A new hydrogen plant will start in Cerignola by June

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The construction of the plant for the production of renewable hydrogen located in the disused industrial area of ​​the Cerignola interport, in Capitanata, will begin by next June. Like 4 other interventions, the one in Cerignola is financed by the resources of the regional Hydrogen Valley tender, recipient of the 40 million euros foreseen by the Pnrr for Mission 2 “Green Revolution and Ecological Transition”-Investment 3.1 “Production in disused industrial areas”. The intervention in progress is by Cerichem Biopharm, the family company of the Caiaffa group which, since 2014, has been producing and marketing medical devices and detergents in Cerignola, a core business to which it added, in July 2022, further development in the energy sector.

In fact, the purchase by Ofanto Sviluppo, a consortium company made up of the municipalities of Cerignola and San Ferdinando di Puglia, of the area on which the Cerignola interport, an intermodal loading logistics platform, had been built years earlier dates back to that date. and unloading of fruit and vegetables which never came into operation. That disused industrial area was then nominated, in the spring of 2023, for the construction of photovoltaic systems to serve the electrolyser necessary for the production of green hydrogen. Cerichem’s is one of the 5 applications – out of the 26 received in total in response to the Hydrogen Valley tender which expired on 28 February 2023 – which the Puglia Region has financed with Pnrr funds made available to all regions by the Ministry of Ecological Transition. Of the applications received, 17 were admitted for a requested contribution of 149.8 million. However, with the 40 million available, the region was able to finance the first 4 interventions in the list in full, and the last in part. In detail, the Cerichem plant – which will produce 200 tonnes of green hydrogen per year when fully operational – has obtained funding of 9.860 million. Ten were granted to Solarind Green srl of Lecce to build plants in Taranto and San Pietro Vernotico; 9.8 to Enel Produzione spa for a plant in the Federico II thermoelectric power plant in Brindisi; 10 at Ce.Ri.Sma. srl for a plant in Campi Salentina (Lecce), and 340 thousand to Panita srl, compared to the 10 million requested, for a plant in Statte, in the Taranto area. There could be some openings for Panita. In fact, already last March the region promised to resort to other resources, for example, from the FSC (Development and Cohesion Fund) or from Por Energia but everything is paralyzed by the absence of the Cohesion agreement with the Government. But it is more likely, almost certain, that the additional resources to also finance Panita will come from the Ministry of Ecological Transition together with the regions once the criteria for redistributing the residual economies of the national ceiling have been defined or from further funds from RepowerEU. The authorization procedures foreseen for the 5 interventions have been started – they assure in the region – and the Cerichem works should begin by the summer to finish well before the final deadline of June 2026, which applies to all the interventions financed by the Pnrr. «The plant planned in Cerignola – says Pio Cianci, financial director of Cerichem Biopharm – will occupy an area of ​​almost 8 hectares out of the total 30 of the former interport that the Caiaffa group took over, for 2.2 million, from Ofanto Sviluppo ». For the Caiaffa group – 50 employees and a turnover that reached 10 million in 2023 – the energy business also concerns another of its companies, Ecofan srl, which manages hazardous and non-hazardous special waste, under the integrated environmental authorization regime issued by the region.

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