EDF announces launch of decarbonised hydrogen plan

The recently announced hydrogen plan is an ambitious programme to develop low-carbon hydrogen. [Alexander Limbach / Shutterstock]

France’s EDF Group has launched a hydrogen plan to develop three gigawatts of electrolytic hydrogen worldwide in an effort to further diversify its activities, the group said on Wednesday (13 April). EURACTIV France reports.

“Tomorrow, we will no longer look at electricity as a commodity but as a choice. Individual choice to give meaning to our consumption in order to control it, to move towards this chosen sobriety, to consider that we are responsible for our own impact, on our own scale, without giving up our well-being,” said EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy announcing the move.

The firm has begun to step up its activities to produce renewable energy as part of the path towards clean and decarbonised electricity that does not emit CO2.

The aim of the hydrogen plan is to develop three gigawatts of electrolytic hydrogen projects worldwide by 2030 that would mainly be used by the industrial and transport sectors.

This will require €2-3 billion in investments “co-financed within the framework of industrial partnerships and benefiting from national and European support mechanisms”, EDF added.

The group will also rely on its subsidiary Hynamics, which specialises in the production of electrolytic hydrogen.

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Saving 3 million tons of CO2

The water electrolysis process uses renewable or nuclear electricity to produce hydrogen.

“We are aiming for carbon-free hydrogen, which will be the vector for achieving carbon neutrality for the uses that are most difficult to decarbonise,” Alexandre Perra, EDF’s executive director in charge of innovation, corporate responsibility and strategy, said during the press conference.

“These 3 GW will enable us to produce 450,000 tonnes of hydrogen each year and save three million tonnes of carbon,” he added.

Hydrogen production is responsible for 11.5 million tons of CO2 emissions in France, which amounts to about 3% of the country’s emissions. Producing green hydrogen is therefore a national as well global issue since almost all of the 80 million tonnes of hydrogen produced in the world are from fossil fuels, EDF said.

“Low-carbon hydrogen is an essential lever for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels in addition to the direct electrification of uses,” Lévy said in a press release.

“With this ambitious plan and by capitalising on its expertise and know-how, the EDF Group intends to contribute to the emergence of a strong and innovative European hydrogen industry,” he added.

EDF’s hydrogen plan is in line with France’s low carbon hydrogen strategy launched by the government in September 2020 which sets out plans to install of 6.5 gigawatts of decarbonised hydrogen production capacity by electrolysis.

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[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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