Italian Government Plans €14m Hydrogen Valley Near Rome

The Hydrogen Valley will incubate technologies to produce, transport and store green hydrogen for a variety of applications

ENEA, the Italian government’s agency for energy and environment research and development has conceived a plan to construct the country’s first hydrogen valley to be located on the outskirts of Rome. The project has successfully secured funding of €14 million from Mission Innovation, a global initiative comprising 24 countries and the European Commission aimed at spearheading green technology innovations.

Alstom’s ‘Coradia Stream’, a hydrogen train operating in Lombardo, Italy

Alstom’s ‘Coradia Stream’, a hydrogen train operating in Lombardo, Italy, Credit: Alstom website

The hydrogen valley will incubate technologies to develop a comprehensive hydrogen supply chain. The project will provide end-to-end technological support for production, transportation, storage and application. ENEA has stated that universities, research institutes, associations and companies dealing with sustainable energy will play an integral part in developing the valley.

The project will be housed in the ENEA Casaccia Research Centre which is spread over a hundred hectares. The valley will employ over a thousand scientists working in laboratories in almost 200 buildings. In addition to existing modes of producing hydrogen, the hydrogen valley will also experiment with contemporary technologies such as producing hydrogen from biomass waste and heat produced by solar plants.

Giorgio Graditi, Head of the ENEA Department of Energy Technologies & Renewable Sources and ENEA representative in the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, said: “[The hydrogen valley] will accelerate research and innovation and… bridge the gap between the lab and industry… the potentials embedded in an all-Italian project… could provide companies the opportunity of experimenting and validating their technologies in a dedicated environment, supported by qualified personnel and laboratories.”

A hydrogen refuelling station is in the works to power all large vehicles, buses and cars being used in the Casaccia campus. It is hoped that this will instill confidence in the transport sector about the viability of hydrogen and decarbonise one of the most carbon-intensive industries in the world.

Giulia Monteleone, head of the ENEA Laboratory for Energy Storage, Batteries and Technologies for Production and Use of Hydrogen, said: “Today’s growing interest in the use of hydrogen rests on some of its characteristics… But above all, it can be used to generate ‘clean’ power, since its combustion does not produce carbon dioxide and can be conducted through an electrochemical reaction in fuel cells, with overall efficiencies higher than thermal combustion and with no emission of nitrogen oxides.”