Zaha Hadid Architects unveils hydrogen refuelling stations for Italian marinas

British studio Zaha Hadid Architects is creating 100 refuelling stations in Italian marinas for energy company NatPower as the “world’s first green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure”.

Designed to be used by recreational boats, the refuelling stations by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) will supply green hydrogen – a type of hydrogen produced using renewable energy.

The first charging station is set to be installed this summer, with 100 planned to be built in 25 Italian marinas and ports by 2030 funded by a €100 million investment led by NatPower H, which is part of energy company NatPower.

Render of refuelling stations by NatPower H and Zaha Hadid Architects
The project is set to deliver 100 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2030

The charging stations form part of an effort to encourage the adoption of boats powered by green hydrogen for short trips. Hydrogen can be used to generate electrical power in a fuel cell, emitting only water vapour and warm air – unlike polluting combustion engines.

“Installing the infrastructure to deliver green hydrogen, NatPower H aims to create a network of sustainable energy hubs in all major Italian marinas and establish ideal conditions to facilitate the ongoing development and use of hydrogen-powered vessels,” the studio said.

According to the studio, the 100 stations could eliminate approximately 45,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the area’s recreational boats each year.

Close-up render of refuelling station by ZHA and NatPower H
The 3D-printed structures draw on the area’s natural landscape

The stations will each be divided into eight curved bays and made from 3D-printed concrete blocks with a layered composition designed to echo geometrics found in marine life.

According to the studio, the 50-square-metre stations will be fully recyclable and built from dry-assembled sections to minimise construction waste.

“Built with low-carbon concrete, the structural strength of ZHA’s hydrogen refuelling stations is generated through geometry rather than an increased use of materials,” Zaha Hadid Architects director Filippo Innocenti said.

Integrating the latest innovations in construction techniques with the historic engineering developed throughout the Mediterranean by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, the stations use advanced circular building technologies, reflecting NatPower H’s commitment to an ecologically responsible future.

The design follows research by ZHA’s Computation and Design Research Group (ZHA Code) on masonry structures, 3D-printed concrete and sustainable digital concrete construction developed alongside Block Research Group and Incremental3D.

Other projects exploring hydrogen refuelling technologies include a mirror-polished stainless-steel refuelling station by French designer Philippe Starck designed to give a futuristic feel.

The renders are by Tecma Solutions.

Project credits:

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Principal: Patrik Schumacher
Project director: Filippo Innocenti
Project associate: Luciano Letteriello
ZHA code: Tommaso Casucci, Heba Eiz, Oliver Moldow, Taeyoon Kim, Binru Wang, Jianfei Chu, Vishu Bhooshan, Henry Louth, Shajay Bhooshan
ZHA videography: Henry Virgin
Strategic positioning: Baglietto
American’s cup partnership: BlueGame
Hydrogen technology consultant: BluEnergy Revolution
Project management & engineering advisor: Fichtner Media & PR: Havas
Hydrogen and technology partner: Linde
Legal consultant partner: Studio Maresca Safety Advisor: Sige
Communication and images: Tecma Solutions

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