Italian rail operator FS and energy company study hydrogen train operation
Italian rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) has partnered with Europe’s biggest natural gas transport group Snam to study using hydrogen for FS’ transport network. They signed a memorium of understanding to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen rail transport in Italy.
The agreement, signed by Gruppo FS Italiane CEO Gianfranco Battisti, and Snam CEO Marco Alverà, aims on implementing analyses and feasibility studies and developing joint projects on railway lines that can be converted to hydrogen on the national territory. In particular, FS Italiane and Snam will set up a working group with the aim of assessing possible pilot projects involving the replacement of fossil fuels with hydrogen.
Snam’s CEO Marco Alverà said: “With this agreement, we are taking an important step in promoting a hydrogen valuechain in Italy starting from sectors that are crucial for decarbonisation such as the transport of people and goods. Thanks to the collaboration between FS Italiane and Snam, we aim to create infrastructureto rapidly convert trains currently powered by diesel in Italy to hydrogen.”
FS CEO Gianfranco Battisti: “The agreement signed with Snam confirms the importance, for FS Italiane, of encouraging sustainable mobility, in line with the European Green New Deal. Hydrogen rail transport is a key innovation capable of making freight and passenger transport more environmentally sustainable on the remaining railway sections not yet electrified.”
The European Commission has mapped out a plan to expand the production and use of hydrogen to help meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, already highlighted the role of hydrogen in the green energy transition in the opening of the 2019 Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking Stakeholder Forum in Brussels. “I see a pivotal role for clean hydrogen. It is an area where Europe is still leading. Why not extend the lead on something that could be one of the most important solutions for clean energy?”
Snam is currently working on making its infrastrucutre compatibe with increasing quantities of hydrogen mixed with natural gas. They also support the development of the Italian supply chain to encourage the use of hydrogen in multiple sectors. Currently about 70 per cent of Snam’s natural gas pipelines are compatible with hydrogen, the company reports.