Enel joins zero-carbon H2 project with Italian oil and gas supermajor Eni

Italian power generator Enel and countryman oil and gas firm Eni are working together to develop green hydrogen projects to power refineries in the near future.

The two partners plan to produce the hydrogen through electrolyzers powered by zero-carbon renewable energy. The electrolyzers will be located near two of the Eni refineries where green hydrogen appears to be the best decarbonization option.

Each of the two pilot projects will feature an electrolyzer of around 10 MW and are expected to start generating green hydrogen by 2022-2023.

“The overall system we have in mind will be working as a closed loop whereby the electrolyzer fed by renewable energy and the refinery will be at the same location, therefore avoiding the construction of complex transport infrastructure to move hydrogen around,” Francesco Starace, Enel Group CEO and General Manager, said in a statement. “We are looking forward to seeing green hydrogen supplying Eni’s refinery and biorefinery processes, and are working to have the first operating system in place before the end of our current three-year plan.”

In the green hydrogen segment, the Enel Group is developing projects in Spain, Chile and the United States. Should the expected economic improvements of the green hydrogen industry be confirmed, the Group plans to grow its green hydrogen capacity to over 2 GW by 2030.

Eni is also studying other projects in Italy and in the UK. The Italian oil and gas firm is one of the world’s largest and has operations in more than 60 countries.

Incorporating zero-carbon hydrogen into the power generation mix is the goal of numerous manufacturers and utilities around the world. Last month, turbine builder Mitsubishi Power announced a collaboration with the Green Hydrogen Coalition focused on H2 development in the western U.S.

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Other companies moving forward hydrogen utilization in the generation mix include Siemens, GE, Ansaldo and MAN, among others. A recent report by research firm Frost & Sullivan predicted that global hydrogen production could rise nearly three-fold to 168 million metric tonnes in the next decade and total $420 billion in revenue production.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering, POWERGEN International and the online POWERGEN+ series. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and rod.walton@clarionevents.com).

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