Snam and hydrogen
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Snam and hydrogen

 

Snam, Europe's leading utility company for natural gas, is heavily involved in the energy transition, and has committed € 850 million of investment to the Snamtec project (tec - tomorrow's energy company), which is aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing emissions, promoting innovation and new “green” activities such as sustainable mobility and renewable gases. This also includes research and development initiatives for hydrogen, which represents the keystone in the fight against climate change.

The experimentation at Contursi Terme

In April 2019, Snam was the first company in Europe to introduce a mix of 5% hydrogen and natural gas in its transmission network. The trial, which successfully took place in Contursi Terme, in the province of Salerno, involved supplying H2NG (hydrogen-natural gas mixture) for a month to two industrial companies in the area, a pasta factory and a mineral waters bottling company. The project has generated international interest, with articles from Bloomberg (who wrote about the "first pasta" cooked with hydrogen) and the Financial Times (which called it "historic").

By applying the percentage of 5% of hydrogen to the total gas transported annually by Snam, 3.5 billion cubic meters could be added to the network each year, a quantity equivalent to the annual consumption of 1.5 million households which would allow carbon dioxide emissions to be reduced by 2.5 million tons, corresponding to the total emissions of all cars in a city the size of Rome or half of the cars of a region like Campania.

At present, Snam is committed to verifying the full compatibility of its infrastructure with increasing amounts of hydrogen mixed with natural gas, as well as studying hydrogen production from renewable electricity. By the end of the year the experiment will be repeated again on the same part of the network, bringing the amount of hydrogen in the mix supplied to the two companies involved to 10%.

 

Research and development

 

From a systemic point of view, Snam also participates in numerous institutional and associative work tables dedicated to hydrogen at a national and international level. In Italy, Snam is a member of the H2IT - Italian Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Association, while at European level it has joined the Hydrogen Initiative, a declaration signed by companies and governments to support hydrogen and its broad potential as a sustainable technology for decarbonisation and long-term energy security of the European Union.

Snam is also part of the HYREADY network, which involves major European players committed to cooperating to make existing gas transport networks compatible with the injection of increasing percentages of hydrogen. Internationally, 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 in their respective sectors, committed to accelerating hydrogen investments.

According to a study conducted by Navigant and commissioned by the European consortium Gas for Climate, of which Snam is also a member, our continent has the potential to produce 270 billion cubic meters of hydrogen and biomethane by 2050, which would lead to a full decarbonisation with economic savings of € 217 billion a year compared to an energy scenario that does not include the use of gas.

As part of the research, Snam also collaborates with the Bruno Kessler Foundation, which has developed a study on technologies designed to revolutionize decarbonised hydrogen production in the near future, making it an integral part of the long-term solution for a carbon neutral energy system.

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updated
08 October 2019 - 16:24 CEST