Green hydrogen production via 20 MW electrolyzer at Italian oil refinery


Enel Green Power–the renewable energy arm of Italian power utility Enel–and Italian oil products provider Saras are planning to set up green hydrogen production at Saras' Sarroch industrial site in the province of Cagliari, on Italy’s second largest island, Sardinia.

The Sarroch site covers a surface area of 734.56 hectares, 90% of which is occupied by the Saras oil refinery and its associated petrochemical plants and service operations. “Our Sarroch site is particularly suited–due to its size, location and structural characteristics–to develop and host a green hydrogen production project with clear potential for development and growth,” said Saras CEO Dario Scaffardi.

Green energy production should be ensured by a 20 MW electrolyzer powered by renewable energy produced on-site and the produced fuel is expected to be used as a raw material in the Saras refinery. The Italian energy company did not specify what kind of renewable energy technology will be used to power the electrolyzer.

“We are constantly seeking partnerships to identify the best applications for this technology, particularly in industrial sectors that cannot be electrified and with emissions that are harder to reduce, including the chemical industry sector,” Enel Green Power CEO Salvatore Bernabei stated.

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Enel is also partnering with Italian energy provider Eni to deploy 20 MW of hydrogen generation capacity in Italy between 2022 and 2023. The two companies want to build two 10 MW electrolyzers at unspecified Eni refineries in Italy, “where green hydrogen appears to be the best decarbonization option.” Eni has recently completed a 31 MW solar plant at one of its chemical industry sites in Sardinia.

In a recent interview with pv magazine, Bernabei said he does not believe in CO2 capture technologies and that the production of ‘blue' hydrogen–with gas and CO2 capture–as well as that of ‘grey' hydrogen, produced with gas alone, are not being contemplated in the company's future strategy. Referring to electrolyzers, he said that Enel will test different types of electrolyzer and different business models around the world. “For example, electrolyzers can play a role in the ancillary market,” he stated.

*The article was updated on April 20 to specify that Sardinia is Italy's second-largest island, and not the largest one, as we previously reported.

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