Air Liquide, Total plan blue hydrogen capacity for France

Author: Andrea Battaglia

2021/09/15

LONDON (ICIS)--France’s TotalEnergies and Air Liquide are planning to decarbonise 255 tonne/day of hydrogen production at TotalEnergies’ Normandy platform with the aim of developing the world’s first blue hydrogen network, the groups announced on Tuesday.

However, the plant could still produce grey hydrogen up to 2030.

Under a long-term contract agreement, Air Liquide will take over and operate TotalEnergies’ hydrogen production unit and connect it to its hydrogen network in the Normandy region, northwest France.

The partnership will also see the launch of development studies for the implementation of a large-scale CO2 capture and storage solution (CCS), which aims at fostering the companies’ net zero target by 2050.

According to the joint announcement, Air Liquide would install its CryocapTM process to capture CO2, while TotalEnergies will handle the transportation and storage of the captured CO2, notably through its CCS projects Northern Lights and Aramis that are currently being developed in the North Sea.

In the long term, this is expected to reduce the carbon emissions from the unit’s hydrogen production by 650,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, the groups said.

This indicates that the Normandy platform production will be grey hydrogen until such CCS is installed. Both Total and Air Liquide were contacted for comment but did not reply at the time of publication.

The project will also pave the way for a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem in the Axe Seine/Normandy and should help capture up to 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030 in the Normandy industrial basin, a target previously set by TotalEnergies and AirLiquide in a memorandum of understanding signed in July.

FRENCH HYDROGEN

The French hydrogen strategy, released in September 2020, puts France at the top of European nations with regards to hydrogen ambitions.

Its national policy plan outlined 6.5GW of installed electrolysis production capacity by 2030, the highest pledge of EU nations to date. Further, this hydrogen was marked as “zero carbon” suggesting the power for the electrolysers came from either renewables or nuclear.

The plan, however, does not provide an extension for blue hydrogen.

Further, in the country’s recently approved plan for the European Commission’s recovery and resilience facility, France is expect to use around €2bn of funding for hydrogen. Specifically, the country focused primarily on green hydrogen for its recovery spending.

Additional reporting by Jake Stones