Australian hydrogen producer Infinite Green Energy turning brownfields green in Italy

Infinite Green Energy is supporting Italy’s goal to produce green hydrogen for industrial use.

Australian renewable hydrogen producer Infinite Green Energy (IGE) expects to produce 12 tonnes of green hydrogen per day in Italy by the second half of 2026.

The company is developing its first European plant on the brownfield site at Valle Peligna in Abruzzo, central Italy. It will be Southern Europe’s largest green hydrogen project, and provide local heavy industry with clean energy to support Italy’s wider energy transition.

‘IGE’s involvement in the Valle Peligna project is a great example of how Australian hydrogen expertise and technologies can partner with Europe’s industry leaders,’ says Austrade’s Milan-based Investment Director, William Peasland. ‘Together, the 2 countries can drive decarbonisation across critical and hard-to-abate industries.’

Driving Western Australia’s energy transition

Australia is becoming a global hydrogen hub. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts Australia will be the world’s second largest net-exporter of low-emissions hydrogen by 2030.

Perth-based IGE is one of several Australian green hydrogen companies supporting Australia’s transition to net zero. ‘IGE’s vision is to leverage our expertise to commercialise large-scale green hydrogen production in Australia and worldwide,’ says co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Yolanda Zhao.

Being a smaller entrant to the energy sector offers IGE a strategic advantage. Without existing infrastructure or businesses to transition, IGE can focus on renewable hydrogen production. Its strategy is paying off, with progress well underway at 2 Western Australian sites – Arrowsmith and Northam.

Northam will supply hydrogen fuel for the domestic transport market. Arrowsmith aims to supply hydrogen for domestic and international use. The company will use road trains travelling Western Australia’s 1,640-kilometre Perth to Port Hedland route.

Helping Italy achieve its green ambitions

Western Australia is an ideal home base for IGE, with its abundant solar and wind resources, available land, and fuel demand for industry and transport use. But the company’s goal of becoming the market leader for the hydrogen industry always meant expanding offshore.

Europe, and particularly Italy, have proved a perfect next step.

To lead the European expansion, IGE drew on the local knowledge and project management expertise of former colleague and industry specialist Rocco La Rovere, now General Manager of IGE Italia.

‘We quickly realised that we had all the required resources, and the perfect conditions to develop a hydrogen plant in Abruzzo,’ says La Rovere. ‘The stars really did align for us here.’

Italy plans to cover 40% of its energy consumption with renewable energy by 2030, divided into:

  • 65% for electricity sector
  • 37% for thermal sector
  • 31% for the transport sector
  • 42% of green hydrogen for industrial use.

Moreover, there is strong local support as a green economy creates growth and employment opportunities to replace closing industries in regional areas like Valle Peligna.

Large grass fields with pipes for a renewable hydrogen plant A rendering of Infinite Green Energy’s proposed renewable hydrogen plant in Abruzzo, Italy.


Austrade helps open local doors

‘Rocco and the IGE team being on the ground helped reassure authorities that this was a very serious proposition with solid plans,’ says Peasland.

Even so, as an Australian-based company, approaching Italian authorities for approval to establish a green hydrogen plant has had some challenges.

‘At the beginning I think the idea of producing green hydrogen for the transport industry was quite new to the local and municipal authorities – along with the benefits,’ says La Rovere.

The backing of Austrade and the Australian Embassy was essential in helping provide credibility for an unknown operator, even one with demonstrated experience in its native Australia.

‘At the beginning we were in touch with William – well, maybe not quite every day …’ laughs La Rovere.

‘The size of the Arrowsmith project is quite eye-opening, especially in Italy,’ says Peasland. ‘You give the numbers and audiences suddenly start taking notice. It is clear this is a massive industrial-scale project that is actually happening, not just a pilot.’

The power of European partners

Joining forces with joint development partner Axpo Holding AG marked another milestone in the Valle Peligna project.

‘The difference in technical standards alone meant IGE needed a partner with experience in Europe to complement the Australian project experience,’ says La Rovere.

‘As a major operator in Europe, Axpo’s experience both upstream in terms of renewables and downstream in terms of possible EPAs and power purchase agreements will add enormous value.’

Bringing expertise home to Australia

Europe is an essential market for IGE, but the benefits of the Valle Peligna project may go well beyond Europe.

‘Testing our experience in a new environment has been a great learning opportunity,’ says Zhou. ‘We will bring the learnings from Italy to future developments in Australia, and on to Asia. Each project can build on another.’

As the global energy transition accelerates, pooling knowledge and expertise will be the way forward.

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