Italy welcomes the world’s first green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for recreational boating: a project led by NatPower H, part of the NatPower group, already adhered to by twenty-five Italian marinas and ports where the stations, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, will be built.
The project, set to see its first station installed by the summer of 2024, is worth 100 million euros and aims to install a total of 100 refuelling stations over the next six years, as well as export the model to other areas beyond the Mediterranean Sea.
“On the back of a renewable project pipeline that already exceeds 23 GW, we decided to create NatPower H – the first global operator for the production, storage and distribution of green hydrogen – to build the world’s first hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for recreational boating,” stated Fabrizio Zago, Group CEO NatPower. “We believe hydrogen to be one of the most efficient solutions capable of driving the energy transition of the entire recreational boating and yachting industry. Specifically, the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier through fuel cells and electric motors is proving to be one of the most promising options, offering excellent performance while respecting the environment.”
The boating industry, as we have seen, is doing its part to build increasingly sustainable vessels, and numerous shipyards are promoting solutions to reduce the impact of their operations on the ecosystem. The demarcating of protected marine areas in which the use of diesel engines is now banned, further underscores the importance of sustainability also for yachts and mega-yachts, driving the entire industry towards eco-friendly innovations. This rapid energy transition is currently held back, however, by the lack of infrastructure for distribution and refuelling with zero-impact energy sources.
Through this project, therefore, NatPower H aims to install sustainable energy hubs in major Italian marinas and create the ideal conditions to facilitate the development and use of hydrogen-powered vessels.
“The Italian shipbuilding industry ranks first in the world in terms of the number of boats built, and our aim is to facilitate the energy transition of this crucial market, promoting the use of hydrogen-powered yachts and boats with no direct Co2 emissions,”stated Andrea Minerdo, CEO NatPower H. “Although the project has only just been launched, we already have a pipeline of 25 agreements with Italian marinas and ports, allowing us to start developing a global network of widespread hydrogen fuel stations.”
Thus, NatPower H has also signed an agreement with Zaha Hadid Architects, adding an additional dimension to the infrastructure. Designed with a focus on the Mediterranean context In response to the demand for straightforward, ecologically responsible, innovative, and low-tech facilities, these stations can be strategically situated at various locations along the Mediterranean coasts, respecting the unique cultural heritage of each place.
Incorporating local materials like sands and soils, along with low-carbon impact cement, not only diminishes the ecological footprint but also facilitates the creation of organic forms that seamlessly blend with the built environment, celebrating the beauty and diversity of the landscape.
Utilizing cutting-edge techniques in robotic material placement, the stations are fully recyclable as non-reinforced, dry-assembled masonry, eliminating the need for carpentry during construction. This innovation sets a new standard for waste reduction and enhances material efficiency.
“ZHA’s Hydrogen Refuel boating stations will be built with unreinforced low-energy digital concrete. With structural strength arising from geometry rather than engineered materials, we found a connection between the established past of ancient construction techniques and advanced sustainable, circular technologies. This reflects NatPower-H’s dedication to an ecologically responsible future.“ said Filippo Innocenti, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects.
NatPower H has designed and developed a green hydrogen fuel solution based on three key principles: safety, scalability and complete sustainability. The NatPower H stations will supply hydrogen using the best technologies in compliance with current regulations and with a meticulous focus on the circularity and protection of the marine ecosystem.
With a view to promoting the widespread use of green hydrogen also on an international scale, NatPower H has announced that it is the official technical sponsor of Bluegame in the America’s Cup 2024. The former, in fact, has signed an innovative agreement for the design and construction of hydrogen-powered chase boats for two of the six teams participating in the 37th America’s Cup. NatPower H will support both the New York Club American Magic (US) and the Orient Express (FR) teams for the supply of green hydrogen and implementation of safe refuelling procedures for the two chase boats during testing and preparation for the competition.
The partnership is part of a broader program involving talks by NatPower H with key players in the international boating industry, including Baglietto shipyards, demonstrating how the widespread distribution of hydrogen to the growing sustainable yachting market, is today effectively possible.
The project is also developed in collaboration with Baglietto, BluEnergy Revolution, Bluegame, Fichtner, Linde, Studio Maresca, S.i.g.e., Tecma Solutions and Zaha Hadid Architects.
NatPower H, a pioneering global developer of innovative technologies for the production, storage and distribution of green hydrogen.
NatPower is an independent developer of infrastructural projects for clean energy generation, providing support to enterprises, utilities and investors globally. The company, boasting one of the largest renewable energy project pipelines in the world—totalling more than 20 GW—drives the energy transition process across all major technologies including solar, wind, storage and hydrogen. In just a few years, NatPower has secured its standing as one of the most prominent independent developers, actively operating in 7 different countries: Italia, Regno Unito, Kazakhstan, US, Canada, Tunisia e Cile. NatPower operates from offices in Milan, London and Washington D.C. and has a workforce of more than 70 employees across three continents.