France wants to offset Paris’s carbon emissions with the switch to hydrogen

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France’s € 7 billion ($ 8.3 billion) plan to use clean hydrogen in industrial processes and transportation will reduce the country’s carbon dioxide production in 2030 by the equivalent of emissions annuals in Paris, the government said.A global race to scale up green hydrogen has begun, with Europe making fuel the key to the Union’s future energy mix. But producing clean hydrogen from water using renewable energy is currently more expensive than extracting it from fossil fuels, requiring government subsidies to reduce costs.

France will launch calls for tenders in 2021 to create clean hydrogen hubs and electrolyser plants, targeting 6.5 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2030, the government announced on Tuesday.

It plans to subsidize the use of green hydrogen by refiners and chemical manufacturers, as well as the production of equipment such as fuel cells that turn hydrogen into electricity.

“Hydrogen mobility will be one of the essential components of clean mobility, complementary to electric batteries,” said Florent Menegaux, president of French tire manufacturer Michelin, in a statement.

France’s clean hydrogen plan will cut carbon emissions by more than 6 million tonnes by the end of the decade, the government said.

Michelin and the equipment supplier Faurecia have reiterated their plan to invest 140 million euros by 2025 for the construction of a hydrogen fuel cell plant in France with a production capacity of 20,000 systems.

Fuel cell production will start in two years, Menegaux said.

“High traffic cities will develop zero emission zones,” Menegaux said Tuesday in Paris. “In 2030, we will certainly have hundreds of thousands of hydrogen vehicles in Europe.”

Symbio, the name of the fuel cell joint venture of Michelin and Faurecia, aims to be a leader in the sector with a target turnover of around 1.5 billion euros by 2030. The emerging market is currently dominated by companies like Hyundai, Toyota and Canada Ballard Power Systems.

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