(Corrects name of consultancy in paragraph 3 to RINA)
MILAN, May 19 (Reuters) - Gas transport group Snam said on Wednesday a 30% blend of natural gas and hydrogen had been used for the first time to power furnaces at a steelmaker in northern Italy.
The trial, carried out at a plant near Milan belonging to Italy’s Giva Group, involved the use of the gas mix in the steelmaker’s internal gas distribution network.
Snam, Giva and certification and engineering consultancy RINA said the trial was a success and was a first step to gradually introducing zero-emission hydrogen in certain steelmaking production processes.
Governments and energy companies round the world are placing large bets on hydrogen playing a leading role in efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions and help decarbonise energy-intensive industries like steel, heavy transport and chemicals.
However, without subsidies, the cost of green hydrogen remains too high to be profitable and converting furnaces and boilers to hydrogen is expected to be a long and costly process.
“Snam intends to make its infrastructure, research and expertise available to contribute to the creation of a national hydrogen supply chain and to the achievement of domestic and European climate targets,” Snam Chief Executive Marco Alvera said.
Snam, Europe’s biggest gas pipeline operator, has been experimenting with a 10% mix of hydrogen in part of its 33,000-kilometre natural gas network and has said 70% of its natural gas grid is already made up of “hydrogen ready” pipes.
The companies said the permanent use of a 30% green hydrogen blend, fuelled by renewable energy, at the three GIVA Group steel forging plants could cut carbon emissions by some 15,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to 7,500 cars.
Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Kirsten Donovan