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Normandy, a promising region for carbon-free hydrogen in France



France has set up a €9.1 billion national hydrogen strategy to become a world leader in this sector. Firstly, the main aim is to guarantee the mass production of hydrogen from renewable sources in the short term. Secondly, it is to make this carbon-free hydrogen a viable solution for reaching carbon neutrality and emissions reductions against global climate change. Therefore, French regions seized this opportunity to foster the emergence of a leading national hydrogen sector. For example, the Normandy region can rely on its industrial and natural assets. Moreover, the Nordic countries are trustworthy international investors to invest in France in the green transition already advanced in the environmental change.

Normandy, a dense network of the hydrogen industry in France

Normandy is already a leading territory in the development of hydrogen in France and of the sector in the European Union. Indeed, the region can proudly count on various successful projects launched to strengthen the role of hydrogen and renewable energies.

Some 40 low-carbon hydrogen vehicles are now already in circulation in Normandy. In addition, this regional fleet should be extended to some 90 vehicles in the coming months. 50 commitments to purchase from local authorities and companies have also been received.

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The EAS-HyMob project (Easy Access to Hydrogen Mobility) is a network of 15 hydrogen recharging stations for vehicles in Normandy. Normandy Region, Symbio, and Serfim support the project. Specifically, the objective is to have approximately 250 hydrogen vehicles in circulation, with a budget estimated at €4.8 million.

The EAS-HyMob program is the only project of the regional scope, so much that it could make Normandy a national leader in the field. Indeed, with the EAS-Hymob network, Normandy now offers a network of 10 recharging stations, the densest network in France.

Recently, ArianeGroup, together with ENGIE, announced its intention to make the industrial site of Vernon a leading European hydrogen hub. Vernon is already the first European production center of liquid hydrogen. It is recognized for the reliability and safety of its industrial use of hydrogen.

Moreover, the aerospace giant now wants to share these skills. Its ambition is to be a leading player in developing the sector in Normandy and Europe. Hence, ArianeGroup plans to create a school for engineers specializing in hydrogen at its Vernon site. It already imagines federating the players in green mobility using hydrogen for maritime or river transport.

Read more: Normandy, a leading French region for hydrogen production and mobility

A €450 million hydrogen plant in Normandy

On the other hand, the founders of the young company H2V PRODUCT* have announced their intention to acquire 27 hectares of land. They want to build and operate a hydrogen mass-production plant. Thus, with an estimated investment of €450 million and the start of operations expected in 2022, the plant should eventually employ 180 people.

The plant, which benefits from a massive investment by AirLiquide, will produce hydrogen by electrolysis of water. In other words, it will produce biogas by combining it with CO2 from a neighboring plant through methanation. Hence, the final products will be marketed by injection into natural gas transport networks and infrastructure dedicated to mobility.

The plant will be designed to operate 24 hours a day. In other words, it will recover 100,000 tons of CO2 per year and market approximately 435,000 MWh of biogas (methane or CH4).

In any case, this strategic investment demonstrates Normandy’s long-term commitment to hydrogen energy. Also, it shows its ambition perfectly to be a significant player in the supply of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. Indeed, Normandy wants to contribute to the emissions reductions f the industrial and mobility markets!

Read more: How France and Normandy bet on hydrogen to accelerate the green transition

Normandy Hydrogen Plan, to assert the region’s leading position on green hydrogen

The Normandy Region was the first French region to adopt its hydrogen sector support plan in October 2018. Over five years, the region launched a €15 million hydrogen plan. Normandy wants to develop hydrogen-powered cars and bikes, open 15 new hydrogen stations, and equip its ports.

The plan is composed of 9 objectives and 46 actions. The Normandy Hydrogen Plan relies on the assets of the territory and the already existing actors of hydrogen in the French economy. The industry (refining, fertilizers, glassmaking, metallurgy) and heavy mobility (buses/coaches, trucks, barges, ferries) are prioritized. The regional strategy is structured in two axes:

Contact us for more information on hydrogen in France and your foreign investment projects.

Article written by Sara Chollet