A central location that is well connected from a logistics perspective, an important technological know-how, a political and administrative context that is committed to support innovation and, last but not least, a territory rich of history and beauties that are reknown around the world and appreciated by clients and investors.
“When needing to decide on an investment in a new site or a new country, these are the most important factors,” summarizes Adamo Screnci, member of the board and executive vice president of McPhy Energy, a Grenoble based group, leader in the storage of solid hydrogen that purchased Piel di Ponsacco in 2013. Screnci, a French manager of Italian origins, was the mind behind the operation that nearly two years ago led McPhy to establish a durable presence in Tuscany. He also served as president of McPhy Italia from January to June of this year, in order to closely follow the consolidation of the group’s presence in our country. “In Italy – he states – our company already had ties to ENEL and Pisa (thanks to a contract signed in 2011 for a hydrogen storage solution) as well as already being part of the consortium, again alongside ENEL Distribuzione, working on the Ingrid project co-financed by the European Commission to build a plant for the storage of hydrogen and the distribution of 39 MWh. We were therefore well aware of the reality of Italy’s two most dynamic regions in the renewable energy sector, Tuscany and Puglia. The opportunity then presented itself with Piel, a company with electrolysis experience, which at the time had 11 employees.”
At the time of purchase, Piel, a division of ILT Technology Group, could count on a high degree of specialization in electrolysis hydrogen generators connected directly to the power grid or to renewable energy plants: nearly 3,000 installations leased to more than 1,000 clients around the world. The integration therefore represented a growth opportunity for both the Italian company, which found a group with a solid financial endowment to support its projects, as well as access to the hydrogen storage technology and the clients of the energy industry; as well as for McPhy which has, on one side, added generators to its offer, and on the other, found a portfolio of industrial clients.
“In fact, our business looks, on the one side, to the businesses that use hydrogen for industrial production and transportation, and on the other to the energy companies that require storage – Screnci continues. The innovative idea developed by McPhy is to recover the energy from renewables that is not utilized, storing it as hydrogen, to then make it available to anyone. In contrast to the norm, ours is a green hydrogen, not produced from natural gas. In this manner, we reach three goals: we free the energy networks from unutilized, excess energy; we reduce dependency on gas; and we return clean energy for industrial use, as well as innovative projects such as clean mobility.”
The marriage with Peil allowed McPhy to complete its offer towards industrial clients and to propose an “all-in-one” solution that optimizes the yield of a renewable energy plant. Since June, the Piel operation raised the bar by transferring the headquarters to San Miniato, where the new plant was opened with a number of employees that more than doubled compared to that at the time of purchase.
In partnership with IlSole24Ore