France opens massive HDF Energy 1GW green hydrogen facility

France opens massive HDF Energy 1GW green hydrogen facility

June 7, 2024 0 By Angie Bergenson

The factory will make megawatt-plus fuel cells in the southwest part of the country.

HDF Energy, a green hydrogen developer from France, has inaugurated a fuel cell manufacturing facility, which it calls a first in the world because the units are larger than 1 megawatt (MW).

The end users will be heavy maritime and rail mobility

The “high power” PEM green hydrogen fuel cell units are intended for “the decarbonization of heavy maritime and rail mobility, as well as the production of electricity for public power grids.”
A 1 MW fuel cell isn’t anything to sniff at.  To compare, there is a 114kW fuel cell in the Toyota Mirai H2-powered passenger call.  The Tre FCEV Class 8 truck from Nikola Motors currently uses a 200 kW fuel cell. 

The new facility will be located in southwest France, just outside Bordeaux in the town of Blanquefort, where there used to be a Ford gearbox plant.  That plant will start by producing modular 1.5 MW fuel cells designed with Ballard Power Systems, in a partnership with the Canadian fuel cell maker.

HDF Energy plans to grow its green hydrogen fuel cell offerings

The 1.5 MW units will only be the beginning.  HDF Energy’s plan is to develop and industrialize larger units as well, until it will be able to offer a product range from 1 MW to 10 MW.

Green hydrogen - Scale Up - Building

The inauguration of the facility was at the very end of June, but commercial production in the now open plant isn’t expected to begin until 2026.  The intention is to scale up to 1 GW by 2030.

In 2025, the company will “start the pre-production phase and the fuel cell test.”

According to the company, the French government will provide financing for the green hydrogen fuel cell facility following approval of EU state-aid as a component of the €1.4bn ($1.52bn) Hy2Move phase of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).  That said, the amount of the financing has not been disclosed.

Cleaner transportation

hydrogen news ebook“HDF Energy’s fuel cells are paving the way for a new era of environmentally friendly transport by replacing diesel engines in freight and shunting locomotives with a hydrogen propulsion system,” said a news release from the company.

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