Snam and the hydrogen

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Snam is strongly committed to energy transition, with investments of €1.4 billion planned for the Snamtec project (Tomorrow’s Energy Company) intended to improve energy efficiency and curb emissions, as well as innovation and new green activities such as sustainable mobility and green gases, which come under the hydrogen research and development initiatives.

From a system perspective, Snam takes part in many institutional and association round table discussions dedicated to hydrogen nationally and internationally. In particular:

  • in Italy, Snam is a member of the HS2IT association – the Italian Association of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells;
  • in Europe, Snam joined the Hydrogen Initiative, a statement signed by businesses and governments to support hydrogen and its wide potential as a sustainable technology for the decarbonisation and long-term energy security of the European Union, and it belongs to the HYREADY network, which includes important European players committed to cooperate to make the existing transportation networks compatible with the injection of increasing percentages of hydrogen;
  • globally, on 15 January 2020, Snam, together with the other 21 new members, officially joined The Hydrogen Council, an initiative launched in 2017 at the World Economic Forum in Davos to create a coalition of leading businesses in their respective sectors committed to accelerating investments in hydrogen.

Snam also collaborates with the Bruno Kessler Foundation, which carried out research into technologies intended to revolutionise the production of decarbonised hydrogen in the near future, making it an integral part of the long-term solution for a carbon neutral energy system.

To give shape to the results of the studies and research conducted nationally and internationally in the field of hydrogen, Snam has created a new business unit dedicated to hydrogen, with the goal of evaluating possible pilot projects and contributing to the development of the supply chain. Alongside this, studies will continue into the adaptation of compression and storage infrastructures and the role of hydrogen in the future energy system also with a view to collaboration between various sectors (sector coupling), such as, for example, electricity and gas.

Specifically, in April 2019, Snam trialled the introduction of a mixture of 5% hydrogen and natural gas into its transmission network, replicating the experiment in December, in the same section of the network, with 10% hydrogen. The trial, the first in Europe, took place successfully in Contursi Terme, in the Province of Salerno, and led to the supply, for around a month, of H2NG (a mixture of hydrogen and gas) to two industrial businesses in the area, a pasta making factory and a company that bottles mineral water. The initiative gained international attention, with dedicated articles by Bloomberg (which wrote it was the “first pasta” cooked with hydrogen) and in the Financial Times (which called it a historic milestone).

By applying the percentage of 10% hydrogen to the total gas transported annually by Snam, it would be possible to inject 7 billion cubic metres per year, a quantity equivalent to the annual consumption of 3 million households and this would enable a reduction of 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, corresponding to the total emissions of all cars in a region like Campania. Now, Snam is committed to checking that its assets are fully compatible with the increasing quantities of hydrogen mixed with natural gas, as well as to research into the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity.

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