Lorient Agglomeration is taking an unprecedented step in France towards public transport decarbonization by installing a hydrogen and bio-NGV station for their bus fleet. Last year’s purchase of ten bio-NGV buses, five hydrogen buses, and three bio-CNG buses this year marks a steady commitment towards green transportation.
The main site of the Lorient Agglomeration bus network is witnessing the construction of a slow charge hydrogen distribution station, a first in France. This project involves installing tanks for gas storage under pressure and 19 recharge points, which will recharge the buses post-service. This station will be the second one in the department following the one launched at the Michelin site in Vannes last year.
This hydrogen station construction aligns with Lorient Agglomeration’s ambition to reduce transport sector greenhouse gas emissions by 78%. The initial 10 BioGNV (natural gas for vehicles) buses were put into service on the network in September 2022. Furthermore, a CNG station near completion at the secondary depot in Quéven will allow these buses to refuel, marking a departure from the former reliance on public stations in Caudan.
Fabrice Loher, president of Lorient Agglomeration, says, “This ambitious and long-term project’s goal is to cultivate an integrated local renewable hydrogen sector, encompassing production to uses, research and development, innovation, and training. We aim to involve SMEs in this technological transition, such as for boat motorization. It signifies economic development, business opportunities, and research with the development of electrolysers and storage solutions.”
The hydrogen for the Lorient depot will be sourced from Buléon, where Lhyfe, a leading company in green hydrogen production, is constructing its second production site. The hydrogen production will utilize electricity from six nearby wind turbines, ensuring its carbon neutrality.
Lorient Agglomeration’s priority is to cut CO2 emissions and counter global warming. It aims for total mobility decarbonization and job creation through a sector expansion. By 2030, its entire fleet of buses and waterbuses will transition from all-diesel to bio-NGV (80% of the fleet) or renewable hydrogen (20% of the fleet, including a passenger ship).
Furthermore, the Agglomeration aims for carbon neutrality by 2050, a 78% reduction in GHG emissions for transport, and renewable energy expansion, which currently constitutes 8% of the electricity bill. Additionally, they are contemplating the procurement of electric shuttles for lines 113 and 35 on the island of Groix.
Lorient Agglomeration is an exemplar on a national or even European scale for this type of technology. Beyond the manufacture and commissioning of carbon-free vehicles and supply stations, this deployment also represents a boost in renewable hydrogen ecosystem skills within the Lorient territory.
The creation of more than 100,000 jobs in the green hydrogen sectors by 2030 is anticipated by the energy, naval, automotive, and industrial sectors. This project also provides potential for new skilled jobs, market opportunities for local businesses, and research in electrolyzer development and storage solutions.
Finally, many companies in Pays de Lorient are already exploring industrial applications, such as hydrogen tank manufacturing. The territory is emerging as a pioneer with the launch of an energy and hydrogen training course at the National School of Engineers of Southern Brittany (ENSIBS) this September.
The deployment of H2 and bio-GNV stations
- Installation of a hydrogen distribution station at the Lorient bus depot / commissioning: October 2023
- Installation of a hydrogen distribution station for maritime uses : trans-rade boats and open to other shipowners / commissioning: 2026
- Installation of two bioNGV distribution stations at the Quéven bus depot (commissioning: May 2023) and at the Lorient bus depot / commissioning: August 2024
Cost and funding
- Acquisition of 7 hydrogen buses in 2023: 5 million
- Lorient H2 station: 4.5 million
- Lanester maritime H2 station: 4 million
- ERDF: €896,000)
- Region: 1 million)
- ADEME: €1.2 million for the 7 buses and €2.4 million for the 2 stations and production)
The price of hydrogen that Lorient Agglo will pay will be decreasing according to the quantity consumed: it will be around €120 to €150 for 100 km from 2023 to 2026 and will drop to around €100 to €120 from 2026. In comparison, the cost for 100 km for other energies, in a standard bus, is €75 for bio-NGV and €55 for diesel.
- Acquisition of 13 articulated buses (10 in 2022, 3 in 2023): 5.8 million
- Quéven and Lorient stations: 3.95 million
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