Acwa Power signs pacts with Italian companies to explore green hydrogen projects

Six deals between the Saudi Arabian company and Italian businesses include study to develop water desalination and exchange of expertise

The Jubail 3A desalination plant In Saudi Arabia. Acwa power is one of the biggest private sector utilities in the world. Photo: Acwa Power
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Saudi Arabia's private utility developer Acwa Power has signed partnership agreements with six Italian companies to explore development of green hydrogen and water desalination projects.

The agreements signed at the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum in Milan will allow increased collaboration on research and development and exchange of expertise, Acwa said on Monday.

The six Italian bodies include the small, medium and large enterprises federation Confindustria, global energy major Eni, utility and waste management company A2A, industrial solutions provider Industrie De Nora, speciality additives manufacturer Italmatch Chemicals and classification and engineering solutions provider Rina.

“The collaboration between Acwa Power and our Italian counterparties will enable the exchange of crucial expertise, products, and equipment,” Acwa chief executive Marco Arcelli said.

“We hope this co-operation can lead to greater localisation of Italian companies in Saudi Arabia and establish the foundation for a powerful partnership in research and development.”

The Riyadh-listed utility has the ambition to become a “vehicle to create transformative opportunities” for Italian and European companies in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy.

It also aims to drive sustainable progress in Italy and Europe by supplying green hydrogen and technical expertise, Mr Arcelli said.

Acwa Power, which is developing a $5 billion green hydrogen-based ammonia production plant in Saudi Arabia’s smart city Neom, plans to “replicate” the project elsewhere, Andrea Lovato, global head of hydrogen at Acwa Power, told The National in February.

The green hydrogen project at Neom will use 4 gigawatts of renewable power from solar, wind and storage to produce 650 tonnes a day of hydrogen from electrolysis.

The project, expected to come on stream in 2025, will produce about 1.2 million tonnes of green ammonia a year, the company said at the time.

In May, Acwa Power signed a hydrogen purchase agreement with chemical company Uzkemyoasat in Uzbekistan, where it is developing a green hydrogen plant and a green ammonia pilot project.

Acwa on Monday said Confindustria in Italy will assess the potential for developing of green hydrogen and water desalination projects.

It will also help to identify contractors and suppliers, as well as long-term supply and manufacturing partners.

Eni and Acwa will explore co-operation in green hydrogen, renewables and research and development.

A2A and Acwa Power will explore the potential for green hydrogen projects, as well as green hydrogen imports into Italy. With Rina, Acwa will explore the possibility of green hydrogen plant as well as seaborne shipping opportunities.

Industrie De Nora will provide its expertise in electrochemistry and sustainability technologies to enhance Acwa Power’s portfolio of water desalination projects, the company said.

Under their agreement, Italmatch Chemicals and Acwa will look at the potential for localisation of water treatment products in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-Italian Investment Forum is part of the kingdom's bid to boost its nine decades-long diplomatic and trade relations with Italy.

Updated: September 04, 2023, 12:18 PM