More than ever, hydrogen is at the centre of the news and is proving to be an essential link in the energy transition. The exponential development of this sector should make renewable hydrogen become competitive sooner than expected which will help to sustainably decarbonise our economy. In Atlantic France, a large number of projects are emerging and the revolution is already underway, both of which are driven by the collective dynamism of players from across the value chain.
The most innovative region for decarbonised hydrogen
4 recent examples show that projects are flourishing in the area, confirming the dynamism of the region and its international ambitions:
- Farwind Energy has invented an innovative energy ship, which works like a floating mobile wind turbine and will produce hydrogen by electrolysis. Through its MAGHIC project (Maritime Green H2 Infrastructure in the Eastern Caribbean), the Nantes-based startup intends to complete the development and certification of this green hydrogen offshore wind production by 2025.
- Nantes – Saint-Nazaire Port aims to become the first hydrogen port in the Atlantic and a major renewable energy production site. 12 hectares have been reserved in the Saint-Nazaire basin and around ten players responded to a call for an expression of interest launched a few months ago. The aim? To produce clean hydrogen and then to produce e-fuels to serve mobility. The laureate and the type of e-fuel to be produced will be announced in the coming weeks.
- Fétis has established itself as a key player in energy transition within the heavy mobility sector, including agriculture, public works and handling. Its references include the hydrogen motorisation of the first Manitou H2 truck. The Nantes-based group has also just unveiled its “evol-E”, an off-road technology demonstrator equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell system.
- Cetim has decided to invest in a machine for manufacturing hydrogen tanks, in Nantes. This new equipment, which is part of the extension of the “Thor” European collaborative R&D project, has been installed at the new materials engineering and testing centre to provide the French engineering industry with hydrogen expertise.
Dynamic actors and a rich ecosystem
The hydrogen sector is well established in Atlantic France, with a large number of projects underway or already operational. The region benefits from major assets: long-standing industrial and academic players, centres and clusters dedicated to this innovative sector, and a dynamic network of laboratories and startups.
Companies and industrial expertise
The region’s strengths are based on historical expertise in aeronautics, logistics, motorsport, land mobility, and maritime, river and port activities, as well as marine renewable energies.
- Lhyfe has inaugurated an offshore platform for the production of carbon-free hydrogen in Saint-Nazaire: a world first.
- Powidian Mobility is an innovative player that offers electrified light utility vehicles (both full electric and hydrogen powered). It is to be noted that Powidian Mobility is a subsidiary of the fuel cell and H2 stationary stations specialist Powidian located just next to the Atlantic France region and that is definitely part of the region’s extended ecosystem.
- Airbus has established a Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) in Nantes, in the Airbus Technocentre. The hydrogen tanks of the European aircraft manufacturer’s future hydrogen aircraft are being designed there.
- Europe Technology – CIAM is developing H2 storage and dispensing technologies in containers and “zero-emission” hydrogen propulsion systems for maritime and/or river transport.
Clusters and clients
Atlantic France is home to academic actors and socio-economic structures which are experts in the hydrogen application sectors:
- The European manufacturing technologies cluster EMC2 supports startups, SMEs, ETIs and large groups in the new uses of hydrogen.
- The S2E2 energy management competitiveness cluster supports its members from the design process to the marketing of hydrogen-related products and services.
- The Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique cluster brings together a network of 350 players by promoting the emergence of hydrogen in the context of marine energies.
- The ID4Mobility business cluster supports project leaders in the conception, development, experimentation and industrialisation of solutions with an impact on ground mobility.
- The Hydrogen Planet project, led by the Atlantic France regional council and implemented by Solutions&co, aims to promote a positive energy transition by creating a hydrogen industry of excellence.
Laboratories and research centres
The region has both nationally and internationally recognised laboratories thanks to collaborative research programmes involving players from all over the world:
- 15 research centres under the supervision of major schools and academic structures, including the University of Nantes, the University of Angers, IMT Atlantique, the University of Le Mans, Centrale Nantes and the CNRS.
Did you know that we have a hydrogen project manager who offers his skills to companies and project leaders? His mission is to:
- Mediate the actions of consortia and companies, particularly in the context of calls for expressions of interest
- Liaise with the ecosystem and its sector: identify and qualify contacts
- Provide an objective analysis of the entire sector and its players across the Skills Value Chain
- Anticipate demands and follow the different development strategies to better meet future needs and to structure the sector.
Do you want to develop a project in the hydrogen sector? Atlantic France will offer you real opportunities in terms of investment, partnerships and talent to successfully help set up your business.