Iris Ceramica Opening Hydrogen-Powered Factory in Italy
Milan/Fiorano Modenese, Italy, August 7, 2023-Iris Ceramica Group-holding company of U.S. based manufacturing facility Stonepeak Ceramics-has partnered with Edison Next, a company of Edison Group, which leads clients and territories in their decarbonization and ecological transition journey, to develop H2 Factory.
H2 Factory is a new, ground-breaking production plant based in Castellarano (province of Reggio Emilia, Northern Italy) that will entirely use green hydrogen–powered by renewable energy and produced using a pioneering, bespoke system.
With this agreement, Iris Ceramica Group and Edison Next are launching the first project for the decarbonization of the ceramic industry using green hydrogen. This initiative marks the start of a new journey towards the decarbonization of a particularly energy-intensive industrial sector, which is a crucial contribution for achieving the energy transition objectives of both Italy and the ceramic district.
The ceramic district, concentrated between the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, is a strategic area of this production sector.
The partnership between Iris Ceramica Group and Edison Next marks the start of the second phase of a project. The first step towards decarbonization was completed last year, with Iris Ceramica Group working on the feasibility and implementation of the H2 Factory and the hosting of the green hydrogen production system, using the highest design standards. The use of this energy vector in the production process requires specific measures, not only in terms of facilities-the kiln needs to be engineered to be powered by a blend of hydrogen and natural gas-but also in terms of strategic construction works which include rainwater collection tanks, a photovoltaic system on the factory’s roof, and specific hydrogen production and storage areas. The company also installed all the hydrogen distribution systems throughout the plant.
The factory, which will be powered by hydrogen starting in 2025, will produce large slabs in 4D Ceramics-where the fourth dimension refers to sustainability-and large full-body technical porcelain stoneware surfaces in thicknesses 12 and 20 mm, which are particularly ideal for the luxury furnishing sector.
For Iris Ceramica Group’s H2 Factory in Italy, Edison Next will build a 1 MW green hydrogen production system based on electrolysis, powered by renewable energy. This is part of Iris Ceramica Group’s major investment of 50 million euro for the construction of the new hydrogen-driven factory for the production of large slabs.
The electrolyzer uses rainwater from collection tanks, which fosters virtuous water management following the circular economy's principles. The project also involves the installation of another 1.2 MW photovoltaic system, in addition to the existing 2 MW one.
The hydrogen will be used particularly to feed the kiln, using a mix of up to 50% of natural gas, while a kiln 100% hydrogen powered is under study.
The expected production, around 132 tons of green hydrogen per year, will replace about 500,000 cubic meters of methane gas per year. Right from the start, the blend will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, saving around 900 tons of CO2 per year.
This agreement is a key step along Iris Ceramica Group’s decarbonization journey, which may involve the development of green hydrogen production systems in other factories of the group.