Submitted by Hyter (Pietro Fiorentini Group) jointly with INRETE Distribuzione Energia (Hera Group), MatRes (MBN Nanomaterialia Group) and the Department of Chemical Sciences of the University of Padua, the Sirius project entails the construction within three years of the first electrolyser in the world of more than one Megawatt based on AEMWE technology, Anion Exchange Membrane Water Electrolyser, to be installed in proximity of one of the Hera Group sites and thus be part of a new industrial facility for hydrogen utilisation.
With a score of 86.73 out of 100, the Sirius project ranked third in the category “Mission 2 – Component 2 – Investment 3.5 – Hydrogen Research and Development” among the fifty-six proposals submitted to the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition in order to receive theEuropean Union funds included within the PNRR, the National Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The grant exceeds two million Euro (the exact figure is 2,128,891.25 €), covering approximately half the budget set by the project’s partners. Hyter will deal with the design, engineering and construction of the modular stacks and of the electrolyser. The Department of Chemical Sciences of the University of Padua and MatRes will carry out the research activities aimed at improving the performance of specific components (the catalyst cells), exploiting new nanostructured materials that are also conducive to a lower environmental impact compared to those currently in use. The project will be completed by INRETE Distribuzione Energia with the construction of the experimental industrial site for hydrogen utilisation.
“The electrolyser based on AEMWE technology – as pointed out by Emanuele Castioni, Hyter’s CEO – will produce so-called green hydrogen, i.e. generated without resorting to fossil sources. Today, the AEMWE technology is a cornerstone of the solutions that the Pietro Fiorentini Group offers in the field of renewable energies. Among them, one of the most significant roles in the current context is played precisely by hydrogen, a resource at the core of the investments of industrialised countries aiming to secure ever greater energy independence while respecting the decarbonisation objectives promoted by the European Union.”
“For several years now, the strategies of the Hera Group and its subsidiary INRETE Distribuzione Energia have been focusing on the issue of energy transition, as evidenced by several experimental projects included in the 2025 Industrial Plan that covers all the key aspects for an energy distributor: electrification, sector coupling, blending and public hydrogen uses – claims Federico Bronzini, CEO of INRETE Distribuzione Energia. – The goal is to have a presence in the chemical energy distribution sector, steering it towards a new phase, whose time frames are consistent with the objectives set by international guidelines. Fully consistent with these guidelines, we are more than happy to support our partners in the development of this innovative technology, which we believe is well suited to our production cycles with a view to industrial symbiosis and an eye to circularity.”
“The solutions to the technological challenges posed by the size and by the innovative AEMWE technology call for rethinking and reviewing the design of all the materials used in the stack – adds Alberto Colella, CEO of MatRes. – In order to produce ‘truly green’ hydrogen, the design of the materials used must take into account the properties, the economic and environmental cost, as well as their availability in an increasingly complicated market. Specifically, MatRes will deal with the development of new porous screens that catalyse efficient hydrogen recombination and can also be constructed with effective technologies even in the larger size that Hyter is developing.”
“The Sirius project will make it possible to capitalise on the skillsets of the research groups of the University of Padua’s Department of Chemical Sciences in the development of advanced catalysts, – says Prof. Stefano Agnoli of the INCAT research group of UniPd – skills that range from innovative syntheses and advanced characterisation to validation of prototype systems. Specifically, the electrode materials developed in the project will be based on easily available, low-cost elements that are not harmful to the environment, thus making it possible to manufacture a final device that is sustainable from all points of view and can really embody the first step of a hydrogen-based energy infrastructure.”
Go to this link to see the rankings of the MITE call for proposals.
Focus on Hyter
Hyter is a company in the renewable energy sector that manufactures a range of electrolysers for hydrogen generation, using an innovative technology compared to those commonly used (AEMWE, anion exchange membranes, instead of the conventional alkaline process or PEM, protonic exchange membranes). It is a choice that assures a significant number of technical and environmental advantages, as well as a reduction in the costs of plant management. Based in Desenzano del Garda (Brescia), Hyter stems from the evolution of the startup SPI Consulting, which was set up in 2011. Following a takeover by the Pietro Fiorentini Group in July 2021, a process to redefine the corporate identity led to a name change: the combination of the English word hydrogen and Latin iter (journey) gave rise to Hyter, pioneer of new routes towards the use of hydrogen.
Focus on Gruppo Hera and INRETE
Gruppo Hera is one of the leading Italian multi-utility companies and is active in the environment, energy and water sectors, with more than 9,000 employees committed every day to addressing the multiple needs of approximately 5 million citizens, mainly located in Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Marche, Tuscany and Abruzzo. Listed since 2003, it is among the top 40 Italian companies by capitalisation (it is listed in the FTSE MIB index) and in 2020 it entered the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, World and Europe. INRETE Distribuzione Energia is a subsidiary of the Hera Group that is active in gas and electricity distribution.
Focus on MatRes
MatRes (MATerials RESearch) is a Veneto-based company that has been dealing with industrial research and development for fifteen years. MatRes produces innovation through the formulation, synthesis and process analysis of new metal materials and metal-ceramic composites, collaborating with the company MBN Nanomaterialia S.p.A., which deals with industrial-scale production.
Focus on UniPd
Founded in 1222, the University of Padua is one of the most prestigious centres of knowledge in Europe. With over 70,000 female and male students, 2,200 professors, 2,400 administration employees, more than 13,000 graduates each year, 5,000 scholarships awarded, 32 departments, over 2 million books available in 29 libraries and an excellent and constantly evolving teaching offer, the University of Padua has for a long time scored at the highest levels in the main national and international rankings for quality of teaching, research and services. The custodian of a long history that is intertwined with that of many remarkable figures of science and culture such as Copernicus, Vesalius, Galilei, Harvey up to the more modern Tullio Levi-Civita, Concetto Marchesi and many others, the University of Padua looks to the future with an approach increasingly focused on internationalisation and innovation. Building upon its sound relations with a number of institutions, entities and foreign universities, the University of Padua is a member of international networks and takes part in research and education projects that involve students and professors from all over the world.