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Italy looks to boost H2 industry by kickstarting 52 “hydrogen valleys”

As the private sector pours investments in decarbonising the economy with hydrogen, the government is working to provide the framework and finance the infrastructure to turn Italy into an H2 hub both in terms of production and transport

Hydrogen’s on the rise… On Tuesday, institutional and private stakeholders took part in the Italian Hydrogen Summit to take stock of the budding industry’s health. Numbers show it’s glowing: according to the H2IT Observatory, 65% of the companies involved increased their investments in hydrogen by 2022, with 70% of funds coming from their internal resources.

  • In other words, the private sector is driving growth – no small feat for a country that’s traditionally more public-reliant than its competitors – and demonstrates the potential investors see in H2.
  • “The supply chain is ready to play its part,” H2IT President Alberto Dossi told Il Sole 24 Ore, highlighting it’s now up to the government to provide a clear path for the industry going forward.

… and Rome is in. The Italian government has allocated over €3.6 billion (bankrolled by the European Union) to bolster Italy’s hydrogen supply chain. As Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso remarked during the event, a good chunk of that money will flow towards funding the development of local green hydrogen production districts in disused industrial areas.

  • That’s the “crucial junction” for matching supply and demand, said Claudio Barbaro, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security
  • … which, as Il Sole 24 Ore reports, has selected 54 projects for as many “hydrogen valleys” across the country for a total investment of over €724 million.

A matter of scale. These projects entail installing electrolysers – which isolate hydrogen from water – for a total of 125 megawatts. These production centres will be powered with renewable energy drawn from the grid or supplied by subservient plants (or a mix of both options).

  • All in all, the projects have the capacity to produce roughly 7,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year.
  • Contextually, explained Minister Urso, the government vows “to create a certain and stable regulatory and normative reference framework, capable of encouraging investment in the sector,” addressing one of the companies’ main concerns.

Italy, the European hydrogen hub. Rome’s push to decarbonise the economy by leveraging H2 is part of a wider EU drive to do the same – which allows for extra funding and, quite possibly, the exemption of such green investment from the EU’s stringent State aid limits. That’s already happening for projects of common European interest, such as the SoutH2 Corridor, a planned strategic infrastructure running from Northern Africa and across Italy to transport the molecule into Central Europe – through Austria and Germany.

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