Italy launches first clean hydrogen power plant


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 14, 2009 at 12:31 PM EDT

Italian power company Enel said Friday that it had started up a ground-breaking hydrogen-powered electricity plant producing no greenhouse gases.

Enel said the 12 megawatt plant, at Fusina in Venice's industrial zone of Porto Marghera, was the first of its kind in the world to operate on such a scale.

Powered by hydrogen by-products from local petrochemical industries such as the Eni group's Polimeri Europa factory, it can meet the needs of 20,000 families, while saving emissions equivalent to more than 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to Enel.

The power station forms part of a project dubbed Hydrogen Park, which is backed by the Venice region and Italy's environment minister to the tune of four million euros (5.6 million dollars).

The project aims to develop research into the uses of hydrogen, a clean gas which produces only water when it burns.

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