If you want to – and you understand Italian – you can also watch the interview on YouTube.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): Good morning everyone. We are back with a new
interview in the context of the FCHgo project. Today we welcome Federico Soragni from the
company GRAF S.p.A of Nonantola – we are still in the hydrogen valley, in the province of
Modena, with a new company, a new firm, I say new for the project – as a stakeholder within
the project – and we are interested and curious to know what GRAF does in Nonantola and
how GRAF is connected to hydrogen. Please tell us.
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): Good morning, good morning everyone. Well GRAF
S.p.A. is a company that has been operating for 25 years in the field of compression and
distribution of methane gas for motor vehicles. That’s why we manufacture precisely those
systems that go afterwards to the service areas and which are used to fill vehicles. As far as
hydrogen is concerned, of course, the field is always the same, so it is always a question of
building those systems that are used for the compression of gas and the following distribution
for vehicles. Compression is a fundamental factor because it allows a sufficient quantity of
gas to accumulate in a tank in order to ensure the vehicle autonomy so that it can move and
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): So hydrogen…Since when have you been approaching
hydrogen and either way are you working also to exploit, let’s say, this vector or in any way to
exploit the energy that comes out from hydrogen?
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): As far as hydrogen is concerned, in recent years and since
many years we have started to launch activities related to it. In the last few years our interest
in hydrogen has increased both because we have received many expressions of interest and
because the green tech cluster we joined plays a great role and it is an excellent tool to deepen
this topic bringing together all the companies involved in the production, compression and
distribution of hydrogen at regional level. Actually, Emilia Romagna is a strategic region, as
we said, from this point of view, which in recent years has launched a series of activities,
especially through the participation in the European thematic Roundtables. There is a table in
which the region of Emilia Romagna participates about hydrogen with other European
regions, and so, especially here in Emilia Romagna there is a keen interest in hydrogen.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): That’s right. We discovered this thanks to FCHgo and
we are happy to give voice also to this network and to what the region and all the local
authorities are doing and promoting in order to foster clean energy and to promote a new
culture, because that’s what it is, even for you as a company that was born with certain goals,
further development, further growth. You told me backstage about the markets or other
countries in the world that contact you, so it’s also a way to broaden your relationships. I don’t
know if it means anything compared to this, because you were telling me about hydrogen.
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): Yes, clearly there are other countries that have already
developed a distribution network, especially in Asia, where reference is made in particular at
the moment to South Korea and Japan, in these two countries there is already a hydrogen
distribution network for motor vehicles. Meaning that in recent times, the main Korean and
Japanese car brands have released hydrogen-powered car models. Clearly the prices are not
yet as competitive as diesel or petrol. In short, with traditional fuels, but obviously the fact
that such models have been produced and presented makes it clear that there is a growing
interest in this issue and that in the next few years we will probably see a circulation of these
cars… By the way, here in Modena there is a dealer who has presented a model of this
hydrogen car and if someone wants to test it, he is absolutely free to do so.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): We go to find it right away, then, give us the references.
We’ll certainly go to see it. We can also mention the brands of these cars, I know Toyota,
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): That’s right, the major ones are Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): That’s right, that’s right. And listen, just to get into the
pragmatic side of our chat, could you please tell the young people that are watching us what
you do? Do you make the recharging columns?
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): We make the compression system required in order to
bring hydrogen to the needed pressure, as to guarantee a sufficient quantity of gas to refuel
the vehicle. So, we both have the compression element and the distribution. The column is
certainly the visible part but there is a system behind it that serves to supply this column.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): Interesting. I always say this in these interviews too, I
always stimulate young people, especially we are addressing primary and secondary schools
but also upper secondary schools, so there are children who will then have to make a choice
for their future and make the leap from high school to jump directly into the world of work or
to undertake a certain course of study. And I have to tell the truth, every time we point out
the fact that this is a sector in wide expansion. Let’s say new but in reality it is not new. Let’s
say current or expanding or in any case now under the spotlight and of a great interest both at
national level and at European level and international level and therefore certainly also an
encouragement for children to ponder a choice in this direction. I imagine that it is right to
give it and you are the example of this concreteness and of this way of going forward, also
grapple with these new resources and new experiments. Do you want to give some advice,
recommendations also regarding your special company or its path? Also about how did you
arrived to hydrogen, by addressing young people?
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): Firstly, I wanted to say, I want to take this opportunity to
remind that GRAF is always open to welcome new forces. We have been working with
schools for years, in particular, because we also have a division that handles electrical panels
for automation. That’s why we already have collaborations to this effect with high schools. In
general GRAF is a reality that has always paid great attention to the training of young
recruits, so, how can I say, we are always very open. As far as the interest of the new
generations in hydrogen in general is concerned, I think it is always part of the great topic that
is renewable energy and sustainability. And I think this topic is one of those that is most dear
to those who. I am 32 years old, and let’s say that until recently I belonged to this group but it
is one of the issues on which the future will probably be played out, not only work-related, of
our country and Europe, and I am proud that this issue has become one of the main themes of
development policies at European level. Here it is.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): Of course, yes. Absolutely
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): The Next Generation Program will be, in my opinion, an
excellent opportunity to spread and not only increase awareness, but also concretely develop
new technologies and disseminate new forms of sustainable energy.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): Absolutely. This is also the aim of our project, as well as
many other European projects that go in this direction and that we have also interviewed. Let’s
say giving some addresses to those generations, the younger generations, that certainly have a
greater sensitivity than we could have had on environmental issues, on the impact on the
planet and on what will happen and how we need to start or already act in a different way
from what has been done so far. I’d say we’ve said it all, I don’t know if you want to add
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): I have nothing else to add except that I would clearly
remind that GRAF is always ready to welcome new ideas.
Barbara Grazzini (InEuropa srl): This is great, thank you. Maybe we will invite GRAF to
promote the FCHgo competition, the international competition with the schools you are
already in relationship with, also maybe supporting them in the creation of new ideas to
participate to the competition. I am launching it there as a encouragement. We thank Federico
Soragni, thank you for your willingness and openness, good luck with the hydrogen and
everything that will come. Thank you.
Federico Soragni (GRAF S.p.A): Thank you.