French president Emmanuel Macron announced today (Tuesday) that the French government will plough €1.9bn ($2.15bn) into the country’s hydrogen sector as part of his €30bn“France 2030” industrial investment plan.
The head of state had vowed in October to make the country a hydrogen powerhouse by 2030, largely through using baseload nuclear energy to produce so-called “pink” H2.
Macron gave no details as to how the new hydrogen funding would be spent, but gushed eloquently about the potential of the molecule while visiting the solid-oxide electrolyser maker Genvia in southern France.
Hydrogen would “reconcile the industrial adventure [and economic] growth with the decarbonisation of our economy”, he said, and that the sector's development was “a battle for industry, for ecology and for sovereignty”.
France’s “solid” nuclear capacity gives it an advantage over other major economies because it allows the country to “produce hydrogen much more massively”, Macron stated.
“If we know how to be leaders in the production of hydrogen, then we will build energy sovereignty,” he added, alluding to an end to reliance on the import of fossil fuels.
“There is never inevitability. One never responds to the difficulties of time by being nostalgic for a past that is no more, but by redoubling the capacity to resist and not to give in, to think about the future in its new dynamics. This is exactly what France must do today.” he said.
Producing hydrogen from nuclear power has two advantages over green H2: electrolysers can be run around the clock at maximum capacity (unlike production from variable wind and solar), while heat from the atomic reactors can also be utilised to increase the efficiency of hydrogen production through the use of solid-oxide electrolysers.