A national innovation hub for hydrogen technologies to accelerate the development of the sector and contribute to the achievement of national and European climate objectives. the latest bet by Snam, a leading company in energy infrastructures in Europe which has long been committed to the energy transition.
The first headquarters of the Hydrogen Innovation Center will be inaugurated in Modena, as part of a collaboration agreement between Snam and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Other hubs will then be added to the Emilian one: one with the Politecnico di Milano and one overseas, in collaboration with a prestigious university in the United States, which will be built by the end of 2021.
The project of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
The Modena hub, in which four researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia will work in the initial phase with the support of Snam personnel, will focus on three study areas: the automation of the production chains of electrolysers and fuel cells, a prototype of hydrogen refueling station built in the university with Italian technology and new applications to support self-driving vehicles as well as IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (artificial intelligence) solutions for the mobility of the future. The research center will open its doors to start-ups and technology providers who will be able to develop their solutions and find potential applications.
A bridge between research and companies
The mission of the Hydrogen Innovation Center is to build a strategic alliance between companies and the world of research to consolidate the Italian hydrogen supply chain and encourage the birth of new companies and projects, also through the launch of an acceleration program – explains Cosma Panzacchi , Evp Hydrogen di Snam – -The objective is to propose the first projects to the market and extend the partnership network also abroad within the next two years.
In the Snam innovation center, existing collaborations will be continued, such as the one started with Enea in relation to the Hydrogen Valley in Casaccia (Rome), and those that will arise in the future. Research and experimentation activities will range from production technologies to transport and storage infrastructures to end uses, in particular applications in the steel and heavy transport sectors such as fuel cell trucks, ships and trains.
Hydrogen and the Italian bet
Hydrogen represents a great opportunity for Italy and in particular for the South. With the resources of the Recovery Plan, our country could become a new European energy hub, thanks to its particularly favorable climatic and environmental characteristics, explained the CEO of Snam, Marco Alver, during an event organized by the financial agency Bloomberg.
Historically, little has been invested in infrastructures in the South but not in renewables and with the transition from traditional energy sources, for example to solar and hydrogen, the South of Italy has a competitive advantage because it can produce at lower prices and also can become a hub for supplies from Africa, Alver said, stressing that this can lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, not only in Italy but also in North Africa.