On 16th December, Snam doubled the volume of the hydrogen blend, which was experimentally introduced into its natural gas transmission network in Contursi Terme (Salerno), to 10%.
This came just a few months after the 5% hydrogen blend was introduced into the network for the first time in Europe, directly supplying two companies, as part of an experiment carried out by Snam last April in Contursi. The industries involved are the same as before: a pasta factory and a mineral water bottling company that both operate locally.
A 10% of hydrogen in the total gas transported annually by Snam could mean that 7 billion cubic meters of it are introduced into the network every year. This amount equates to the annual consumption of 3 million households, and would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5 million tons.
Hydrogen could play a crucial role in helping to achieve European and global decarbonisation objectives by 2050. The combustion of hydrogen does not generate CO2 emissions and “green” hydrogen produced through electrolysis using renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, will allow these non-programmable resources to benefit from the extensive gas transport and storage network, and help to overcome the challenge of intermittent green energy.
In Italy, hydrogen has excellent development prospects thanks to considerable natural potential for producing solar and wind power and the extensive gas infrastructure. According to a Snam-McKinsey study, hydrogen could meet almost a quarter (23%) of national energy demand by 2050 in a 95% decarbonisation scenario (which would be necessary to reach the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 °), more than the current combined market share of electricity generated from renewable and fossil sources (20% in 2018). This growth could be made possible through the progressive, consolidated decrease in the cost of producing renewable solar and wind electricity, and a reduction in the cost of electrolysers, caused by the large-scale production of green hydrogen. The greatest potential for hydrogen use concerns the transport sector (trucks, buses and trains), the residential sector (heating) and some industrial applications (refining, ammonia production, steel production, and other processes that require high temperatures).
Snam has recently set up a business unit dedicated to hydrogen and is engaged in research and development in the sector. On an international level, the company is part of the Hydrogen Council, an initiative launched in 2017 at the World Economic Forum in Davos to create a coalition of leading companies from various sectors, who are all committed to accelerating investment in hydrogen, and Hydrogen Europe, which brings together over 100 companies, about 70 research institutes and 13 national associations.