 48 industry players, 12 research centers and 7 between clusters and associations, the report presented today contains the essential recommendations to create the political and regulatory conditions to support the sector in Italy. A detailed study, which involved the entire supply chain and led to the elaboration of 51 action priorities and 66 policies , divided into 7 different segments: production; transport, distribution and treatment; storage; mobility; energy uses; industrial, residential and feedstock uses; supply chain and transversal issues . Starting from these, H2IT suggests to the institutions some strategic priorities to break down the barriers to the development of the hydrogen sector in Italy:
- Define the long-term strategic role of hydrogen: it is essential to trace a clear direction that indicates specific actions and defined objectives to support the sector and enable investments. In the first phase of development, public support will be needed to cover existing economic gaps through dedicated and stable long-term support.
- Develop a clear legislative and technical-regulatory framework: certain rules, simplified at bureaucratic level and harmonized at international level would allow the companies involved in the entire supply chain to operate, on a European scenario, in favorable conditions also for investments.
- Guarantee the certification of renewable and low-emission hydrogen : a certification system based on Guarantees of Origin in order to promote renewable and low-emission hydrogen, in line with European directives.
- Supporting research, innovation and training : in this development phase, the role of research centers is primary, and they must therefore be supported with simplified accessibility funding for specific demonstration or research projects. The evolution of the sector will also require professionals specialized in a wide range of technical knowledge that can be created by investing in education, from high school to university to train future specialized technicians. An unmissable opportunity for a country that wants to restart by creating new employment opportunities.
- Develop a refueling infrastructure for mobility : the construction of a network of refueling stations for hydrogen vehicles is the best solution to allow the circulation of fuel cell vehicles for both light and heavy road transport, but also dedicated to rail transport and vehicles in logistics hubs , such as ports and airports.
- Encourage strategic collaboration between Hydrogen Valleys projects : it is a priority to identify the initial nuclei for the synergistic development of multiple end uses and to develop different applications in order to favor the growth of demand, the scale-up of technologies and consequently reduce costs.
- Raise awareness and inform public opinion: the development of the supply chain must be accompanied by information campaigns and educational projects on hydrogen technologies and on the safety procedures applied.
Institutions and key players in the supply chain talked about the potential of the sector, outlining the priorities for a National Hydrogen Strategy . Above all, the need for a certain and simplified legislative framework and a long-term investment plan to develop infrastructures and finance research and innovation stand out.