STRASBOURG (Reuters) – An industrial biomass-based hydrogen demonstrator has been announced for Strasbourg in 2021, where this carbon-free energy will be used to run around 50 buses or equivalent vehicles every day.
Haffner Energy, a specialist in the engineering of green power plants and Networks-Gas of Strasbourg (R-GDS), a mixed economy company, announced Monday evening the creation of their joint venture, R-Hynoca (for Networks -Hydrogen no carbon) that will carry this project, presented as a technological breakthrough.
Its promoters see in their process, which uses the thermolysis of biomass, raised to 400 degrees, then the steam-cracking of the gas, an alternative to the electrolysis of water, expensive, and steam reforming of natural gas, highly CO2 emitting .
“Our goal is five euros per kilo (hydrogen) in 2021 to go down to 3 euros per kilo in 2025. We will then be competitive with fossil fuels without taxes,” says Philippe Haffner, president and co-founder with his brother Marc de Haffner Energy, a company in Vitry-le-François (Marne) with some 30 power plants, mainly biomass, to his credit.
One kilo of hydrogen equals three liters of gasoline in terms of energy efficiency.
The Strasbourg installation, which represents an investment of six million euros, financed by R-GDS, will produce 650 per day.
In recent months, a prototype installed in Vitry-le-François and co-financed by Ademe (Agency for the Environment and Energy Management) provides a production of 120 kilos per day.
According to Philippe Haffner, the Hynoca process, which the company had protected by fourteen patents, needs exogenous energy only for the launching phase, then self-fueling, generating no other CO2 production than that contained in biomass.
Its energy efficiency is close to 70% and all co-products are advertised as recoverable, such as biochar, a solid material derived from thermolysis that can be used as fertilizer in agriculture.
In the event of under-utilization, the facility will be able to produce hypergaz, a precursor of injectable hydrogen in the networks. This element is put forward while the hydrogen vehicle, presented as the future of electric mobility by a majority of specialists, is struggling to develop because of a still high cost.
Haffner Energy, which will generate a turnover of 10 million euros in 2019, has set itself the goal of installing 80 decentralized hydrogen production stations by 2023.
By Gilbert Reilhac (Edited by Sophie Louet)