Innovation and Sustainability: Politecnico di Bari and Snam to Experiment with a Green Hydrogen Network

By June 22, 2020 4   min read  (618 words)

June 22, 2020 |

fuel cells works, Snam Launching Italy's Hydrogen Innovation Center

Dean Cupertino and CEO Alverà sign a research and development agreement. The prototype is to be created in the Politecnico di Bari and used in research for its commercial application.

Bari, San Donato Milanese (MI)— The Politecnico di Bari and Snam, one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in the world, will create together an innovative prototype for an autonomous energy network, based on the use of “green” hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources. The project will also allow for a business proposal to be drafted to assess the technical and economic conditions necessary to reproduce the system on a commercial scale. This is facilitated by a collaborative agreement in research and development activities signed by the Dean of the Politecnico, Francesco Cupertino, and by Snam’s CEO, Marco Alverà. The plant will be designed, built, and tested within the ” Smart Micro-Grid Poliba”, an innovative prototype grid already present in the laboratory of Electrical Systems for Energy in the Prince plexus of the Politecnico di Bari.

Francesco Cupertino, Dean of Politecnico di Bari, remarked: “In the last few years, The Politecnico di Bari has benefited from important projects financed by both national and European funds for to improve the laboratory equipment, and now it is the right moment to value those investments and attract research partners on an international level, such as Snam. This collaboration”, adds the Dean, “will benefit both our researchers and our students who will be able to participate in activities of great scientific importance in the energy sector which will be strategic in developing the economy in the coming years”.

Marco Alverà, CEO of Snam, commented: “This agreement with one of the most important Italian polytechnics testifies to our commitment to accelerating the technological development of hydrogen produced from renewable sources as a decisive and economically sustainable solution to the fight against climate change. The new experiment in Bari, after the one launched on the Snam network in the province of Salerno, shows that Southern Italy, thanks to its geographical position, its natural resources, and its expertise, can become a leader in the development of hydrogen, with important benefits not only in terms of decarbonisation but also in terms of development and employment”.

The collaboration between Politecnico di Bari and Snam centers around the possibility of integrating the hydrogen network into the existing prototype to assess its capacity and convenience. Professor Enrico De Tuglie, scientific manager of the Smart Microgrid project and coordinator of the new project, explains that for the Bari Polytechnic University: “From the first analysis, it is particularly interesting to see the use of this energy carrier as an element of accumulation to regulate the considerable variability in the production of energy from wind and photovoltaic sources, which allows these non-programmable renewable sources to meet a higher degree of penetration in modern electrical systems. In particular, hydrogen will be produced by an electrolyser powered mainly by renewable sources in the smart grid of Bari Polytechnic University, which will then be stored in cylinders and subsequently converted into electricity by a fuel cell in times of greatest energy need or, more generally, be transported to other sites that need it”.

This is set against a backdrop of the major processes of technological transformation and energy transition that exist at a global level.

The fight against climate change is increasingly central to the strategies of states and organizations, starting with the European Union, which has set itself the target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In this regard, the Commission has announced the next launch of a specific hydrogen strategy within the framework of the Green New Deal.

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