Enel Opens World’s First Hydrogen-Driven Power Plant

by , 07/13/10

enel, hydrogen, hydrogen power, italy, fusia, green power

Italian company Enel SpA made renewable energy history this week when it opened the world’s first hydrogen-driven power plant to produce a significant amount of electricity in Fusina, Italy. The plant, located just outside Venice, will produce 16 megawatts of power, or enough energy for 20,000 homes. Enel’s power plant will also save 17,000 tons of CO2 emissions compared to a coal plant.

Enel gets around the conundrum that many hydrogen producers face (generating hydrogen power without sucking up too much energy in the process) by using hydrogen byproducts from Porto Marghera, a neighboring petrochemicals site.

Don’t expect this to be the beginning of a boom in hydrogen-powered plants, however. Hydrogen power still costs five times as much as power produced from coal, and Enel believes it will be decades before the substance becomes competitive. Still, the Fusina plant is a necessary step in proving that hydrogen power can be viable on a large scale.

Via PhysOrg

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1 Comment

  1. lifesizedan August 20, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hydrogen is going to be a huge part of energy production in the future and this plant is a really exciting step. The article touches upon the well-known hydrogen conundrum – ‘generating hydrogen power without sucking up too much energy in the process’. Enel SpA has cleverly addressed the problem, making use of by-product hydrogen, and there are other companies doing the same.

    I work on behalf of AFC Energy, alkaline fuel cell developers. Similarly, they have partnered with the Chlor-Alkaline industry, which produces a huge amount of hydrogen as a by-product. AFC are also exploring the production of hydrogen from the gasification of household waste and, perhaps most promisingly, through underground coal gasification (UCG). To highlight this, they’ve produced a video called The Power of the Future (powerofthefuture on YT), which explores some of the ways they are going to be utilizing sources of hydrogen to power their alkaline fuel cells – please have a look and get in touch if you are interested and would like more information.

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