London — The large-scale development of hydrogen will offer "significant" opportunities to gas infrastructure companies, Marco Alvera, CEO of Italian gas grid operator Snam, said Sept. 16.
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Speaking during an industry webinar, Alvera said hydrogen would be a "key part" of a fully decarbonized world.
Snam has already started to blend hydrogen and gas in its existing network, and Alvera said companies with gas pipeline systems would benefit from the growth in hydrogen.
"[There will be] significant opportunities for players like us and other natural gas players as a lot of the existing infrastructure can be used," he said.
Citing a recent global gas report published by Snam, the International Gas Union and BloombergNEF, Alvera said hydrogen could account for as much as 24% of the global energy mix in the future.
That would require investments of some Eur11 trillion ($13 trillion) in infrastructure, he said.
According to the report, to reach that level by 2050, "strong and comprehensive" decarbonization and hydrogen industry policies would need to be in force.
Also speaking on the webinar, Camilla Palladino, Snam's Executive Vice President Corporate Strategy and Investor Relations, said using existing gas infrastructure would be key to scaling up hydrogen.
Palladino said Snam was looking to ensure its pipeline and storage network was "hydrogen ready or that we know what we need to do to make it hydrogen ready as hydrogen starts to scale up."
Snam has carried out an audit of its existing pipelines that found that that 70% of its Italian network was already hydrogen-ready and would have no problem accepting blends of hydrogen.
She added that Snam also had a new procurement standard. "Everything we put into the ground now in terms of pipelines is already 100% hydrogen ready," she said.
"The infrastructure world is alive to the very quick development of hydrogen and to the role that we can play in enabling this to happen," she said.
Palladino said Italy also had parallel gas piping, which would enable the grid to be segregated, allowing for blending into the grid or for pure hydrogen delivery into regional clusters.
Palladino also said Italy could be a future hydrogen hub given its connections to North Africa and its ample renewable resources in the south.