Bruno Le Maire and Barbara Pompili presented the Government’s new hydrogen strategy which aims to launch an industrial sector in France. An ambition welcomed by the players who must now honor the appointment and set up projects.
A strategy of seven billion to win a technological bet. Seven billion to be the best in Europe. This is the ambition of Bruno Le Maire and Barbara Pompili by presenting this Tuesday September 8 to the National Strategy for the Development of Carbonated Hydrogen in France. Faced with the players in the sector brought together by Afhypac, the ministers of the economy and ecological transition detailed the objectives, tools and funding channels that will be activated over the next two years to push back a technological frontier in order to respect the natural limits of the plant , according to Barbara Pompili. Bruno Le Maire is convinced of this: We have the industrial strengths and companies to create a French sector providing jobs and added value .
To organize this dynamic, Bruno Le Maire will take the head of a National Hydrogen Committee in which all the players in the sector will meet. The Government will also set up an interministerial task force to carry out the strategy internally.
Build and install electrolysers in France
This new hydrogen strategy aims to install enough electrolysers to make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of the economy. The Government is targeting a hydrogen production capacity of 6.5 GW by 2030. Among the various processes, the strategy retains electrolysis because it appears as the most promising and France already has high potential industrialists , justifies the Government. But other forms of renewable hydrogen production will also be supported.
Like the battery airbus which is taking shape, France intends to build an airbus for electrolysers by bringing about giga factory projects within the framework of an important Project of Common European Interest (PIIEC / IPCEI). France will devote a financial endowment of 1.5 billion euros to this.
Support hydrogen consumption in industry
To avoid chicken or egg syndrome, the strategy is to encourage the consumption of green hydrogen. First axis: industry. Especially that of refining which consumes hydrogen to desulphurize fuels. The Directorate General for Energy and Climate (DGEC) is preparing a specific support method for this sector. The latter will be exempt from tax if it incorporates green hydrogen in its processes. These provisions will be presented in the 2021 finance law for implementation in 2023., said Laurent Michel, director of the DGEC. The latter hopes to encourage the substitution of fossil hydrogen by green hydrogen of 20,000 tonnes, for a sector that uses 145,000.
A mechanism of guarantees of origin will also emerge to upgrade carbonless hydrogen over hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. And to offset the additional cost of green hydrogen production, a support system such as a call for tenders + additional remuneration will support investment, the image of what has been set up in other sectors. renewable energy. AT To date, the price difference between electrolyzed hydrogen and conventional hydrogen is significant. It can be met by a carbon price but in the meantime, we need help, justifies Laurent Michel. The DGEC is counting on support over 15 years, a volume of projects representing a production of 90,000 tonnes of hydrogen for a budget of 325 million euros per year for 2022 and 2023. That is to say support around 7 euros per kg hydrogen produced.Consultation with stakeholders will be launched with the aim of notifying this state aid to the European Commission quickly and allowing it to be put in place by 2021., explained Barbara Pompili. The first calls for tenders would be open in early 2022 for a first selection of projects in the second half of 2022.
Support consumption in heavy mobility
The hydrogen meets the needs of high engine power or the needs of long autonomy, in particular for captive fleets covering long distances just in time., considers the Government. This is why its strategy particularly targets heavy mobility for the transport of passengers and goods. Utilities, heavy goods vehicles, trains, planes, buses, river shuttles, everything is screwed up. A call for projects (AAP) for technological bricks and demonstrators will be launched by Ademe to develop all the components and systems related to the production and transport of hydrogen, and its uses. This AAP is endowed with 350 M € until 2023.
In order to pool the uses of hydrogen, another AAP will be launched to create territorial ecosystems. By the end of the year, Ademe will launch the AAP Territorial Hydrogen Hub to select consortia bringing together communities and industrialists who provide solutions to maximize economies of scale. This call for projects will be endowed with € 275 million by 2023.
According to its director, Laurent Michel, the DGEC is in the process of setting up additional tax assistance for the purchase of heavy vehicles running on hydrogen.
Towards a hydrogen campus
In order to bring out the innovations necessary for the success of this strategy, an additional budget of 65 million euros will be directed towards research on hydrogen by the National Research Agency (ANR). This priority research program will be co-piloted by the CEA and the CNRS.
Employment is also an objective of the government strategy with, in sight, the development of skills and the creation, in the long term, of 50,000 and 150,000 direct and indirect jobs in this sector. In order to train all levels, the Government is calling for the creation of one or more hydrogen campuses which would bring together vocational high schools, universities and engineering schools in the same place. The challenge is to offer training and qualifications to train technicians to work on electrolysers, engineers, QHSE managers or even firefighters., details Bruno Le Maire.
In the meantime, a census of all existing training courses is underway.
Looking for projects
Of the € 7 billion pledged, € 3.4 billion will be allocated over the next two years: 54% for industry, 27% for mobility, 19% for research and innovation. Project leaders will thus be able to knock on the door of Ademe, BPI France, the National Research Agency or even the Caisse des Dépôts to innovate, industrialize or create territorial ecosystems around hydrogen. Of the 7 billion, we plan to mobilize 50% of this amount by 2023. It will start quickly, warns Karine Vernier of the general secretariat for investment.
On the side of Ademe, 150 million euros will be able to be released in the coming months according to modalities already proven: subsidies, subsidized loans, repayable advances. It will take projects, warns Arnaud Leroy, president of the agency. But it will not be open bar. We will look for projects that have a social and industrial utility. On the side of BPI France, we are also focusing on the usual funding methods. It is necessary to put fuel in the pipes already created, explains Nicolas Dufourq, its managing director. Repayable advances, innovation loans, seed capital, venture capital, calls for projects, these are extremely effective tools. There will be no budgetary rationing. You just have to find the entrepreneurs, he explains.
The players in the sector say they are ready to take up the challenge. From the 100 million euros initiated by Nicolas Hulot’s hydrogen plan, we are moving to another scale with 10 years of visibility but also employment requirements and value creation, it is a real industrial challenge. considers Christelle Werquin, general delegate of Afhypac.
Article published on September 08, 2020