Sasol and Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana (SRI) have formed a Temporary Association of Companies (ATI) to collaborate on developing hydrogen production projects. The resolution of the Sicilian Regional Council n. 47 of 29 January 2021 nominates Sicily to be the seat of the National High Technology Center for Hydrogen (“Hydrogen Valley”). An expression of interest for inclusion on the long list of subjects interested in the establishment of the Centre had to be made by 22 April.
The companies just recently signed a partnership agreement with the Polytechnic of Turin for a feasibility study on the use of CO2 capture and utilisation technology in the industrial processes of the two production sites in Augusta.
Green hydrogen (hydrogen produced through the electrolysis process of water fuelled by renewable energies) is considered an essential element in the energy transition. As described in a recent study by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a European public-private partnership for the development of new technologies, green hydrogen can account for up to 24% of European energy demand by 2050.
In particular, hydrogen can play a dual role: in the long term, up to 2050, it can support the decarbonisation effort together with other low-carbon technologies, especially in energy-intensive sectors. In the short term, up to 2030, it can gradually become competitive in selected applications such as chemicals, mobility and oil refining, allowing the development of a European ecosystem needed to fully exploit its potential in the long term.
"The petrochemical area of Syracuse can and must play a key role in the energy transition," says Rosario Pistorio, CEO of SRI, "especially in that process of gradual and progressive decarbonisation that passes not only through electrification but also through alternative technologies such as low-carbon liquid fuels or energy vectors such as hydrogen. In this context, the skills of our personnel, which have been a strategic national asset for 70 years, must be enhanced in order to act as a driving force for development.
"This activity," adds Sergio Corso, Vice President Operations Sasol Italy, "marks another exciting step towards a sustainable future, confirming the process of collaboration initiated with our partners to create value and develop innovative solutions for a better and increasingly sustainable world. This announcement also underscores our interest in making hydrogen a key element of Sasol's sustainability journey".
Sasol recently announced that it is part of a consortium bidding to produce sustainable aviation fuel under the German government’s H2Global auction platform, using its leadership in the Fischer-Tropsch process. Separately, Sasol has formed an alliance with Toyota South African Motors (TSAM) to explore developing a green hydrogen mobility ecosystem in its headquarters country of South Africa.
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