Edison revamped Italian plant is powered by hydrogen and natural gas

Edison has inaugurated what it claims is the most efficient thermoelectric power plant in Italy which can be powered by hydrogen and natural gas.

The 780MW plant at Marghera Levante marks the revamp of an existing thermoelectric power plant, built in 1964 and constantly renewed in terms of technology, to the extent that it became the first natural gas combined cycle in Italy in 1992.

It consists of a 515 MW class ‘H’ turbine from Ansaldo Energia – technologically ready for the use of up to 50% hydrogen mixed with natural gas – a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) with a catalytic system for the reduction of nitrogen oxides (SCR) inside, and a 265 MW steam turbine (TVB).

Construction work took four years to complete, employing up to 1,000 workers during peak times and 250 suppliers, for a total investment of around €400m.

It ensures a reduction of specific emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx mg/kWh) by up to 70% and of carbon emissions (CO2 mg/kWh) by up to 30% compared to the current average of the Italian thermoelectric park.

Nicola Monti, Edison CEO said its latest-generation plant is highly strategic for the flexibility and adequacy of the national electricity system.

She said, “A goal we set as a responsible operator, leader in the country’s energy transition. Edison has in its DNA the ability to innovate, as reflected in its 140 years of industrial leadership. And, today, we celebrate this important milestone thanks to the synergies with Veneto, a highly dynamic region, and our partnership with an Italian excellence such as Ansaldo Energia.”

“Our Group has an investment plan amounting to 10 billion euros between now and 2030 dedicated to the energy transition, half of which for the growth in renewable energy. And the new plant of Marghera is a tangible proof of how different technologies can work towards the common goal of decarbonisation, to ensure security of energy supply and economic sustainability.”

Marco Stangalino, Executive Vice President and Head of Edison Power Asset Division, said the construction of the new power plant was a major challenge, first due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then to high market volatility.

He said, “In spite of everything, we have continued to work with determination, aware that the new Marghera Levante plant is a strategic asset for the country to enable grid balancing and at the same time to accelerate the development of new installations from renewables, to which we are also committed with ambitious growth targets.”

“For us at Edison, Marghera Levante is a record-breaking plant: it was the Group’s first thermoelectric power plant in the 1960s, the first gas turbine power plant with class-E turbines in 1992, and first one with class-F turbines in 2001.

“Having been constantly upgraded, it is now the first plant of its kind in Italy, thanks to the outstanding work of local businesses and Edison people alike, who made it possible to complete the revamping without interrupting the supply of electricity to the system and technological steam to the surrounding chemical hub.”

Fabrizio Fabbri, Ansaldo Energia CEO, said to see its first GT36 ready to support the country’s electricity production provided satisfaction.

He said, “This latest-generation turbine is a highly performing machine characterised by unprecedented technological innovation, also in terms of green fuels. We do not hide our pride in having collaborated with Edison on such an important project and we hope this is just the first of many opportunities and strategic partnerships to come.”

The revamp involved dismantling gas turbines TG3 and TG4, which had been installed in 1992, heat recovery steam generators GVR3 and GVR4, steam turbine TV1, and steam generator B2. The plant’s structure itself was also rationalised, reducing the number of chimneys from 5 to 3, with an improved visual impact as a result.

When the new production set-up became fully operational, the 2001 TG5 and TV2 generating sets, which ensured the continuity of steam supply to the plants in the Marghera industrial area and of electricity to the national grid during the construction phase, were kept in reserve as a back-up in the event of plant maintenance.

With 7.2 GW of installed capacity distributed across the country, Edison covers 7% of the Italian electricity production. In 2022, Edison produced 19.7 TWh of electricity, including 3.4 TWh of green energy (wind, photovoltaic and hydroelectric).

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