Areva, CETH2 form fuel-cell JV

French power technology group Areva and compatriot CETH2 have forged a joint venture to manufacture proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers for use in industrial-scale hydrogen fuel cells.

The Areva H2-Gen JV, which is backed by the French Environment & Energy Management Agency (ADEME), is targeting the renewable energy storage system (ESS) market, to supply service stations with hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles or back-up ESS for natural gas and electricity networks.

"PEM electrolysis is a solution which is relevant because the market for the storage of hydrogen-based energy is growing at such a fast rate," states Areva chief executive Luc Oursel.

“Particularly well-suited to the mass production of hydrogen, this solution offers considerable competitive advantages compared to traditional technologies. In particular, it meets the expectations of customers striving to optimize the use of local renewable sources of energy.”

ADEME president Bruno Lechevin adds: “This initiative will help to speed up the emergence of hydrogen as a storage solution. In particular, these solutions will help to better promote the production and development of renewable energies in France and throughout the rest of the world."

Areva H2-Gwn, which will owned equally by the three project partners, will be based in France, where it will have a dedicated engineering and production site.