Multinational Power company Enel and energy company Eni announced today a partnership on the development of green hydrogen projects, aiming to produce green hydrogen through electrolyzers powered by renewable energy.

According to Enel and Eni, the companies are studying two pilot projects near Eni refineries, where green hydrogen appears to be the best decarbonization option. Each project will feature an electrolyzer of around 10 MW, with green hydrogen generation expected to start by 2022-2023.

Hydrogen is viewed as one of the key building blocks of the transition to a cleaner energy future, given its ability to act both as a clean energy carrier and fuel, as well as a CO2-neutral feedstock for the production of green chemicals. Despite being the most abundant element in the universe, however, there are no pure hydrogen deposits on earth, and it must be extracted from other materials. The extraction process often creates pollutants and GHG emissions. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, uses an electrolysis process to extract hydrogen from water, using a renewable source of energy such as wind or solar, with oxygen released as a byproduct.

Francesco Starace, Enel Group CEO and General Manager, said:

“We are interested in exploring with Eni the promising green hydrogen sector. Together, we identified a couple of sites where we can start with the first projects. The overall system we have in mind will be working as a closed loop whereby the electrolyzer fed by renewable energy and the refinery will be at the same location, therefore avoiding the construction of complex transport infrastructure to move hydrogen around. We are looking forward to seeing green hydrogen supplying Eni’s refinery and biorefinery processes, and are working to have the first operating system in place before the end of our current three-year plan.”

Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO said:

“This partnership in green hydrogen is part of Eni’s broader energy transition strategy. Our goal is to accelerate the reduction of our carbon footprint by implementing the best applicable low carbon solution, either green or blue, to reduce our direct emissions as well as switching to bio products to supply our clients.”