Since 2006, Brenner Motorway has had a 20% share in the Institut für Innovative Technologien (I.I.T.). The aim of this body is to create an industrial base for the production of hydrogen from renewable energies. One of the most prominent development programs is the construction of an H2-refuelling station every 100 km along the Munich-Modena section (a total length of 650 km). In March this year, the A22 board of directors decided to go ahead with the construction of the first pilot plant in Bolzano South. The district town of the province of South Tyrol will therefore see the first of five plants dedicated by Brenner Motorway for the generation and distribution of green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen generated solely from renewable energy sources (sun, wind, water, i.e. solar power, wind power and hydro power).
The Autostrada del Brennero SPA development plan also includes the construction of further plants in the Brenner Pass, near Nogaredo and at the A4 and A1 motorway junctions.
Autostrada del Brennero SPA has also implemented a plan for testing the use of fuel cells in order to guaranty the energy independence of several technical installations along the length of the motorway. The power supply of the various ITS (Intelligent Traffic Systems) will be generated with help of hydrogen, which will not be burned but mixed with oxygen in a controlled chemical reaction. One of the great advantages of this type of energy generation is that the only by-products resulting from the chemical reaction using pure hydrogen in the process instead of a hydrogen-enriched fossil fuel are heat and water.
The aim of the project is the medium- to long-term promotion of hydrogen as a new source of energy in order to be able to manage the problem of CO2 emissions and to provide some of the technical installations with an independent power source.
An area near the Bolzano Sud tollbooth owned by the Brenner Motorway, has been designated as the site of the first plant for the production and supply of hydrogen for use on the A22 and in the surrounding areas.
The installation of the above-named hydrogen pilot plant has the aims to support the creation of new industrial and skilled trade activities, to develop a broad general knowledge base with regard to hydrogen technology and to promote renewable energy sources as a whole.
Different reasons led to the decision to install a hydrogen pilot plant, the main one being the site’s strategically advantageous location, as the pilot plant is situated almost in the middle of the Munich-Modena motorway section and near the Bolzano city limits, as identified by the IIT’s industrial development programme. Bolzano has already started to explore the development of renewable energy sources.
In addition, a hydrogen production and supply plant in this area can also be used to refuel both the Province of Bolzano’s public transport vehicles which currently run on natural gas, as well as private vehicles.