Italian energy infrastructure company Snam has reached a deal with GE company Baker Hughes (BHGE) to develop four micro-liquefaction plants to promote the use of natural gas as a transport fuel in the country.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable bio-LNG produced from the plants will be used as a sustainable fuel source in heavy-duty trucks and maritime transportation in Italy. The partners will determine the viability of establishing the plants by the end of this year.
Snam CEO Marco Alverà said: “With this agreement, we want to give a further impetus to the spread of sustainable mobility and to the decarbonisation of the entire heavy transport sector throughout Italy. “Our goal, in particular, is to make a decisive contribution to the diffusion of a new concept of mobility from renewable sources thanks to biomethane and bio-LNG.
“The entry into the micro-LNG segment, which can liquefy pipeline gas and biomethane, leverages Snam’s European leadership in gas infrastructure and its existing presence in natural gas mobility, which is expected to be a growth market for gas consumption worldwide and where Snam may be able to export its competencies.”
The aggregate production from the four plants is expected to be around 140,000t of LNG or bio-LNG per year. If the project is deemed feasible, the partners will invest between €50 and €80m in the coming years to create the infrastructure.
BHGE chairman and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said: “We know that low-carbon fuel sources will continue to play an important role in enabling a seamless transition to a more sustainable energy mix. “This agreement further demonstrates the strength of BHGE’s full-stream portfolio of advanced technologies and service solutions for the gas market, as well as proven expertise in the micro-LNG sector.”
The agreement also provides the development of additional micro-liquefaction plants in Italy and abroad. The number of vehicles that use LNG in Italy has increased from less than 100 to 1,000 units since 2015. Using LNG as a fuel source helps to eliminate particulate from heavy-duty trucks and maritime transport, as well as reduce CO2 emissions.