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France: Burgundy-Franche-Comté Region Puts Hydrogen on Fast Track

By November 27, 2019 3   min read  (462 words)

November 27, 2019 |

French Regions Puts Hydrogen on Fast Track Main

By 2030, the Burgundy-Franche-Comté Region plans to invest an additional 90 million euros in support of the hydrogen sector. At stake: the transition to green energy and the development of a new industrial specialization that creates jobs. 

Below are several questions and answers that describe the effort.

Why does hydrogen contribute to the energy transition?

Hydrogen, produced by electrolysis, offers a solution for storing electricity produced from renewable energies (solar panels, wind farms, hydroelectric plants, etc.) when production peaks coincide with periods of low consumption ( summer for example for solar energy). This perfectly green hydrogen, manufactured without any CO 2 emission , can then be reused as and when needed.

What are the assets of Burgundy-Franche-Comté in this area?

Our region has long been involved in the development of hydrogen with, as early as 1998, the first research project on the fuel cell carried by the University of Franche-Comté. Based in Belfort (France), the Fuel Cell Lab (FC Lab) is one of Europe’s leading hydrogen research centers; its work is prolonged by industrial innovations. Recognized “Hydrogen Territory” in 2016, Burgundy-Franche-Comté presents a fertile ground for the development of a real hydrogen industry.

How is the Region acting to develop the hydrogen sector?

Since 2016, the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region has mobilized 12 million euros; a massive investment that will allow the opening, by the automotive supplier Faurecia, a global center for research and development on hydrogen tanks in Bavans (25) or the creation of the National Institute of hydrogen storage in northern Franche-Comté. The Region also financed in Saint-Florentin (89) the first project in France to double the production of anaerobic digestion sites (the recovery of waste into energy) using hydrogen.

Realistically, when will the massive use of hydrogen begin? 

The Burgundy-France-Comté Region wants a massive use of hydrogen by 2030. It is, therefore, necessary to encourage a rapid increase in demand in order to develop the production, distribution and consumption circuits. Large-scale diffusion of technologies will reduce costs to make hydrogen accessible to as many people as possible.

What can the Region do to achieve this goal?

On November 15, 2019, regional elected representatives adopted a roadmap to make hydrogen an energy transition opportunity, foster innovation, develop uses. As a result, the Region is stepping up its investments by mobilizing € 90 million over the 2020-2030 period. These regional financings are intended to have a significant leverage effect for private investment (companies) and local public investment (local authorities).

What about hydrogen trains?

The Region will devote 50 million euros to the purchase of hydrogen/electricity mixed-power trains. Three trains will be acquired from Alstom and will be used on the Morvan Auxerre-Migennes line in 2023. The advantage of these trains is to be able to drive on partially electrified lines avoiding diesel engines. The challenge is also to pool the hydrogen production plant with the Auxerre hydrogen bus project.

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