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International consortium launches government-supported study on hydrogen vehicle refueling infrastructure in France

Twenty founding partner members of the “Mobility Hydrogen France” (Mobilité Hydrogène France, MHF) consortium are combining their forces and expertise to produce an economically competitive and supported deployment plan for a private and public hydrogen refueling infrastructure in France between 2015 and 2030, including an analysis of cost-effectiveness.

Regional, national and international, private and public stakeholders were brought together by the French Association for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (L’Association Française pour l’Hydrogène et les Piles à Combustible, AFHyPaC) and supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (Ministère de l’Ecologie, du Développement Durable et de l’Energie), to share their knowledge and expertise in order to develop coordinated deployment scenarios for vehicles and hydrogen stations, and to emphasize the clear benefits and costs of this transition. The results will be published in late 2013.

The French approach follows on from the “H2 Mobility” initiatives in Germany (earlier post) and Great Britain (earlier post), among others, and is co-funded by the stakeholders themselves and the European Union within the HIT (Hydrogen for Transport Infrastructure) framework project.

The consortium has been formed in parallel to a draft European Directive to promote the development of alternative fuels such as electricity and hydrogen, which is currently being considered by the European Parliament and the European Council.

In the context of growing urbanisation, electric vehicles, whether Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), for personal, utility or for public use, represent an attractive and durable solution that allows the reduction to zero of CO2 and criteria pollutant tailpipe emissions, and significantly lowers noise from transport. For high power vehicles or for those making long journeys, the hydrogen and fuel cell solution complements the battery-based only solution that is currently being deployed in France.

The initiative of the companies that have joined the “Mobility Hydrogen France” consortium will help to contribute, through its prospective study, to the Government of France’s efforts to develop a coherent national strategy for the development of hydrogen use.

The HMF initiative currently includes the following partners: Air Liquide; Alphéa Hydrogène; AREVA; CEA; CETH2; EDF; GDF SUEZ; GRTgaz; IFPEN; INEVA-CNRT; Intelligent Energy; ITM Power; Linde; Michelin; McPhy Energy; Pole Vehicle of the Future; PHyRENEES; Solvay; Symbio FCell; Tenerrdis; WH2 and with the participation of experts from FCH-JU; ADEME; the CGSP (French Prime Minister Policy Planning Agency); and DGEC (Energy and Climate General Directorate). To join the consortium, contact AFHyPaC.

Hydrogen can be produced, stored, transported and used in many ways—to power or recharge mobile devices; to power remote locations; to propel vehicles or electric boats; to store intermittent electricity; to increase the production of biofuels; and to reduce the carbon footprint of natural gas in networks.

Implementation of hydrogen generation units at a regional level, whether producing hydrogen via electricity or natural gas, will play a key role in helping to evolve France’s energy infrastructure, bringing more flexibility to match the country’s needs, AFHyPaC suggests.

Several French companies have developed expertise and products, with prototype products currently operating in France under real-world conditions. These were developed through public-private projects supported by ADEME, OSEO, the clusters and regional funds.


Jonas Blomberg

Wise move by France. I hope the example is followed by other countries. Battery development seems slower than fuel cell development. Batteries cannot compete because of cost, weight and charge time.


Hydrogen infrastructure needed France to build out, or the stations going in in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy would have limited utility, as the vehicles would not have been able to give long distance travel across Europe, and long distance use is one of the big pluses of fuel cells as against BEV's, at any rate for smaller battery sizes than the biggest Tesla pack.

For France itself though batteries retain considerable advantages, as it has surplus electricity at night which could without any new build provide for millions of vehicles.

IMO at the present level of development of both the answer is not to 'pick winners' but to provide the comparatively modest sums needed to progress both.
Technology is progressing too fast in energy and transport to rule anything out.


France has a lot of nuclear energy, and expanding wind/solar. This means a lot of off-peak electricity that is perfect for H2 production.

Fuelcells don't compete with batteries, but are excellent range extender.

This is a no-brainer.

When we talk about batteries, we go from Pb to Li+ and Li-polymer to probably Li-Air. In terms of energy/kg, Li-Air seems the ultimately most efficient.
The only way to reach even more weight-efficiency is to go from element number 3 (Li, atomic weight 6.9) to element number 1 (H, atomic weight 1.0)

When we call an Li-Air device a "battery", then we should also cal a Hydrogen-fuelcell a "H-Air battery".

In addition, the source material for Li is LiCO3 (relatively hard to find and expensive). The source material for H2 is H2O (not so hard to find). recharging of a Li-Air battery is somewhat complicated, recharing of a "H-Air battery" is much simpler. The "battery weight" for even a Li-Air range of 200 km is very significant, for a H-Air battery, it is 5kg.

And those who dislike "big industry Hydrogen", there will surely be small electrolysers for personel H2 production at home, or remote production of H2 wherever cheap electricity is available.


U.C. Irvine in southern California has an H2 refilling station supplied from a biogas plant. The supply becomes a bit "greener" that way.

Honda Clarity has a good idea, the refueling station is in your garage. It takes NG and electrical power, which ever works best. You can refill at night with good range.

The major problem I have is a large 10,000 psi tank in the car. Maybe they can find and adsorbant to bring the pressure down to more like 3000 psi or less.

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