As the world faces a serious climate crisis, numerous laws promoting carbon neutrality have been enacted. In August 2015, France enacted a series of measures to promote green growth (energy transition laws). Today, numerous research projects on substitutes for fossil fuels are being carried out. Among them, decarbonated hydrogen will prove to be an indispensable energy source for the future.
Hydrogen is currently an important industrial gas: 75 million tons are supplied annually to the chemical industry. France produces nearly one million tons of H2 per year, i.e. 1.5% of world production.
Today, hydrogen for industry is produced almost entirely by extracting it from natural gas using superheated steam. This steam reforming of methane, after desulfurization of natural gas, is done in two stages at high temperature (between 700°C and 1,000°C) where the hydrogen bonds are broken.
The advantage of this process is that only water is released. It will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are largely responsible for global warming.
According to some estimates, hydrogen consumption is expected to grow very strongly by 2050. The law on the energy transition for green growth sets two main objectives for 2030 :
– Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to contribute to the European objective of reducing these emissions by 40% by 2030
– Reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by 30% in 2030 compared to 2012
In order for hydrogen to be considered as a decarbonized energy, its production method must respect a low CO2 emission.
Thus, decarbonated hydrogen represents an indispensable alternative to meet European objectives, particularly in sectors that are difficult to decarbonate such as heavy mobility, industry, etc…
On September 8, 2020, France launched the “national strategy for the development of decarbonated hydrogen in France”, which will consist of :
– Decarbonizing industry, the leading consumer of hydrogen from the electrolysis process. France favors this hydrogen production process, which it considers the most promising and for which it has high-potential manufacturers.
– Deploying a heavy mobility offer running on decarbonated hydrogen. Hydrogen meets the need for high engine power and provides greater autonomy than electric batteries. It is particularly suitable for heavy vehicles.
– Supporting research and innovation and strengthening skills in the future uses of hydrogen. France aims to build a dedicated industrial sector that could create 50,000 to 15,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2030.
On July 8, 2020, the European Commission published its hydrogen strategy for the Union. It is also betting on the decarbonization of hydrogen to achieve its climate objectives and create more industrial jobs.
The Commission has therefore appointed Clean Hydrogen to coordinate the work of Member States and industry in this area. Cumulative investment in renewable hydrogen in Europe could be between EUR 180 and 470 billion by 2050.
A 7.2 billion euro plan by 2030 (including 2 billion between 2020 and 2022), which should not only enable the development of profitable “green” hydrogen production, but also its widespread use.
– The H2V Normandy project, a production plant
The hydrogen production plant project developed by H2V in Saint-Jean-de-Folleville, Normandy, has been granted authorization to operate. This site will produce 28,000 tonnes/year of hydrogen by electrolysis of water starting in 2025.
Called Air Liquide Normand’Hy, this site is “the largest in the world”, says H2V. It consists of two 100 MW production units and will produce 28,000 tonnes/year of hydrogen for companies in the Port-Jerome industrial zone.
– Air Liquide Dunkerque
Decarbonated hydrogen production plant in Dunkirk with up to 400 MW of electrolysers in 2027, mainly to supply ArcelorMittal’s future DRI steel production line.
– Hyvia (Renault and Plug Power JV):
Development of hydrogen-powered vehicles
Development of technological bricks for the hydrogen rail traction chain, demonstrators and production of hydrogen freight trains and locomotives.
To date, we have a total of 15 selected French projects.
Many manufacturers are taking part in this innovative market. Among them, the main ones are :
EDF and Total: last year, EDF created a subsidiary dedicated to industry and mobility, Hynamics, by taking a 22% stake in the French company McPhy, designer, manufacturer and integrator of hydrogen equipment.
Total, for its part, is deploying recharging stations for vehicles in Germany through the H2 Mobility consortium, of which it is a member. It has just opened its first hydrogen station in France, in Le Mans.
Air liquide, an industrial gas specialist that is committed to producing at least 50% of the hydrogen needed for these applications without CO₂ emissions by 2020.
Engie, the global benchmark in the zero-carbon energy transition. The group is developing and mobilizing numerous subsidiaries enabling the development of the Hydrogen sector.
Hydrogenics, based in Canada, the company has subsidiaries in Belgium, Germany and the United States. These are manufacturers of fuel cells and electrolysers
Toyota, Japanese car manufacturer, pioneer in the field of hydrogen cars. It was the first manufacturer to market a vehicle using a fuel cell: the Toyota Mirai.
Europe is a basin of opportunity for companies in the energy sector to enter this energy market. Do not hesitate to contact us.