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Hydrogen produced using renewables will be able to travel through existing gas pipelines, Snam CEO says


The CEO of Italian infrastructure big Snam on Friday outlined a imaginative and prescient for the way forward for hydrogen, saying the “magnificence” of it was that it might be simply saved and transported.

Chatting with CNBC’s “Squawk Field Europe,” Marco Alverà spoke about how present techniques can be used to facilitate the supply of hydrogen produced utilizing renewable sources in addition to biofuels.

“Proper now, if you happen to flip in your heater in Italy the gasoline is flowing from Russia, all the best way from Siberia, in pipelines,” he mentioned. 

“Tomorrow, we can have hydrogen produced in North Africa, within the North Sea, with photo voltaic and wind assets,” Alverà mentioned. “And that hydrogen can journey by the present pipeline.”

Alvera mentioned Snam had examined completely different percentages of mixing – together with as a lot as 100% hydrogen – in present pipes, and it had labored.

“In order that’s an vitality transition utilizing the infrastructure we’ve,” he mentioned. “And the excellent information is that this new renewable vitality will price lower than present fossil gas vitality, which is [a] actual breakthrough.”

Learn extra about clear vitality from CNBC Professional

Described by the Worldwide Power Company as a “versatile vitality provider,” hydrogen has a various vary of purposes and might be deployed in sectors reminiscent of trade and transport.

It may be produced in quite a lot of methods. One technique consists of utilizing electrolysis, with an electrical present splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electrical energy used on this course of comes from a renewable supply, reminiscent of wind or photo voltaic, then some name it inexperienced or renewable hydrogen.

Presently, the overwhelming majority of hydrogen technology relies on fossil fuels, and inexperienced hydrogen is dear to provide.

Challenges forward

In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Enel CEO Francesco Starace mentioned there was “no competitors for capital between hydrogen and renewables.”

“Hydrogen as we speak is a distinct segment, and it’s a area of interest that should grow to be business customary and into … large trade, aggressive pricing,” Starace mentioned, signaling that such a shift would most likely take 10 years.

“So it is a large effort in R&D, it is a large effort in prototypes, a giant effort in pilot vegetation, however nothing in comparison with what goes on, on the very massive and aggressive battlefield of renewables as we speak.”

Certainly, whereas there’s pleasure in regards to the potential function hydrogen may play going ahead, it nonetheless has challenges.

Earlier this week, a briefing from the World Energy Council mentioned low-carbon hydrogen wasn’t “price aggressive with different vitality provides in most purposes and places.”

It added that the state of affairs was unlikely to alter until there was “important assist to bridge the value hole.”

The evaluation — which was put collectively in collaboration with PwC and the U.S. Electrical Energy Analysis Institute — raised the query of the place funding for such assist would come from, but additionally pointed to the rising profile of the sector and the constructive impact this might have.

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