The Ansaldo Energia Group has been working in the Emirates for 28 years, where our presence has grown more and more significantly over the years. Our first project here was Mirfa in 1995, and since then we have accumulated a series of important success stories in the area, leading Ansaldo Energia to build a new plant in Abu Dhabi in 2010, reflecting the excellence in manufacturing of the local company Ansaldo Energia Gulf, and to complete “MESH”, the Middle East Service Hub providing rapid service to customers in the area, in 2017. Last year, Ansaldo Energia opened Integrated Plant Support Middle East, a new diagnostics centre which – in close collaboration with a similar centre at the Group’s Genoa headquarters – permits year-round 24/7 monitoring of the machines in the power plants, providing remote predictive diagnostics services. Ansaldo Energia has now installed about 3.5 GW and provides service for over 4 GW of power.
This is a necessary introduction, because Ansaldo Green Tech – established in June 2021 as a spin-off of Ansaldo Energia – draws on its parent company’s experience and ability to respond to customers’ requirements. Ansaldo Green Tech is an Ansaldo Energia company addressing all the challenges of the energy transition, with a mission to develop products for the energy transition, accelerate evolution toward increasingly sustainable forms of energy, optimise production and storage of electricity and facilitate the transition, preventing waste of resources, inefficiency and inconvenience.
We know that the Arab Emirates have an ambitious energy policy aiming to achieve 14 GW of installed power from renewable sources by 2030, including 8 GW from photovoltaic installations, which we know to be an inherently intermittent source, meaning that energy storage facilities are essential in view of the strong growth of renewables. Ansaldo Green Tech responds to the global challenge of energy storage and optimisation with its principal technologies: energy storage – primarily thermodynamic energy, thanks to Energy Dome technology used under licence, in electrochemical form – and development of hydrogen-related technologies.
Energy storage is the most urgent component enabling the energy transition, and could represent an initial opportunity for collaboration. Ansaldo Green Tech has identified two energy storage technologies which overcome the limitations of lithium batteries and have the capacity to accumulate large quantities of energy (200 MWh) with the same power, making them appropriate for Large PV Farms.
The first technology for accumulation of energy by compressing CO2 is already available and has been validated in a demonstration plant in Italy (CO2 Battery), for which Ansaldo Green Tech has a licence from Energy Dome. This technology requires large spaces, as it involves construction of a “dome” containing CO2 at atmospheric pressure, a feature appropriate for the local conditions in effect in the Emirates.
A second, electrochemical technology, also capable of accumulating large quantities of energy, with the same power, is VRFB - Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries – which can also meet smaller energy requirements than the previous technology (modular size of 20 MWh).
The features of the Gulf area ensure that both the technologies Ansaldo Green Tech is working on could be of great interest for development, as both energy storage and hydrogen are highly pertinent not only to future programmes but to the present. The Emirates are introducing major investment in low-carbon fuels and production of green hydrogen, and by 2030 the entire UAE area will lead the way with production of 25% of the world’s green hydrogen. Ansaldo Green Tech is developing two important technologies for production of electrolysers, and work is due to begin in Ansaldo Energia’s manufacturing plants in the next few months on production lines for the first electrolysers.
These developments may have productive repercussions here, in the Emirates: our presence in the area, and Ansaldo Energia’s highly positive experience in Service, suggests that we might set up new partnerships and expand the Group’s work in the area with construction of electrolysers – when the product is consolidated –in the area.