Green hydrogen, construction of the De Nora and Snam gigafactory begins in Cernusco

It will be the largest factory of electrolysers and other components to produce green hydrogen in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. It is the gigafactory that Industrie De Nora is building with the support of Snam (the newco is called «De Nora Italy Hydrogen Technologies» or Dniht) in Cernusco sul Naviglio, in the province of Milan. The first stone was laid yesterday.

Public funds

«The name gigafactory is often abused – declared Federico De Nora, president of the company – but this one really is, with a capacity that will reach 2 gigawatt equivalents by 2030. Electrolysers are a fundamental piece for a correct energy transition» . Testifying to the importance of having the production of green hydrogen technology in Europe is the recognition received from the European Union, which included it among the Ipcei (Important Projects of Common European Interest). The Ministry of Business and Made in Italy will make a contribution to the expenditure: 32 million which could rise to 63 million for a total investment of around one hundred million. A production center of approximately 25,000 square meters will be built in Cernusco, powered by solar panels and designed with an industrial architecture based on low environmental impact criteria.

New jobs

Once fully operational, 200 jobs will be created and the activity will generate another two thousand in related industries, as announced. De Nora, which last year celebrated its hundredth anniversary and specializes in electrochemistry, is among the leaders in the nascent green hydrogen industry and is present with production sites in the USA, China, Japan and Germany. «This plant, which will be operational between the end of 2025 and the beginning of 2026, will be the most cutting-edge of all», specified De Nora. The project «is part of a broader multi-year expansion plan of the De Nora group’s production capacity».

Market prospects

But what market prospects are there? «Like all new sectors – declared De Nora CEO Paolo Dellachà – it is in the initial launch phase. The cost of green hydrogen depends on the cost of the renewables used to produce it and is already competitive in some countries. Europe has a primary role in the race towards this molecule: estimates indicate that by 2030 we will have a minimum of one hundred gigawatts of installed capacity of electrolysers and Europe will cover 25%/30% of global production”.

Hydrogen to “store” renewables

Snam’s CEO Stefano Venier explained what another use of green hydrogen could be, also instrumental to the transition, i.e. that of conserving solar and wind energy for a long time: «Hydrogen allows the storage of renewables , because when they are in excess or there is a significant reduction in price, their transformation into hydrogen molecules allows them to be stored.” Valentino Valentini, deputy minister of Business and Made in Italy, speaking at the ceremony, outlined the scenario: «The transition will see an axis between North Africa and Europe. There will be corridors with solar renewables that will cross Italy from Africa and from Northern Europe we will have wind power.”

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