Enel has inaugurated an industrial-scale hydrogen-fuelled combined cycle power plant at Fusina (Venice, Italy).

The industrial-scale plant—the first facility of its kind—has an overall capacity of 16 MW. It comprises a hydrogen-fuelled combined cycle plant, which generates both electricity and heat, and has an output of 12 megawatts (MW). The efficiency of the process is increased by taking the heat from the emissions in order to generate high-temperature steam, which is sent to the nearby coal-fired plant to generate an additional 4 MW of power capacity.

The plant, which uses 1.3 metric tons of hydrogen per hour, has an overall efficiency of about 42% and is essentially free of emissions of any kind. The electricity generated, equal to about 60 million kWh a year, will be sufficient to meet the needs of 20,000 households, avoiding more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year.

The plant, which required an overall investment for construction of some €50 million, is located on the site of Enel’s “Andrea Palladio” plant at Fusina, next to the petrochemical facility of Porto Marghera (Venice), from which it will receive the hydrogen produced as a by-product in the manufacturing process.

The very high efficiency experimental plant is one of the projects of Hydrogen Park, the consortium formed in 2003 at the initiative of the Venice Industrial Union with about €4 million in support from the Region of Veneto and the Ministry for the Environment. The consortium seeks to promote the development and application of hydrogen technologies in transportation and power generation in the Porto Marghera area.

In 1997 Fusina was the first generation plant in Italy to be equippeddesulfurizationsation and denitrification systems, while in 1999 it was fitted with sleeve filters to reduce particulate emissions. Since 2008, it has been upgraded with new environmental systems. In addition, Fusina is a leader in waste disposal.

After extensive testing, agreed with the Region of Veneto and the Province and City of Venice, the plant is now able to make use of 70,000 metric tons of RDF (refuse-derived fuel), a fuel derived from separated solid waste. That is the equivalent of the waste produced by 300,000 people. Using RDF in place of coal to fuel the plant’s boilers, the energy contained in the waste is recovered and it does not occupy space in waste disposal facilities, avoiding about 60,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year.