Abstract for: Hydrogen Production Scenarios in Italy

Hydrogen, an energy vector, displays remarkable versatility with regards to the ways it can be produced. State-of-the-art technologies allow almost every energy source to be converted into hydrogen. What is more challenging, however, is the feasibility of building a new infrastructure to overlap with and, possibly, substitute existing one. This investigation aims to assess what it would entail to add 5% of hydrogen fuel to road transport energy consumption through 2050. The comparison spans five technologies: steam methane reforming, coal gasification, and water electrolysis where power is generated from wind, solar, and nuclear sources. The simulation provides two sets of estimates: calculations on physical infrastructure requirements and its related variable and fixed costs. With regards to facility requirements, the considered technologies show different degrees of feasibility. Coal and nuclear power are not as land-intensive as solar and wind power, but bear problems with pollution and waste disposal, respectively. Economically, coal is least expensive, followed by wind. Natural gas loses competitiveness because of high hydrocarbon prices. The sheer economic rank of preferable energy sources for generating hydrogen should be put into question when internalizing environmental impact of the considered options.