Stay in oil or race for green energy? Portfolio Transformation Considerations

After decades of debates with high levels of “ideological pollution”, thanks in part to the paradoxical impulses generated by the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the topic of promoting an economic renaissance is not just heavily influenced by technological innovation, but also strongly shaped by a strong, concrete and visible commitment to environmental protection – was ultimately placed at the top of the government’s list of priorities for all the most industrialized countries in the world.

At the last G20 Sustainable Development Summit, Europe, China and the United States agreed to joint and coordinated efforts to achieve the goal of gradually “decarbonising” the planet by pledging to reduce the use of fossil fuels to reduce energy generation in favor of renewable energy from air, sun and sea.

The “Green Deal” that the European Union has been planning on paper for years will soon become a reality, as it has been included in the “Recovery Plan”, the enormous financial commitment that is intended to help the economies of European countries emerge from the quicksand of the Pandemic in the coming years.

Up to € 47 billion is earmarked for Italy to invest in the research and use of environmentally friendly energy sources that will free us from the use of fossil fuels and allow us to grow without harming the ecosystem and climate balance.

After decades of exceptional economic growth that has come at a very high price for pollution, China has decided to further develop the sustainable growth initiatives taken under the 13th Five-Year Plan – concrete initiatives that have made it possible to reduce them. Five Year Plan for 2020/2025, an ambitious but achievable project to create an “ecological civilization”, the amount of CO2 was released into the atmosphere by 12%.

In this regard, President Xi Jinping bluntly stated at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) devoted to “the collective study on the subject of achieving an ecological civilization”: “We must consider reducing carbon emissions. Emissions as the strategic direction of the fourteenth five-year plan to promote the reduction of environmental pollution and CO2 emissions and to continue the transformation of the model for environmentally friendly economic and social development in order to achieve the goal of improving the quality of the ecological environment. “.

The fact that these are not just formulas and words of a clever politician who has sensed and caught the wind of “modernity” shows the real and decisive commitment that the Chinese leadership has made in the field of renewable energies thanks to the personal commitment of the young and dynamic Minister of Energy Resources, Lu Hao, who wants to make Shenzhen a pilot center for research and development in the generation of energy from the sea by the National Ocean Technology Center.

Precisely in Shenzhen earlier this year, the Marine Economy Expo was held, showcasing advances in wave energy research and production, and exploring the use of hydrogen as a potential source of clean energy.

Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the universe.

In nature, however, it is not available in its purely gaseous form, but only “lives” when it is bound with other elements such as oxygen in water (two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms, H2O) and methane (one carbon and four hydrogen atoms) is. CH4).

What can hydrogen be useful for if it dissolves from its accompanying elements in water and gas?

The answer is simple: it is a light gas, lighter than air, with no toxic properties, which, if properly extracted and stored, can and can provide energy to heat houses, power cars, trains, planes and all other forms of transport Can potentially replace all currently non-renewable energy sources such as coal or oil to provide clean energy for all industrial production processes.

However, separating hydrogen from oxygen and carbon is not a simple and inexpensive process: First, extraction from methane to produce what is known as “gray hydrogen” requires large amounts of traditional energy and is therefore a source of collateral greenhouse gases and pollution.

To produce “clean” hydrogen instead, the so-called “green hydrogen” has to be extracted from water by separating it from oxygen through electrolysis. However, electrolysis has the disadvantage that large amounts of electricity are required to work. In order to generate clean energy from hydrogen, we are therefore in the paradoxical situation of having to consume large amounts of electricity at high costs and with the same high level of CO2 emissions.

This paradox slowed the production of industrial hydrogen until the idea of ​​creating a “green” hydrogen production cycle using renewable energies such as wind, solar or ocean energy emerged.

This special process creates a virtuous and very simple cycle: Hydrogen is extracted from sea water and the energy generated by the movement of waves and ocean currents is used to generate the energy required for water electrolysis.

Hydrogen is a virtually inexhaustible source of renewable energy, and its industrial-scale production could once and for all solve the “dialectic” between development and the environment.

In the summer of last year, the European Union had already planned the first implementation of the “Green Deal” with a 470 billion euro investment project called “Hydrogen Energy Strategy”, which is intended to create the conditions for all European partners to be able to produce “Greener “Hydrogen by electrolysis with a view to achieving the annual production of at least one million tons of hydrogen in gaseous form by the end of 2024 with widespread use of electrolysers with a single output of 100 megawatts.

As mentioned above, the ‘recovery plan’ for Italy foresees an allocation of EUR 47 billion for research and development in the field of renewable energies and in particular in the field of ‘green’ energy production, as recently stated by the Minister for Ecological Change, Roberto Cingolani .

Other European countries are also betting on the future of hydrogen.

Spain has already earmarked 1.5 billion euros from its national budget for national hydrogen production over the next two years, while Portugal intends to invest a large part of the 186 billion euros allocated to it under the “recovery plan” in projects that the Dedicated to production of hydrogen are more cost-effective “green” hydrogen.

Italy is at the forefront of research into facilities for generating marine energy.

With the support of ENI, CDP, Fincantieri and Terna, the Polytechnic University of Turin has developed a cutting-edge technology for generating energy from wave movements.

This is the Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC), a machine that is housed in a 15 meter long hull and, thanks to a system of gyroscopes and sensors, can generate 250 megawatts of “green” energy per year, sea area of ​​only 150 square meters, without negative ones Effects on the ecosystem.

Italy can rightly claim to be at the forefront of research and generation of energy from ocean waves and can therefore rightly take the lead from those who plan to “green” hydrogen using the energy generated by the waves for that needed for electrolysis Producing energy: a virtuous cycle that may be the protagonist of a future industrial revolution.

This explains the interest and attention paid to Italy and some of its companies by the Chinese Ministry of Energy Resources and its Minister Lu Hao.

Minister Lu Hao has turned the city of Shenzhen into a so-called “global ocean central city”, which – thanks in part to a joint venture between the Italian Eldor and the Chinese National Ocean Technology Center – was founded as the worldwide pilot center for the production of cleaner To become energy from ocean waves.

In the not too distant future, with the wise support of all Italian institutions – starting with the Ministry of Ecological Change – along with other European partners and probably with the support of the United States, led by President Biden-Italy and China, albeit with suspicion in the Be able to initiate and develop the “blue economy” revolution, the sea-based economy, the latest fad in smart, clean and sustainable power generation.

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