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Green Independence: said and done

The Italian startup joins GreenHydrogenTech Accelerator thanks to a new generation of solar panels converting wastewater into electricity and green hydrogen


"Green" hydrogen is climbing the popularity rankings among decarbonized energy sources considered most attractive for the energy transition. But green hydrogen still needs research and trials to develop ever better technological solutions for its entire value chain: production, transport, storage, consumption. Many big Italian companies are working in this field, but there's also a great number of innovative startups and scaleups that can give their fresh perspective on new technologies and approaches.

That's wht Officine Innovazione - a company of the Italian Deloitte network, offering innovation development and management services - launched the GreenHydrogenTech Accelerator. An initiative mainly based in Italy, focused on the international scouting of startups, scaleups and the most promising research projects in the sector.

GreenHydrogenTech Accelerator also operates through a specific ecosystem of partners who do different things but within the same vision. Officine Innovazione started its ecosystem with Acea Group as Main Partner, the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) as Scientific Partner and SMAU as Ecosystem Partner.

GreenHydrogenTech Accelerator received applications from more than 260 new companies and, in the end, selected three winning startups. One each from Italy (Green Independence), USA (Ways 2h), the Netherlands (Hyet E –Trol).

Independence from fossil fuels

Green Independence is developing a waste-to-hydrogen solar panel that works independently from the grid and is able to extract electricity, drinking water and green hydrogen from watewater.

The company was founded in 2020 by Alessandro Monticelli, who describes it as follows: "We want to lead the energy transition by converting the current energy paradigm, based on fossil fuels, into a system made of many decentralized units capable of using and storing zero-emission energy. Imagine a world where railway stations, airports, ports, our homes can produce, store, distribute green hydrogen. Our proprietary technology, which consists of a new generation solar panel, makes it possible to achieve this goal."

Green Independence developed a new kind of solar panels, called NAL (New Artificial Leaf), described as “the evolution of solar panels” that “works just like a leaf”. NAL can purify wastewater into distilled or drinking water, using only heat dissipated by the photovoltaic panel itself. It can generate electricity like a classic photovoltaic panel, but with better efficiency thanks to an integrated cooling and cleaning system.

NAL can also produce green hydrogen directly in the panel, to accumulate the energy surplus of the panel in hydrogen instead of a battery. The NAL panels work disconnected from the electrical grid and can be easily installed even in non-industrial contexts. Green Independence estimates that installing 50 square meters of NAL panels for each person in Italy would be enough to make the country independent from fossil fuels.

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