RHM Pilot Plant - Integrated Renewable-Hydrogen-Magnesium (RHM) pilot plant for green-energy high-capacity production

LIFE10 ENV/IT/000323

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Project description:


The reduction of the Earth's carrying capacity by inundation and the desertification of inhabited areas has adversely affected global food chains and worsened health conditions. These are some dramatic effects of climate change. This threat to security of life and human living conditions must be avoided by a fast transition to emission-free technologies and use of inexhaustible renewable sources. Many Mediterranean regions in the EU suffer from water shortages and are seen as unproductive because of their low populations. However, the availability of much sunlight and free land close to seawater are precious resources and inexhaustible free reservoirs of carbon-free (‘green’) energy. Two main issues must be addressed: The environmental impact of hydrogen production; and the key factors that adversely affect the market competitiveness of hydrogen as an energy carrier.


The RHM Pilot Plant project aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility of pilot plant producing hydrogen and magnesium from renewable resources (solar irradiation and seawater). The project seeks to demonstrate that industrial-scale production of magnesium and hydrogen is possible through fine adjustments to, and integration of, available technologies such as (i) desalination plants; (ii) magnesium electrolysis in extractive metallurgy; (iii) solar thermal power; and (iv) water electrolysis in hydrogen production. The project also seeks to show the financial sustainability and potential market penetration of the RHM technology, including how the capital costs related to the set up and running of an integrated RHM plant can be greatly leveraged. Wide dissemination of the project results is a main objective. Many social and environmental issues could be avoided by setting up a hydrogen energy-system through the use of a supply-chain based on hydrogen stored by solid magnesium hydrides, which can be safely transported.

Expected results: The project expects to achieve:

    • A total reduction of at least 80% of the carbon dioxide produced using current magnesium extraction via electrolysis;
    • 100% ‘green-hydrogen’ production, through the use of a fully renewable electricity source to power the water electrolysis unit (namely a solar thermal unit);
    • A very low global warming potential (GWP) pathway to produce energy stocks made of magnesium hydrides (MgH2);
    • A lifecycle assessment (LCA) of the RHM plant will be conducted from the production phase through to the MgH2 packaging stage;
    • The project will conduct a market introduction impact analysis in Europe, showcasing the environmental benefits of the large scale use of green-hydrogen that is safely and cost-effectively delivered as an alternative energy carrier for fuelling the automotive sector;
    • Results will be widely disseminated to policymakers, as well as industries involved in hydrogen production and use.



Environmental issues addressed:


Climate change Mitigation - Renewable energies


emission reduction‚  greenhouse gas‚  renewable energy

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Politecnico di Milano
Type of organisation Research institution
Description The engineering department of the Polytechnic of Milan has specific expertise in metallic and metal-matrix composite materials. The department’s research includes a focus on energy and the environment, the main drivers for developing novel materials that can be used in reliable and sustainable energy generation.
Partners ACTA S.p.a, Italy Piping Engineering Constructions (PEC) S.r.l., Italy


Project reference LIFE10 ENV/IT/000323
Duration 01-JAN-2012 to 31-DEC -2015
Total budget 4,108,695.00 €
EU contribution 1,764,910.00 €
Project location Liguria(Italia) Lombardia(Italia) Puglia(Italia)


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