Image: ABB

ABB has partnered with Swiss utility Axpo to create modular green hydrogen production plants in Italy with the goal of optimizing the operational model for economical, green hydrogen production.

The two businesses will leverage their complementary capabilities to further their shared vision of more affordable green hydrogen, with ABB leveraging its automation, electrification, and digital leadership in industrial operations and Axpo leveraging its extensive energy provider experience.

The initial effort will consist of feasibility studies to determine ways to lower operating costs and assure a low carbon footprint, with the goal of uncovering synergies that will support standardization, modularization, efficient, and adaptable green hydrogen generation.

Cost of manufacture is now a significant impediment to green hydrogen adoption. Green hydrogen is approximately six times more expensive to create than grey hydrogen and between two and three times more expensive than hybrid “blue” hydrogen, both of which are created using fossil fuels.

Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area said: “As technology partner we focus on the areas where we can make the greatest difference. In this project, our aim is to leverage our automation, electrical and digital technologies and domain expertise to minimize the total cost of producing green hydrogen, which includes reducing the cost of running the plant. This is essential to unlock the potential of green hydrogen and enable its widespread uptake in the future.”

Axpo Italia’s Head of Origination & Business Development, Simone Rodolfi, commented: “We are fully committed to exploring the potential of green hydrogen as part of our strategy to facilitate the energy transition. There has been much collaboration between Axpo and ABB in recent years and today’s agreement reinforces that relationship, enabling both companies to become important players in this promising segment.”

This project is part of a larger initiative by ABB to collaborate with customers and partners to identify possibilities and solutions for a resilient hydrogen ecosystem that will enable a low-carbon future. Apart from the collaboration with Axpo, ABB is collaborating with Lhyfe to automate the manufacture of its first green hydrogen project in France.

ABB is assisting the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) initiative in the Asia–Pacific area, which intends to create hydrogen safely and effectively in Australia and then transport it to Japan, in one of the world’s first commercialization initiatives of hydrogen liquefaction and transportation. Additionally, the company is collaborating with Hydrogen Optimized on the development of an integrated solution that enables the use of high current water electrolysis technology in large-scale green hydrogen production systems for use in the chemical, utility, and transportation industries.

ABB and Axpo have a long history of successful collaboration, and ABB technologies are critical in assisting the company in creating and delivering energy in an efficient, safe, and sustainable manner. Among the most recent projects is the installation of ABB AbilityTM Smart Sensors and ABB AbilityTM Condition Monitoring, which transformed the motors of one of Axpo’s Swiss hydropower plants into smart, wirelessly monitored components. Additionally, Axpo selected the ABB AbilityTM Condition Monitoring system to aid in the digitalization of the company’s power facilities in Italy.

Nedim Husomanovic

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