Investments for the energy transition
With a view to putting its infrastructure at the service of the energy transition, in 2020, Snam continued and launched several studies aimed at adapting the network to the transport of mixtures of natural gas and hydrogen (H2). In particular, the Group has:
- started testing, in cooperation with suppliers, on gas turbines for compression plants to validate the feeding of natural gas and hydrogen mixtures with variable 10% hydrogen;
- issued internal regulations to make the hydrogen infrastructure 100% ready by building new pipelines and adapting existing ones;
- participated in research groups, specifically with the European Gas Research Group (GERG) and in collaboration with other European natural gas transporters, to detect and measure natural gas emissions from the gas transmission system, assessing the state of the art and selecting the most promising instruments accordingly, leading to the definition of a test programme for on-site measurements;
- participated in Joint Industry Projects to study the effects of the presence of hydrogen on gas measurement systems, including by carrying out specific tests;
- continued the Power 2 Gas initiative, a process through which electricity produced from renewable sources in excess of instantaneous consumption is transformed into hydrogen to be fed directly into the grid or used for the production of synthetic methane (SINGAS). In this area, a feasibility study was completed and basic engineering was started for a P2H pilot plant;
- continued the Absorbed Natural Gas (ANG) initiative to store natural gas in tanks containing a porous sorbent, allowing larger quantities of natural gas to be stored than in an empty tank of equal volume.
- participated in the European Pipeline Research Group (EPRG), a research association on pipeline issues to which the main gas transmission and pipe manufacturing companies in Europe belong. EPRG manages projects, subdivided into Design, Material and Corrosion, aimed at constantly increasing knowledge for the integrity management of pipelines throughout their life cycle (pipe production, line construction and pipeline operation). In 2020, the EPRG launched a series of projects to study the behaviour of steel, used in existing pipelines, with respect to the introduction of hydrogen in the mixture.