Thematic community focused on the role of hydrogen in the decarbonisation process of Italy and encourage a proactive dialogue among companies, supply chains and institutions.
The Hydrogen Community of The European House - Ambrosetti was created within the InnoTech Community, our area that brings together companies and institutions to discuss innovation and technology and formulate action proposals. The White Paper with the final results will be presented during a Roundtable in autumn 2023.
The Hydrogen Community's Mission
Facilitate the development and implementation of projects and reforms related to hydrogen, by creating new knowledge and developing policy proposals, formulated by independent and authoritative parties on the basis of the implementation results of projects related to hydrogen, with national and international benchmarks.
It is essential for Italy to make hydrogen a driving force for sustainability and economic competitiveness: this will lay the foundations of a global industrial leadership that is also in line with the objectives of environmental sustainability.
Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner & CEO of The European House - Ambrosetti
1st Hydrogen Community's Forum
Sicily will play a leading role in the Italian and European decarbonisation process, with the possibility of concentrating on its territory important investments in sustainable technologies and promoting competitive access to decarbonised energy for its companies. It is the starting point to start new supply chains to support the process of decarbonisation of sectors where it is more complex to reduce emissions ("Hard to Abate"), such as heavy transport and industry, and can be one of the most competitive renewable hydrogen production areas in Europe. To do so, it is necessary to accelerate the installation of new renewable sources with a limited impact on the territory, leveraging in particular on offshore floating wind, a sector in which Italy a solid leadership, with a value of 255 billion euros and 1,3 million employees, and in which Sicily is first in Italy for potential.
This is what emerges from the study "Industrial opportunities from the energy transition for Sicily, Italy and Europe" carried out by the Hydrogen Community and the Floating Offshore Wind Community of The European House - Ambrosetti to analyze the economic and industrial opportunities for the Sicilian Region in the wider scenario of decarbonisation.
"In order to seize these opportunities of industrial development, Italy must organize the supply chain, investing and strengthening harbour assets and shipbuilding above all in the regions in the South of Italy, where the logistic advantage is evident - explained Alessandro Viviani, Senior Consultant of The European House - Ambrosetti. At the same time, it is necessary to provide the supply chain with a vision of long-term development and support those plans that are already able to generate occupational and development relapses in the territories interested. To this end, it is most appropriate to promote a new course in relations between Regions and the Government in the planning and approval processes of major projects, in order to maximize the positive effects on the territories concerned".
The study was presented on November 13, 2023 in Catania, as part of the Forum to present the results of the first edition of the Hydrogen Community of The European House - Ambrosetti, in the presence of the Minister of Environment and Energy Security On. Gilberto Pichetto Fratin. The event was moderated by Alessandro Viviani.
Why is it important to talk about hydrogen?
Some thoughts in the context of energy transition
The European Union’s strategy for the energy transition is focused on hydrogen: the REPowerEU Plan plans to produce 10 million tons in the EU area by 2023. On a global scale, hydrogen will contribute 11% to achieving zero emissions, while in the Italian and European area it will have a penetration potential greater than 25% in 2025.
In Italy, the hydrogen supply chain would reduce CO2 emissions by 28% by 2050 and generate a cumulative production value of between 890 and 1,500 billion euros and between 320,000 and 540,000 new jobs.
Italy is among the top countries in Europe in the production of hydrogen convertible technologies in the thermal and mechanical sector, but has only a few initiatives for national production and is developing only 13 hydrogen-related projects, against 46 in Germany and 33 in Spain and the Netherlands.
Italy's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) allocates 3.19 billion euros for the production of hydrogen in disused sites ("Hydrogen Valley"), adoption in Hard to Abate sectors, experimentation for road and rail transport, and for research and development. However, resources are not enough to fully develop the supply chain: we need a long-term strategy.
Hydrogen Community's Proposals
To efficiently address the existing critical issues and express Italy's potential, the Community has made the following suggestions:
- Definining a national strategy that combines industrial vision with sustainability objectives, through a proactive dialogue among the main stakeholders. It may be necessary to establish a governance apparatus for the implementation, monitoring and updating of the national hydrogen strategy in agreement with the main institutions in the sector and also a group of independent advisors, on the basis of the German model, and a connecting figure, following the example of the Hydrogen Champion in the UK
- Creating a long-term and well-defined policy apparatus in order to attract investments. Regarding the Italian industrial vision, we need to proceed in two directions: reconversing oil and gas technologies towards hydrogen and increasing the competitiveness of sustainable products in the Hard to Abate sectors
- Placing Italy as a spokesperson for the principle of technological neutrality in the EU, so that we can exploit low carbon hydrogen in the short term in the process of transition to green hydrogen, and start the development of infrastructure to transform the country into a "European hub" of hydrogen imports from Africa and the Middle East.
Our journey on the topic of hydrogen
At The European House - Ambrosetti, we are studying the role of hydrogen from 2019, starting from a Study in collaboration with Snam that, before others, proposed an industrial strategy for Italy ("H2 Italy 2050 - A national hydrogen supply chain for the growth and decarbonisation of Italy"). In 2022, we realised a Study for Eni ("Proposal for a Zero Carbon technology roadmap") aimed at promoting the principle of technological neutrality, where hydrogen is one of the key technologies for decarbonisation.