Reducing our global carbon footprint starts locally. That's why ENGIE Solutions has made it its mission to bring clean mobility solutions to Paris Region. We spoke to Julien Chauvet, Hydrogen Director France at ENGIE Solutions to get a better understanding of the importance of hydrogen energy as a clean alternative to fossil fuels as well as their current and future plans to tackle transport-related carbon emissions.
What is ENGIE Solutions’ vision of hydrogen?
Hydrogen was chosen for a long-term reason, given its place in the ecological transition and its capacity to achieve carbon neutrality.
Hydrogen is also of great interest in the short term for greening mobility, like electric mobility and biogas. In fact, regarding mobility, the real fuel of hydrogen is that there is a will of the actors of the territory to green mobility, considering the strong impact of this sector on the environment and the local atmospheric pressure. The consequences of this pollution for air quality can be serious, such as respiratory problems, which pushes actors to act.
Which is why, today, mobility represents 1/3 of the final energy used, and hydrogen is very promising to greenize it especially for heavy mobility. In the future, its use could be extended to planes and boats. Currently, there are projects in Paris Region such as the hydrogen taxis, where hydrogen complements battery-powered electric vehicles and natural gas.
Green hydrogen is therefore crucial as it is an essential part of the energy mix: to store energy and release it when renewable energies are not producing, to develop more sustainable mobility and to decarbonise industrial uses. In the hydrogen value chain, ENGIE is present from renewable energy production to end use.
What are ENGIE Solutions’ key projects in Paris Region?
In France, ENGIE Solutions already operates 20 of the 40 existing hydrogen stations and we plan to build about thirty in the next three years. So, all this feeds the deployment of the hydrogen distribution network, which is a key subject that we can back up with the gas stations and manage to create this network. Especially in Paris Region where the traffic is dense, it is an important subject.
In Paris Region more specifically, ENGIE Solutions has already been using a 50 hydrogen vehicle since 2018, which refuels at Rungis. This station notably supplies the fleet of 50 hydrogen-powered Renault Kangoo Z.E. utility vehicles.
Our ambition is to build 8 other multi-energy stations in the region in the first and second suburbs, for a multi-fuel offer. In connection with goods and passenger transporters who already use natural gas vehicles and with the last mile segment.
We are also very interested in sustainable aviation. In fact, we have responded to the call for expression of interests of Groupe ADP, Air France-KLM Group, Airbus, Paris Region, and Choose Paris Region to prepare airports for the hydrogen revolution and transform them into hydrogen hubs, like we have already previously done in Toulouse with the Hyport project. Our scope of mission at airports consists of hydrogen for passenger transport, runway equipment, and we can also load hydrogen onto the aircraft. We are in fact currently working with ArianeGroup, a hydrogen liquefaction group, to transport the fuel on board the aircraft.
Does France have an important card to play in the hydrogen sector on the international scene?
France has a great card to play, there are great projects, there are major industrial players, energy, vehicle construction, SMEs, startups, research laboratories which are extremely active. Also, there is a willingness on the part of the state to support these projects. Finally, France is also a crossroads for Europe, both in terms of mobility and energy transport.
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