MILAN, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Italy has set guidelines for a national hydrogen strategy to help decarbonize the economy as it gradually phases out coal and increases production of renewable energy to meet long-term climate targets.
In a draft document called the National Hydrogen Strategy Preliminary Guide, seen by Reuters, the Ministry of Industry said it was targeting investment in the sector at around 10 billion euros ($ 12 billion) by 2030, with half of that coming from European funds and private investment. .
To help increase “green” hydrogen production, about 5 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity to extract gas from water will be introduced during the period, the document says.
Electrolysis can be a carbon-free process if the power used is generated from renewable energy. Hydrogen is now mostly produced from fossil fuels or other carbon emission processes, because electrolysis is too expensive because of the large power required.
By 2030, hydrogen could account for 2% of Italy’s final energy demand and help remove up to 8 million tonnes of CO2, the document said. As the scale of the industry goes up and costs fall, this could reach up to 20% by 2050, he said.
The document, when published, will form the basis of consultations before a final hydrogen strategy is approved, possibly early next year.
Brussels mapped out plans this year to promote hydrogen as it strives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. France, Germany and Spain have set their own targets.
Hydrogen is currently too expensive to be widely used but as costs go down, governments around the world see it as a substitute for fossil fuels in areas where electrification is not an easy solution.
The ministry document, which says the plan could create more than 200,000 jobs and generate up to 27 billion euros in Italy’s gross domestic product, said hydrogen could be used in transportation, heavy industry and natural gas pipelines.
Italian gas group Snam has been experimenting with a 10% hydrogen mixture in part of its natural gas network, while power company Enel and energy company Eni both have hydrogen plans.
$ 1 = 0.8458 euros Reported by Stephen Jewkes; Edited by Edmund Blair