The first Italian experimentation to use hydrogen in a city gas distribution network has just begun in Castelfranco Emilia (MO): a mixture of methane and hydrogen has been introduced into a portion of the city’s gas infrastructure managed by Inrete Distribuzione Energia, the Hera Group company that distributes natural gas and electricity.
The initiative involved thirty families and is the first of its kind in Italy. In the project, led by Inrete Distribuzione Energia, were involved numerous companies in the supply chain, including Pietro Fiorentini as industrial partner of the Hera Group for NexMeter, the multi-utility’s gas smart meter 4.0.
NexMeter is the first of its kind at an international level for cutting-edge technologies and safety functions, and the only advanced meter on the Italian market already enabled to measure methane and hydrogen mixtures. It is present in more than 150,000 Italian homes connected to the traditional gas distribution network, and it was installed by Inrete Distribuzione Energia technicians also in Castelfranco Emilia in the homes involved in this project.
In addition to this, Pietro Fiorentini also supplied one pressure reducing and metering station, which is ready to handle the mix of hydrogen and natural gas, for the involved area.
The experimentation is part of the strategy for the development of hydrogen by Hera Group. It aims to study innovative solutions for the use of green gases, energy vectors with a low environmental impact that, when fully operational, will be able to contribute to the decarbonization needs with important benefits for the environment: the combustion of hydrogen, in fact, does not produce CO2, but mainly water vapour.
Federico Bronzini, CEO of Inrete Distribuzione Energia, commented: “The role of early adopter allows us to identify innovative solutions for the management of alternative energy vectors with a lower environmental impact and to contribute to the decarbonization of the territory, with important benefits for the environment. Moreover, hydrogen is a gas that can be produced through zero-kilometers industrial processes, and the partial replacement of natural gas with this resource contributes to reducing the energy dependence that characterizes traditional fossil fuels.”
Francesco Fortuna, Italy Country Manager in Pietro Fiorentini, added: “This project opens up a new scenario for the use of hydrogen: until yesterday, it was confined to industrial applications, and now is being experimented also in the civil sector. The regulation and measurement of hydrogen and methane in distribution networks require special attention, because the two gases have different characteristics. Pietro Fiorentini is working on various fronts to enable the infrastructure to manage this mix, also thanks to the experience gained abroad in projects such as Hy4Heat and the new laboratory for testing at our Arcugnano site.”
The companies that collaborated in this project are Pietro Fiorentini, BAXI, Bosch, Electrolux, Emerson, Immergas, Innovhub SSI, RINA, Snam, Valpres, a Bonomi Group company.