Hydrogen and fuel cells could increase the potential for the deployment of electric vehicles in Europe, whilst strengthening renewable energy production capacities in regions of France. This is the shared vision of the twenty partner members of the “Mobility Hydrogen France" consortium, who have combined forces and expertise to produce an economically competitive and supported deployment plan for a private and public hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in France between 2015 and 2030, including an analysis of cost-effectiveness.
Regional, national and international, private and public stakeholders were brought together by the French Association for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (“AFHyPaC”) and supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, to share their knowledge and expertise in order to develop coordinated deployment scenarios for vehicles and hydrogen stations, and to emphasise the clear benefits and costs of this transition. The results will be published in late 2013.
The French approach follows on from the "H2 Mobility" initiatives in Germany and Great Britain, amongst others, and is co-funded by the stakeholders themselves and the European Union within the HIT (Hydrogen for Transport Infrastructure) framework project. The consortium has been formed in parallel to a draft European Directive to promote the development of alternative fuels such as electricity and hydrogen, which is currently being considered by the European Parliament and the European Council.
In the context of growing urbanisation, electric vehicles, whether Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), for personal, utility or for public use, represent an attractive and durable solution that allows the reduction to zero of CO2 and pollutant particle emissions, and significantly lowers noise from transport. For high power vehicles or for those making long journeys, the hydrogen and fuel cell solution complements the battery-based only solution that is currently being deployed in France.
If we want to achieve a transition to new forms of energy, especially in the area of mobility, we must focus on tomorrow's technologies. Hydrogen can revolutionise energy storage as well as transportation. This study fully contributes to the national debate on energy transition. We must accelerate the experiments in this area, the establishment of an appropriate regulatory framework, and develop viable business models. The initiative of the companies that have joined the "Mobility Hydrogen France" consortium will help to contribute, through its prospective study, to the Government's efforts to develop a coherent national strategy for the development of hydrogen use.
The "Hydrogen Mobility France" initiative currently includes the following partners: Air Liquide, Alphéa Hydrogène, AREVA, CEA, CETH2, EDF, GDF SUEZ, GRTgaz, IFPEN, INEVA-CNRT, Intelligent Energy, ITM Power, Linde, Michelin, McPhy Energy, Pole Vehicle of the Future, PHyRENEES, Solvay, Symbio FCell, Tenerrdis, WH2, with the participation of experts from FCH-JU, ADEME, the CGSP (French Prime Minister Policy Planning Agency) and DGEC (Energy and Climate General Directorate). To join the consortium, contact AFHYPAC.
Hydrogen as an energy carrier at a regional level
Hydrogen can be produced, stored, transported and used in many ways: To power or recharge mobile devices, to power remote locations, to propel vehicles or electric boats, to store intermittent electricity, to increase the production of biofuels and to reduce the carbon footprint of natural gas in networks.
Implementation of hydrogen generation units at a regional level, whether producing hydrogen via electricity or natural gas, will play a key role in helping to evolve France’s energy infrastructure, bringing more flexibility to match the country’s needs.
Several French companies have developed expertise and products. Dozens of prototype products are currently operating in France under real-world conditions. They were developed through public-private projects supported by ADEME, OSEO, the clusters and regional funds.
Industrializing these technologies and making them accessible to all is the challenge for the years ahead.