The startup Lhyfe will produce green hydrogen in Vendée by the beginning of 2021. Its project H2Ouest, which was led alongside five partners, received massive public subsidies to develop a sector of the future.
H2Ouest was recently selected for a national call for projects by the French environment and energy management agency Ademe: 20 innovative projects will share a total subsidy of €90 million. The project also received a €3 million subsidy from the Pays de la Loire region and two other public organizations, and raised €8 million in January.
Innovative green energy
Hydrogen is a promising energy, particularly when replacing gasoline in vehicles. The “green” hydrogen is produced through an electrolysis process which only requires electricity, wind and water. Unlike the hydrogen produced from hydrocarbons which emits 10 kg of CO2 per kilo produced, green hydrogen emits no CO2. Even better: it produces 8 kg of oxygen per kilo produced!
Founded by the former director of the technology research unit CEA Tech, the Nantes-based startup Lhyfe invented a solution compatible with all kinds of renewable energies. This solution will be used in an industrial way, through its connection on a wind farm for example, even though the generated electricity is irregular. The first production center of 4,000 m² will be installed next to a wind farm in Bouin (Vendée) and will use its surplus of energy.
A regional alliance for a virtuous business model
The project H2Ouest gathers together complementary partners. First the Vendée energy union SyDEV and its semi-public company Vendée Energie, which will host Lhyfe’s factory. Its subsidiary, Vendée Hydrogen, will build a hydrogen station in La Roche-sur-Yon, and Le Mans metropolis will do the same in partnership with the Automobile Club de l’ouest which organizes the famous 24 hours of Le Mans race.
The objective is to create a complete ecosystem, from the production to the distribution and the local utilisation of this green hydrogen. Lhyfe’s first factory will profit from 100 kg per day and has the capacity to produce a ton! The startup aims to quickly open other centers and is also planning to reuse the oxygen produced to restore degraded natural environments.