Renewable hydrogen deployed in three regions of western France with VHyGO - Lhyfe

Published on 21/04/2021

Illustration changement de paradigme grâce hydrogène
  • The Grand Ouest Hydrogen Valley (shortened to VHyGO in French) has just been selected by ADEME under its Territorial hydrogen ecosystemfunding call.
  • The VHyGO project aims to democratize access to renewable hydrogen in western France by accompanying areas of all sizes in their transition to green mobility.
  • Targets for 2024: 10 production sites, 20 distribution points and 500 hydrogen vehicles deployed in the regions of Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire. 

The ten current partners of the VHyGO consortium coordinated by Lhyfe are proud to announce that phase 1 of their project is one of seven projects selected by the French Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) under the Territorial hydrogen ecosystemfunding call, following its submission in December 2020. This trans-regional project aims to produce renewable hydrogen that is accessible to all, and to reduce the areas carbon footprint by avoiding 50,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2024. Funding requests have been or will be made to ADEME for two further project phases, in March 2021 and September 2021 respectively, and other local authorities and industrial operators also wishing to contribute to the deployment of renewable hydrogen in western France can still become partners in these projects.

Driven by a belief that “Hydrogen must not create an ecological divide between large and small players” (local authorities and businesses), the consortium set itself the following objectives:

  • Developing renewable hydrogen production;
  • Accompanying the transition to zero-emission urban, inter-urban and maritime transportation by allowing local authorities and businesses to buy vehicles at the best price;
  • Integrating renewable hydrogen in industrial usages;
  • Creating coherent ecosystems that address the environmental challenges of local authorities and business.

In short, the goal is to democratize renewable hydrogen and ensure that any business or local authority in western France is within 100 kilometres of a renewable hydrogen production site, with hydrogen available at less than € 8 per kilogram at the pump by 2030.

The investment involved in phase 1 of the VHyGO project is € 38 million euros, and the total grant requested from ADEME is for € 14 million.

VHyGO: to make renewable H2 accessible to everyone in western France

The main aim of VHyGO is the democratization of renewable hydrogen. To achieve this, the consortium provides areas or regions with a strategy for:

  • Lowering the cost of hydrogen through larger and pooled production sites,
  • Making hydrogen available everywhere and to all, which means being able to deliver hydrogen and having refuelling stations,
  • Lowering the cost of vehicles through group purchasing.

Two projects within the region have already received funding: EffiH2 (project for a refuelling station with electrolysis in Vannes) and H2Ouest (project including a production site in Bouin, three refuelling stations in Vendée, one in Le Mans, 12 hydrogen buses, 11 hydrogen refuse collectors, two hydrogen powered goods vehicles and several light commercial vehicles).

The target for 2024 is to have:

  • a production volume of at least 5 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a day, spread across ten sites (with the capacity to achieve 10 tonnes a day by 2027),
  • at least 20 dual-pressure hydrogen refuelling stations forming a network across the three regions,
  • 500 hydrogen vehicles coming to refuel on a daily basis.

This ramp up will lead to lower investment costs and hydrogen prices, and allow hydrogen technology to compete with internal combustion engine equivalents. The price targets are:

  • renewable hydrogen at the pump for less than € 8 per kg of H2 in 2030 and € 9 per kg of H2 from 2023; and
  • attractively priced vehicles compared to diesel solutions.

A three-phase project to be gradually ramped up with new partners

In order to realize the VHyGO project and have an operational ecosystem in 2024, the consortium has opted for a three-phase approach that takes account of each partner’s specific project timeframe. The completion dates for these phases are December 2020, March 2021 and September 2021.

Phase 1 of the VHyGO project includes:

  • Three new green hydrogen production sites using electrolysis. This semi-centralized production capacity of 3.5 MW will be split between the project’s three areas: Brest (1.5 MW), Saint-Nazaire (1.5 MW) and Dieppe (0.5 MW).
  • Three new refuelling stations. These stations will be located as close as possible to points of use and and will provide a first level of regional coverage. From an initial capacity of (1900 kg a day in total), these stations will be scalable to accompany the ramp-up planned over the different project phases.
  • Twenty-three 12-metre hydrogen buses, seven hydrogen-powered domestic refuse collectors, one retro-fitted hydrogen powered heavy goods vehicle, ten light commercial vehicles and thirty 18-metre hydrogen buses (funding for the latter will be requested in September). The operation of these vehicles will be split between Brest Métropole, the Urban community of Saint-Nazaire (CARENE), and the Dieppe Maritime conurbation.

The VHyGO project currently has ten partners in phase 1, with strong support from the regions of Pays de la Loire, Brittany and Normandy. Ten or so partners are already committed for phases 2 and 3 and further entities may still join the project until September 2021, which is when the third and final funding request will be submitted to ADEME.

 

It is our ambition to accompany the emergence of a value chain for locally produced green hydrogen on the peninsula of Brittany. The development of this clean and renewable energy carrier can play a key role in energy and environmental transition, particularly in the field of mobility. We are therefore particularly proud to be part of the VHyGO project.

Tristan Foveau, Vice-President, Brest Métropole, in charge of energy operators and sustainable waste management

 

Our conurbation is historically a region for energy and industry. In developing this value chain for locally produced renewable hydrogen, Dieppe Maritime wants to contribute to the emergence of innovative solutions, to address the important economic and environmental challenges that we face locally, regionally and nationwide. We are delighted to be part of such an ambitious consortium driven by such strong convictions.

Patrick Boulier, President, Dieppe Maritime

 

As an area that is firmly engaged in ecological and energy transition, with the ongoing development of an industrial cluster for offshore wind turbines, CARENE, the Urban Community of Saint-Nazaire, recently adopted an ambitious climate, air and energy plan. This focuses on different ways of increasing the share of renewable energy in its energy mix. One of the options being studied is hydrogen as a fuel for the buses of the public transport network operated by the local transport authority STRAN. ADEME has selected two hydrogen related projects in which CARENE is a partner, one of which is VHyGo led by Lhyfe. It is an excellent opportunity to pursue these ideas and to ensure that they are technically and economically feasible.

Urban Community of Saint-Nazaire (CARENE)