Enel has taken a major step forward in its drive to develop innovative and environmentally-friendly technologies by starting construction of a world-first hydrogen-fuelled combined cycle power plant.

The Italian utility is investing EUR47 million in the project, which will see construction of a 12 MW power plant that uses hydrogen from a nearby petrochemical complex as fuel. Waste heat from the plant will also be used to generate an additional 4 MWe at a neighbouring coal fired power plant.

The project is part of Enel’s ‘Environment and Innovation’ project, which envisages investments in new renewables and other environmentally-friendly technologies of EUR7.4 billion by 2012. It is also part of Venice’s Hydrogen Park project, which seeks to promote and develop hydrogen technologies for use in transport and electricity generation.

The plant is being constructed on the site of Enel’s Andrea Palladio plant at Fusina, next to the petrochemical facility of Porto Marghera, Venice. It will receive hydrogen via a 4 km pipeline, while waste heat from the plant’s turbine will be used to produce steam for the neighbouring coal fired plant’s steam turbine.

The plant is expected to enter service in 2009.