Zero Carbon Community

A project focused on the decarbonisation process, to discuss and exchange best practices among companies.

In 2023, The European House - Ambrosetti launched the Zero Carbon Community, a multi-stakeholder platform that brings together companies interested in the realization of projects related to the decarbonisation process. 

During the first edition, the activities focused on the role of hydrogen in the decarbonisation process and on key actions to facilitate the implementation of concrete initiatives and the deployment of the dedicated supply chain (Hydrogen Community).

In 2024, the Community will cover additional application contexts and different technological solutions that can contribute to the decarbonisation process, based on the principle of technological neutrality, where the available solutions are exploited synergistically in the different application areas and in the different time scales. 

The Community will share the results achieved with a White Paper, which will be presented during a Round Table in December 2024.

The Community's Mission 

Facilitating a dialogue and knowledge exchange among the players of decarbonisation to boost the development and implementation of wide-ranging projects in the fields of application, in the sectors and/or in the territories where the Partners are operating; involving central and local public stakeholders, companies that develop related technologies, and stakeholders interested in investing in ambitious decarbonisation projects.

The promotion of the principle of technological neutrality, and the implementation of concrete projects of decarbonisation, not only aims to achieve the objectives of carbon neutrality, but also to generate development and growth opportunities for Italy, as well as for the territories and our Partners' key industrial sectors.

Second edition of the Zero Carbon Community

Zero Carbon Community: the state of the art of hydrogen in Italy

Povo (TN), 26 March 2024

Italy's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) has allocated over 3 billion Euros to promote the production, distribution and use of hydrogen, considered a key component for the energy transition process. Many of these funds were allocated during 2023, raising awareness of the need for a national strategy that combines decarbonisation objectives with a clear vision of industrial development around this technology. With the aim of supporting the activities of the "Technical Working Group for the definition of a national hydrogen strategy" established in January 2024 by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security, the Partners of the Zero Carbon Community of The European House - Ambrosetti met in Trento in March 2024 with various public and private stakeholders in order to stimulate a debate about the critical factors of success for the creation of a national hydrogen supply chain. During the meeting, the data and policy proposals produced during the first year of activity of the Zero Carbon Community were presented to the audience, along with the objectives, topics and stages of the 2024 edition. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss strategies aimed at fostering industrial initiatives on the development of the hydrogen valley, with a focus on the opportunities offered to companies by the ecosystem of the Autonomous Province of Trento.

First edition of the Zero Carbon Community

FOCUS: Hydrogen

Strategy and governance on hydrogen: comparing countries

The first meeting of the Community (April 18, 2023) was attended by representatives of various international institutions(Germany, KSA, Netherlands, Sweden, UK) that work with hydrogen. The aim of the meeting was to define key elements for a national hydrogen strategy by comparing international best practices

Territorial development and "hydrogen ecosystems"

On June 22, 2023, a Forum was held in Rovereto with the aim of promoting a dialogue with the companies involved in the Hydrogen Valley, and defining action proposals to maximize impacts on the territory. The event was attended by over 130 representatives from more than 70 institutions, companies, research centers and universities. 

The second Forum was held in Catania on November 13, 2023, with the participation of the Minister of Environment and Energy Security, Hon. Gilberto Pichetto Fratin. The event focused on identifying investment opportunities related to hydrogen and bioenergy, examining the economic and social impacts on the Sicilian economy. This was an important opportunity to discuss the development prospects related to energy transition and renewable energy, with particular attention to the possible advantages for Sicily, Italy and Europe.

"Low-carbon hydrogen is crucial to support market development and bring transport, storage and consumption systems to an early stage, where green hydrogen is a less competitive alternative." 
Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, Minister for the Environment and Energy Security

Public transport and synergies with the Hydrogen Valleys

The last 2023 meeting of the Community was dedicated to public stakeholders and companies involved in the Hydrogen Valleys. The main objective was to define the role of public transport in supporting the development of these initiatives. Fifteen representatives of the public transport services of Lombardy, Trentino, Alto Adige, Piedmont, Liguria, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Abruzzo, Sicily and Sardinia attended the meeting.

One-to-one meetings

In addition to the open door meetings, we have launched a stakeholder engagement initiative that gathered insights of strategic intelligence for the implementation of the initiatives promoted by the Partners.

Public procurement. The role of public transport to support the development of the hydrogen supply chain in the early stages and the actions needed to promote it

  • We started discussions to explore the role of Public Procurement in the Local Public Transport to support the development of a hydrogen supply chain and develop decarbonised sourcing policies for the future

Technical regulations for hydrogen

  • Confidential meetings were held with key experts to examine and identify existing regulatory gaps and propose action strategies to address them

Our expertise in decarbonisation

At The European House - Ambrosetti, we have been studying the topic of decarbonisation since 2019, starting from a Study in collaboration with Snam that proposed the first national industrial strategy on hydrogen ("H2 Italy 2050 - A national hydrogen supply chain for the growth and decarbonisation of Italy"). In 2022, instead, we created 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.

Key messages and proposals from the first edition of the Community

Focus: Hydrogen

Italy needs a have a national hydrogen strategy and a shared governance system among ministries to maximize potential benefits and ensure a process of "Just Transition"

The deployment of the hydrogen supply chain in Italy could bring significant economic, environmental and social benefits by enhancing the contribution to the decarbonisation of existing supply chains. 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 (TEHA, "H2 Italy 2050"). 

The principle of technological neutrality applied to hydrogen is fundamental to achieve decarbonisation objectives in an effective and economically sustainable way

For the decarbonisation of the hard-to-abate sectors (ETS industry and heavy transport) "traditional" solutions (RES, electrification and energy efficiency) will have to be accompanied by alternative ones, including hydrogen. Following the principle of technological neutrality related to hydrogen, it is important to leverage on all available solutions to accelerate the process of decarbonisation and develop a specific supply chain, while reducing costs: low-carbon hydrogen saves up to 31.5% in industrial applications under the new EU Directive (RED III). In Italy, we can capitalize on local assets such as the CCS hub in Ravenna.

Sicily can be a strategic area in Europe for the development of the hydrogen supply chain

The production of renewable hydrogen is particularly advantageous in Sicily thanks to the natural resources that are available on the territory (wind and solar energy). However, because of the constraints of European legislation, this competitive advantage will require accelerating the growth of renewable electricity production. Moreover, the Sicilian region has a key role in Europe and Italy for the import of renewable hydrogen from geographical areas with favorable production conditions, such as North Africa, Middle East and South America, thanks to its strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean and its port infrastructures.

The conversion of the chemical and refining sector supports the growth of the country through the creation of new green supply chains (production of biofuels and e-fuels)

Decarbonisation of these sectors is also required by the he EU. For the transition of the sector in Italy, it is estimated that between 25 billion and 30 billion euro will be needed, more than a third of which is for installations in Sicily. The importance of the investments necessary for the decarbonisation of the sector urges the creatio0n of dedicated support mechanisms.

It is essential to create an interconnected ecosystem to develop the hydrogen supply chain, starting with consumption hubs

Integrating and creating synergies between the Hydrogen Valley and the public transport system is crucial. To date, less than 10 Hydrogen Valley projects out of a national total of 54 provide synergies with the public transport. In this context, public procurement is fundamental in order to favor the transition towards supplying methods that favours decarbonisation.

Organisations and companies e aziende engaged with the Community

We have involved over 14 local, central and international institutions to discuss the strategy and regulation needed to foster the development of the hydrogen supply chain and 17 universities, research centres and associations to highlight progress in research and development of more efficient and economically viable technologies for the production, distribution and use of hydrogen.

Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti, Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Sicurezza energetica, Consip, ANCI, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (UK), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (UK), ZES Sicilia, Autorità di Sistema Portuale del Mare di Sicilia Orientale, Regione Sicilia, Regione Liguria, Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, Regione Autonoma del Friuli Venezia Giulia, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Provincia di Mantova

ENEA, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, EU Core, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Fondazione Enrico Mattei, Hydrogen Europe, H2IT, Vätgas Sverige, Federchimica Confindustria, Istituto per Innovazioni Tecnologiche bi Bolzano (IIT), H2U, Clust-ER Greentech, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Università degli Studi di Catania, Università degli Studi di Trento

In addition, we involved 88 companies from the fields of energy (32 companies), industry (37 companies) and transport (19 companies) to highlight opportunities related to the development of the hydrogen supply chain in synergy.