San Donato Milanese / Caselle Torinese – SAGAT SpA, the Torino Airport Management Company, and the Snam Group, through its subsidiary Renovit, which specialises in energy efficiency solutions, have signed a term sheet for the construction of a “hydrogen-ready” fuel cell system in cogeneration mode with a capacity of 1.2 MW at Torino Airport.
The fuel cell, designed and developed by Snam’s Hydrogen Business Unit in partnership with the American company FuelCell Energy, is the first of its kind and size in Italy that can be fuelled with variable percentages of hydrogen blended with natural gas for the combined generation of electricity and heat. The fuel cell will be installed at Torino Airport, the first in Italy to implement such a solution, in the second quarter of 2023.
Marco Alverà, CEO of Snam, said: “Hydrogen will play a key role in the pursuit of net zero emissions in many sectors, including airport and port infrastructure. With this agreement, we are providing Torino Airport with an effective and innovative energy solution that will immediately reduce emissions and integrate increasing amounts of hydrogen to achieve carbon neutrality”.
“The implementation of this solution,” commented Andrea Andorno, CEO of Torino Airport, “is the flagship project of our Torino Green Airport sustainability programme, which was announced last July and includes all of the airport’s sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing environmental consumption and emissions, confirming our concrete commitment in this direction. In Snam we have found the right partner for the implementation of an innovative project, which immediately contributes to the creation of demand for clean energy such as hydrogen and other gaseous carriers from certified renewable sources, a fundamental step to concretely start the country’s energy transition. This project will also enable us to anticipate our goal of zero emissions by 2050”.
The fuel cell system is capable of producing up to 1.2 MWh of electricity and 840 kWh of heat per hour and can be fuelled by hydrogen mixed with up to 40% natural gas by volume. Compared to traditional cogeneration, the use of natural gas-fuelled fuel cells guarantees the substantial elimination of particulate emissions and a saving in CO 2 emissions of 1,630 tonnes per year, equivalent to 1 million car journeys on the Turin city centre-airport route. Fuelling the fuel cell with hydrogen and biomethane further reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The cogeneration solution proposed by the Snam group was selected following a procedure launched by SAGAT last April and will allow Torino Airport to self-produce electricity, heat and cooling energy to partially cover its energy needs, currently equal to 17,000 MWh for electricity and 8,714 MWh for heat energy. Implementing a hydrogen-ready fuel cell will allow the airport to adhere to the highest standards of efficiency and environmental sustainability, in line with its goal of accelerating the reduction of net emissions before 2050. Already today, 100% of the electricity supplied to Torino Airport comes from certified renewable sources, and the project will immediately enable further improvements in energy efficiency.
The value of the contract to be awarded will amount to approximately 14 million euros.
The initiative is part of Snam’s strategy to develop integrated technologies and solutions for energy transition, in particular energy efficiency and hydrogen, capable of promoting decarbonisation of the industry and of the entire economic system.
With this solution, Torino Airport confirms the centrality of its commitment to sustainability for its own development and for the development of the industry as a whole. The airport sector’s objective of reducing its emissions to zero can only be achieved through partnership strategies that enable it to share its achievements and constant innovation, with a view to growth that is never for this reason only competitive. Today, all major airport operators and air carriers are strongly committed to introducing state-of-the-art equipment and aircraft that are helping to reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption.
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