Largest renewable hydrogen-driven mobility project launched in France


Largest renewable hydrogen-driven mobility project launched in France

At the Electric Vehicles Symposium 32 (EVS32), the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council, Michelin and ENGIE groups, the Banque des Territoires and the Crédit Agricole formalized their commitment to Hympulsion, the project company tasked with deploying the largest renewable hydrogen-powered mobility project in France: Zero Emission Valley.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Banque des Territoires have acquired a 49% stake in Hympulsion as part of a unique public-partnership, while the Michelin Group, ENGIE and the Crédit Agricole together own a 51% stake in it.

Hympulsion is now operational and will help speed up deployment of Zero Emission Valley – France’s first renewable hydrogen-driven mobility project for professional captive fleets (1,000 vehicles and 20 stations). Co-financed by European funds, this project provides vehicles and renewable hydrogen at an overall cost that is on a par with diesel.

The first stone of the Chambéry station will be laid in June with general opening is scheduled in the final quarter of 2019. A temporary station will be opened in Clermont-Ferrand at the end of August 2019. Then, future stations will be opened across ten areas, including Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne. Meanwhile, subsidies will be awarded both by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the European Union to cover the purchase of the one thousand vehicles. Hympulsion has already been awarded at the Assises Européennes de l’Energie (European energy conference) and its finance application is being managed by the ADEME (France’s energy management agency) within the framework of the “H2 mobility – hydrogen mobility ecosystems” call for tenders.

The solution is designed to meet three challenges:

  • Environmental, since renewable hydrogen-driven mobility will improve air quality over the nine priority areas.
  • Industrial, since 80% of the hydrogen sector stakeholders are in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes; developing hydrogen-driven mobility will give momentum to this premium sector and help ensure its longevity. The challenge is to produce hydrogen systems on a high scale that meet zero-carbon requirements and to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles at costs that are on a par with diesel.
  • Economic, since not only will the project generate jobs in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes… it will also enable regional training centres to provide young people with support in accessing the clean-mobility jobs of the future and securing employment in the zero-carbon industry.

Thanks to its sheer scale, this project alone will provide 25% of the vehicles announced in the national hydrogen plan by 2023.

Laurent Wauquiez, President of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, said: “The dynamic nature of the sector in our territory and the powerful synergies of Hympulsion with the public and private sectors will turn Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes into France’s leading hydrogen area. We will become the catalyst for the introduction of this new technology in Europe. With Zero Emission Valley, we will be able to prove that taking up climate change challenges will boost job creation.”

“Michelin is absolutely certain that hydrogen-driven mobility is the best solution for taking up these three challenges: reducing pollution, reducing greenhouse gases and facilitating the energy transition. For more than 15 years, we have been developing our research and development expertise and have been industrializing hydrogen batteries. We have entered into a number of ambitious partnerships across the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in particular. Our involvement in the ZEV project is obviously a strategic benefit for Michelin,” commented Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin.

ENGIE, which is certain that renewable hydrogen is the missing link along the path towards a decarbonized energy system, has taken up a position at the forefront of the energy revolution to speed up the emergence of a decentralized, decarbonized and digitized system in which renewable energies will play a key role.

“The ZEV project in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is evidence of ENGIE’s concrete commitment to helping cities, regions and companies across the world in their zero-carbon energy transitions. As an ambitious forerunner, we are working very closely alongside all public and private partners to turn completely renewable hydrogen into a reality that everybody can take advantage of,” added Franck Bruel, ENGIE’s deputy CEO.

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