ABB has joined forces with Swiss utility Axpo to develop modular green hydrogen production plants in Italy, with the aim of creating an optimum operating model to produce affordable, green hydrogen.
The two companies will apply their complementary skills to achieve their joint vision of more affordable green hydrogen, with ABB harnessing its automation, electrification, and digital leadership in industrial operations and Axpo’s experience as an established energy provider.
Initial work will include feasibility studies that explore ways to reduce operating costs and ensure a low carbon footprint, with the aim of identifying synergies that will support the standardisation, modularisation, efficient, and flexible production of green hydrogen. Cost of production currently is a major barrier to adoption of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen, which is produced solely with renewable sources, is approximately six times more expensive today than grey hydrogen to produce and between two to three times more expensive than hybrid blue hydrogen, both of which are produced using fossil fuels as an energy source, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area said: “As technology partner we focus on the areas where we can make the greatest difference. In this project, our aim is to leverage our automation, electrical and digital technologies and domain expertise to minimise the total cost of producing green hydrogen, which includes reducing the cost of running the plant. This is essential to unlock the potential of green hydrogen and enable its widespread uptake in the future.”
Axpo Italia’s Head of Origination & Business Development, Simone Rodolfi, commented: "We are fully committed to exploring the potential of green hydrogen as part of our strategy to facilitate the energy transition. There has been much collaboration between Axpo and ABB in recent years and today's agreement reinforces that relationship, enabling both companies to become important players in this promising segment.”
This project reflects a wider initiative from ABB which is joining forces with customers and partners to explore opportunities and technologies, to build a resilient hydrogen ecosystem for a low carbon future. In addition to the collaboration with Axpo, ABB is working with Lhyfe to install control solutions to automate production of its first green hydrogen project in France.
In the Asia-Pacific region, ABB is supporting the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project which aims to produce hydrogen safely and efficiently in Australia and then transport it to Japan, in one of the world’s first efforts to commercialise hydrogen liquefication and transportation.
The company is also working with Hydrogen Optimized to develop an integrated solution that supports the use of high current water electrolysis technology in large scale green hydrogen production systems for application across chemical, utility, and transportation sectors.
ABB and Axpo have a long tradition of working together successfully and solutions from ABB are playing an important role in helping the company create and deliver energy in an efficient, safe, and sustainable way. Among the latest projects is the installation of ABB Ability™ Smart Sensors and ABB Ability Condition Monitoring that have converted the motors at one of Axpo’s hydropower plants in Switzerland into smart, wirelessly, monitored devices. In addition, the ABB Ability Condition Monitoring solution was chosen by Axpo to support the digitalisation of the company’s power plants in Italy.
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