25.11.2021 – 09.45 – For some time now, the Trieste port and science communities have been looking with interest at the world of hydrogen: not only in terms of storage, but also of production and use in railways and transport. Echoing a previous meeting with the Julian Authority, the workshop ‘North Adriatic cross-border Hydrogen Valley: towards the clean energy transition’ was held between Gorizia and Nova Gorica.
The ambitious objective is to create a ‘North Adriatic cross-border hydrogen valley’ that would cut across Friuli Venezia Giulia, Slovenia and Croatia.
In short, a sort of “gaseous” Central European region. In practical terms, this would mean creating so-called “complete value chains”, i.e., systems that interconnect the production of hydrogen and its use in everyday life. One thinks of possible applications for trains and buses, although the Adriafer and Trieste Trasporti companies have warned that these are still only experimental prototypes.
To get an idea of what a ‘hydrogen valley’ might be, we need to look at Romagna, for example, where Eni is planning two wind farms, a photovoltaic park and an electrolysis plant for the production of green hydrogen. In turn, the hydrogen produced would power two thousand buses, de facto providing energy to a large part of the Romagna coastline. Similar examples of an integrated system could also be applied on the north Adriatic coast, involving Trieste, Ljubljana and Zagreb.
In the case of FVG, this could be the first historic Italian cross-border valley. The interest in the project is backed by a number of big names: Fincantieri, of course, but not forgetting Snam, Danieli and Wartsila. In addition to the usual research bodies of “scientific” Trieste, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region and the University of Trieste.
Among the confirmed figures, beyond the interest of the bodies mentioned here, is the public-private partnership Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, which has already financed other initiatives of this kind in Europe.
The spin-offs are also good in terms of employment, although – and this is a characteristic of the European Green New Deal – they are all highly technical. If conducted correctly and if hydrogen technology turns out to be as effective as expected, this would be a step forward for a sustainable and clean Eastern Europe.
The deadline? It is vaguely said to be 2030; so in the short term, within a decade, in line with funding