Noodle factory teams up with natural gas provider to use Hydrogen as fuel.

In the hills near Naples, something unusual was taking place at a pasta factory one day in February.

In a nearby olive groove, engineers in safety gear had hooked up tanks of hydrogen and natural gas mixture to an existing gas line. If fed the boiler that provided the heat to dry and sterilize the noodles being produced.

Inside, regional specialties like Orecchiette and thick rich Paccheri kept rolling out as employees in white coats and head coverings supervised.

But because hydrogen fuel is free of emissions, the operation was sending less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than one using just natural gas, as emitter.

Mixing hydrogen with pasta-making is a gambit in multi-faceted campaign by Marco Alvera, the chief executive of Snam, an operator of natural gas network in Italy and across Europe.

Mr. Alverk, who took the job in 2016, is trying to keep his company on the right side of growing pressures, especially in Europe, for energy companies to change their business strategies to tackle climate change.

Snam, whose Italian operations are valued at 20 billion euros, or about $21.9 billion, chose an industrial area that is home to Orogiallo, a pasta company, for an early trial.

Mr. Alvera has embraced hydrogen as clean-substitute for natural gas. Hydrogen has some major virtues. It is emission-free and, he hopes, can be carried in Snam's existing 25,000-mile web of of transmission lines.

When used as a fuel, hydrogen's only byproduct is water. But the most common way of to produce Hydrogen requires fossil fuels, themselves heavy emitters, which would zero out the benefits of hydrogen use.

There are clean ways to make hydrogen, with renewable energy - but then why not just those clean energy sources as fuel on their own?

The answer is storage. Excess renewable energy from wind and sun is often wasted. Using it to create Hydrogen which can be saved for later, is like having a large relatively cheap battery, advocates say.

Mr. Alvera said his epiphany about the element came in late 2017, when his persuaded him to late one evening that, despite concerns about safety and cos, hydrogen could win a substantial portion of the energy market of the future. It could becoming winning ticket for Snam.

The company estimates that in three decades, about a quarter of Italy's energy could come from hydrogen.

That night, Mr. Alvera said, he called home to say he wasn't going to make it to dinner and ordered pizza for his advisers instead. As his confidence in their model grew, ''I decided we would go the board,'' he said.

He began building a team of hydrogen experts. Aiming to win converts to his plan, he hosted a conference in October featuring the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, and attended by corporate executives.

He even a wrote a book on the subject : ''Generation H.''

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Hydrogen for a cleaner world, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Stanley Reed.


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