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Italy: Snam Wants to Test a 10% Hydrogen Mix in Transmission Grid at Contursi Terme

By October 11, 2019

October 11, 2019

  • Snam-McKinsey study presented: Hydrogen has potential to fulfil almost a quarter of Italy’s total energy demand in 2050 in a 95% decarbonisation scenario
  • Testing of a 10% hydrogen and natural gas mix in the transmission grid at Contursi Terme, in Campania, Southern Italy, by year-end

Rome Hydrogen’s potential as a future clean energy carrier in the fight against climate change, along with growing integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into business strategies were issues focused on at “The Hydrogen Challenge – 2019 Global ESG Conference”, taking in Rome under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the National Research Council and hosted by Snam.

The conference was attended by Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, welcomed by Snam Chairman Luca Dal Fabbro and CEO Marco Alverà.

The conference discussions centered on the role of renewable gases, and in particular hydrogen in combating climate change and air pollution were discussed. Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, does not generate climate-changing and polluting emissions in its various uses and can be transported and stored using existing infrastructures. According to the Hydrogen Council association, of which Snam is also a part, the value of the hydrogen economy is set to increase from around 100 billion dollars a year today to 2.5 trillion dollars in 2050.

Snam-McKinsey study presented

In Italy, hydrogen has great development prospects due to the significant natural potential for the production of solar and wind energy, from which it is possible to obtain “green hydrogen” through water electrolysis, and the existing capillary gas transmission network.

According to a Snam-McKinsey study, presented along with the book “Generation H” by Marco Alverà, hydrogen could fulfill almost a quarter (23%) of national energy demand by 2050 in a 95% decarbonisation scenario (necessary to meet the global warming containment target within 1.5°), more than the current combined market share of electricity generated from renewable and fossil fuels (20% in 2018). This growth could occur thanks to the decrease in the cost of producing solar and wind renewable electricity and also the simultaneous reduction in the cost of electrolysers, determined by the production of green hydrogen on a large scale. The transport (trucks, buses and trains) and residential (heating) sectors and some industrial applications (refining and high-heat processes) are those that have the highest potential to use hydrogen.

In April this year, in Contursi Terme (Salerno), Southern Italy, Snam was the first company in Europe to test a mixture of 5% hydrogen and natural gas in the transmission grid serving two industrial companies in the area. Snam’s commitment to hydrogen is part of the Snamtec project, launched as part of the strategic plan to 2022 and featuring 850 million euro of investments in energy transition and innovation.

Snam CEO Marco Alverà commented: “Hydrogen can play an important role in decarbonisation and in the fight against climate change and we need a common commitment from all stakeholders, from institutions to companies, to foster its development on a large scale. Italy should be at the forefront, thanks to its entrepreneurial and research skills, capillary gas infrastructure and geographical position. According to our studies, in a scenario of high levels of decarbonisation, hydrogen could cover almost a quarter of national energy consumption by 2050. For this reason, we are continuing our experimentation in Campania and by the end of the year, we will introduce a mix in the natural gas transmission network of 10% hydrogen. The regions of Southern Italy, from Campania to Apulia to Sicily, rich in renewable energy, are those that could champion hydrogen as a new carrier of clean energy as well as bringing new opportunities for development and employment”.

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