From the "Great Coal Mine" to green hydrogen, the Sotacarbo plan

From the "Great Coal Mine" to green hydrogen, the Sotacarbo plan

After coal, the challenge of green hydrogen. With a 24 million euro intervention plan that brings together energy production and the design of latest generation electrolysers. The new course starts from Sotacarbo, a research and technological development company (owned by the Region with a minimum share of Enea) which has its headquarters in the "Great Coal Mine" in Carbonia. An area that arose where the coal mines operated between 1930 and 1950 and has now become a large park area which houses both the museum area and that of the Sotacarbo advanced research centre.

The new horizon that the society in which the researchers work is moving forward is that of transforming the center into a sort of Hydrogen Valley in which production and research go hand in hand. «Our project – explains Mario Porcu, engineer and president of Sotacarbo – is important both in terms of size and perspective. The intervention plan provides for the construction of a 1 megawatt electrolyser with 6 megawatts upstream and a 5,000-hour accumulation system».

The program provides for the use of energy produced with renewables in Sardinia. «This energy is used to operate the electrolyser which – explains Porcu – allows us to produce green hydrogen». Hence the use of hydrogen in the production system, which in this case involves public transport. "Our project is already in an advanced stage and looks towards industrial development - he continues - also because we have signed an agreement with the regional transport agency for the supply of hydrogen necessary to operate three coaches in south-western Sardinia".

The project involves an investment of 12 million euros, coming from the Pnrr. «With our plant we will have a production of green hydrogen, i.e. produced with energy from renewables, which there is no shortage of in Sardinia, which can be sold for a maximum of 5 euros per kilo - he continues - even if we count, because the investment is financed with public funds, to be able to reach 4 euros, thus becoming truly competitive. If we consider that with a kilo of hydrogen a vehicle can travel a hundred kilometres, the importance of the intervention is immediately understood».

It is not the only element that characterizes the hydrogen route that the research center has begun to follow. Another intervention is planned, which provides for a loan of 12 million euros, "financed by the Cohesion Agency" for the design of latest generation electrolysers. «Because the objective – he continues – is to make them ever more efficient and competitive, given that the path of the future will be that of hydrogen. It is no coincidence that the major research centers of the world work precisely in this direction».

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