Hydrogen is considered the best renewable energy source for the future of the entire globe. Methods for obtaining energy in an alternative way are known, but most have the defect of being usable only through procedures dependent on fossil sources to which the entire globe has been accustomed since the industrial revolution. Hydrogen, on the other hand, seems to be able to overcome this criticality and be the key to an eco-sustainable future. Snam, one of the main energy infrastructure companies in the world, is certainly convinced of this too, which plans to install the first hydrogen network of 2,700 kilometers from South to North in Italy by 2030. The company said this during the presentation of the Strategic Plan 2021-2025, which provides for the investment of 23 billion euros to “make Italy a Mediterranean hub towards Europe. Snam is thus envisaging the transition from gas infrastructure companies to energy and green infrastructure companies. E ‘the’ Vision to 2030 ‘of the Group presenting the Strategic Plan 2021-2025. Investments will be concentrated in transport, storage and green projects on hydrogen and biomethane. Between 2021 and 2025, 8.1 billion investments are expected (700 million more than the Plan prior to 2024).
What exactly is it about? Snam foresees the conversion of the nearly three thousand kilometers of network, from Mazara del Vallo to Passo Gries and Tarvisio for the transport of hydrogen from Italy to areas of Northern Europe, where there is greater demand. In practice, Italy would become a fundamental crossroads for the supply of hydrogen by the Northern countries of the Old Continent, in particular Germany. This conversion will take place through repurposing of existing infrastructures and construction of new lines.
The one on hydrogen illustrated today by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, “is our strategy and we are more than well integrated into it, between the operation with Eni on gas pipelines and our plans we are now very much coveted by the Germans and the Commission EU “explained Marco Alverà, CEO of Snam. In fact, Von del Leyene would have set the goal of bringing the cost below 1.8 euros per kilo by 2030. “A challenging but feasible figure” said Alverà because it would represent less than half of what is already paid today. And since for Europe ten million tons of green hydrogen per year are estimated for a price below 1.8 euros per kilo, “producing 10 million tons a year – continues Alverà – means dropping below 2 dollars per kilo. , it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the lowering of the cost of electrolysers “whose availability will have to increase, bringing down costs.
Snam has several projects and they also relate to storage for an investment of up to five billion euros, of which 3 billion in natural gas and biomethane storage and two billion in new energy storage (including hydrogen, carbon dioxide, natural gas and biomethane. ).
Because hydrogen is the future for a decarbonised world
There is a lot of talk about hydrogen because it is seen as the best alternative to fossil coal by experts and, consequently, also by the big names on the planet, who are trying to accelerate on a more sustainable global economic system. According to several studies, hydrogen can become an essential element of the energy transition towards which Europe is heading. This is stated in a study entitled “Hydrogen Roadmap Europe: A sustainable path for the European energy transition”. The report drawn up by a number of European energy companies estimates how green hydrogen could cover up to 24% of final energy demand by 2050 and create 5.4 million jobs, as well as contributing to total reduction of 560 million tons of CO2.
Green hydrogen? Yes, because the problem is that hydrogen does not help decarbonization regardless. It depends. The one produced today in greater quantities is known as “gray hydrogen” because it depends on the exploitation of fossil fuels. There are also forms of processing that reduce dependence on coal and we speak of “blue hydrogen”. But the only one truly unrelated to any form of pollution and exploitation of the environment is green hydrogen, which can be obtained, among other things, through the electrolysis of water in special electrochemical cells powered by electricity produced from renewable sources. Above all through offshore wind power, that is wind power built at sea, where the winds are very strong and allow the turbines to generate great energy power.
Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant of the elements that make up matter. Almost 90% of the things we see around us are also composed of hydrogen which, let us remember, is also the compound of water because the formula of hydrogen is H2, while water is the known to all H2O. The problem is that it does not exist in nature by itself, but is only found combined with other elements. It is necessary to separate it to exploit all its energy potential and that process risks always depending on fossils and therefore having an economic and environmental cost, thus making the conversion to a new energy source vain and paradoxical.
The possibility of having a transport network without polluting emissions is possible. The only way looks like green hydrogen. For this reason, the scientific and technological community has long been committed to making green hydrogen easier to produce and cheaper. Progress seems to open a new industrial era and apparently it could also be within reach.