Hydrogen: Le Maire Wants to See Factories in the Next Few Months

The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, on Thursday called on the hydrogen manufacturers to bring out, in the next few months, factories allowing the launch of the French carbon-free hydrogen sector.

“Our ambition is simple: France must be the world leader in green hydrogen. We have the possibility of achieving this,” he told before the National Hydrogen Council, set up in January to support the deployment of carbon-free hydrogen and which notably brings together representatives of the sector. “We have to develop our industrial sites in weeks or months. We have to go fast. We can quickly bring about electrolysis sites that can give shape to our ambition: we will have the McPhy site in Belfort, the Air Liquide project in Normandy … The French want to see the factories, the jobs, what that gives. concretely for them,” he said.

France plans to invest 7 billion euros by 2030 in the emergence of a sector around this carbon-free gas capable of making industry and heavy mobility cleaner. “By the end of 2021, nearly 2 billion euros in grants will be committed or in the process of being committed, to support more than a hundred projects (Research and Development, demonstrators, territorial ecosystems, purchase of trains, etc.),” the ministry said. Fifteen large French projects should also benefit, after validation by the EU: gigafactories for the production of electrolysers, equipment for mobility (fuel cells, recharging stations, etc.), and decarbonization of heavy industry (refineries, cement works, steelworks).

The players are targeting the installation of 6.5 GW of electrolysers by 2030, with a development that will first be concentrated in seven industrial basins. These basins in the medium term could be interconnected through transport infrastructure. “Hydrogen is the biggest public investment that we make”, underlined Bruno Le Maire, adding that hydrogen will have its place in France 2030 investment plan that the president of the Republic must announce in the days to come. “With the rise of this energy vector, France aims to decarbonize industry and mass transport (small planes, trains, utilities),” the minister said.

On the other hand, Bruno Le Maire was cautious about the role of hydrogen for individual vehicles: “We will see if individual transport is relevant, I will leave the question open”.