Italian rail network operator FS Italiane has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with gas transport group Snam to analyse the technical and economic feasibility and explore new business models associated to the development of hydrogen rail transport in the country.
The MoU was signed by the Gruppo FS Italiane CEO Gianfranco Battisti and Snam CEO Marco Alverà.
Under the MoU, the firms will undertake analysis and feasibility studies, as well as develop joint projects on railway lines that can be converted to hydrogen.
FS Italiane and Snam will establish a working group to evaluate possible pilot projects that involve replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen.
The firms will experiment with new technological solutions associated with the production, transport, compression, storage, supply and utilisation of hydrogen for the development of sustainable mobility.
Battisti said: “The agreement signed with Snam confirms the importance, for FS Italiane, of encouraging sustainable mobility, in line with the European Green New Deal. We continue to innovate and develop safe and ecological mobility solutions that will allow new generations to live in a more sustainable and competitive country, according to a model that increasingly places people at the centre.
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“Hydrogen rail transports are a fundamental innovation capable of increasing environmental sustainability for both freight and passengers’ transports on the remaining railway sections not yet electrified.”
Snam CEO Marco Alverà said: “With this agreement, we are taking an important step in promoting a hydrogen value chain 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 an infrastructure to rapidly convert trains currently powered by diesel in Italy to hydrogen, thus gaining a technological leadership to be capitalised also at an international level.”
The European Commission has detailed a plan to boost the production and use of hydrogen to aid in achieving net-zero emissions goal by 2050.
A gas pipeline operator in Europe, Snam has been trialling with a 10% mix of hydrogen in part of its natural gas network running for 33,000km.