Cagliari, 21st Jan 2021 - CRS4, Research Centre of the Sardinian Technology Park, and Italgas, leading company in the distribution of natural gas in Italy and third in Europe, have signed a memorandum of understanding for the study and construction of a "Power To Gas" plant in Sardina. It will use electricity from renewable sources to produce renewable fuels such as green hydrogen and synthetic methane.
More specifically, the project consists in the construction of a renewable gas production plant to be located in Sardinia and connected to the new 'digital native' distribution networks built by Italgas. The plant will consist of a park for the self-production of electricity from renewable sources, an electrolyser to produce oxygen and hydrogen from water, and a methanation section for the transformation of hydrogen into synthetic natural gas. The aim of the project will be to test the production of gas from a renewable source and its potential use to provide hydrogen to sardinian industrial facilities and hydrogen and synthetic methane to household customers on the island, blending it with natural gas according to certain specifications. The plant could also use exceding renewable energy to produce gas to be stored in the same plant.
In the first stage of the project, CRS4, together with the Politecnico of Turin, conducted an analysis of the territory and of the different production activities in the area in order to define the scenario for the construction of the pilot plant. Subsequently, CRS4 will be involved in the infrastructure sizing and engineering phase, as well as during its operation for the measurements aimed at evaluating the production process in energy, technical and environmental terms.
Giacomo Cao, CRS4's sole administrator, points out: "The project, in which the Centre is participating with researcher Alberto Varone of the HPC sector for energy and environment, fits into the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions strategy with a transversal approach. Several studies suggest that hydrogen could be the solution alongside renewable electricity in sectors that are complex to decarbonise, such as industry and heating, where is more difficult to use electricity.
Paolo Gallo, CEO of Italgas, comments: "The Italgas and CRS4 project reconciles the need to implement new and more efficient ways to store energy with the opportunity to produce renewable gases such as hydrogen and synthetic methane for the benefit of the Sardinian territory and its production activities, relying on the ‘native digital’ networks that we are building on the island. We are therefore glad to develop such an innovative project with the collaboration of a centre of excellence in Sardinia, where we have planned another 400 million euros of investment up to 2026.