The Hydrogen Innovation Center, Italy’s first national center of excellence for hydrogen technologies, has been launched by Snam with the goal of bringing together industrial partners and university research centers to accelerate the sector’s development and thus contribute to meeting national and European climate targets.
The Hydrogen Innovation Center’s first location will be in Modena, thanks to a partnership between Snam and UNIMORE (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia). Other hubs across the country will follow, including one in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan, and an overseas hub will be established by the end of 2021 in collaboration with a prestigious university in the United States.
The collaborations with hydrogen research centers already in place at Snam’s Hydrogen Innovation Center will be continued, including the partnership with ENEA for the Hydrogen Valley in Casaccia (Rome). The Hydrogen Innovation Center’s research and testing activities will span the entire hydrogen value chain, from production technologies to transportation and storage infrastructures, as well as end uses such as industrial (steel) and transportation applications (fuel cell cars and trucks, ships and trains).
The Modena hub, where four UNIMORE researchers will work with the help of Snam personnel at first, will concentrate on automation and mobility. Automation of electrolyser and fuel cell production chains, a prototype hydrogen refueling station built at the university using Italian technology, and new applications to support self-driving vehicles, as well as IoT (internet of things) and AI (artificial intelligence) solutions for the mobility of the future will be the three areas of research. The hub will be a meeting place for academic, research, and industrial excellence, as well as a place for start-ups and technology providers to develop their solutions and find potential applications.
The founder and the industrial partners who join the initiative will provide funding for the project’s development.
“The mission of the Hydrogen Innovation Center – said Cosma Panzacchi, EVP Hydrogen of Snam – is to build a strategic alliance between business and research to consolidate the Italian hydrogen value chain and encourage the creation of new companies and projects, also through the launch of an acceleration programme. The aim is to propose the first projects to the market and to extend the partnership network abroad within the next two years”.