EDF is investing in hydrogen to decarbonise the economy.
Convinced of the growth potential of the low-carbon hydrogen market and its importance in the energy transition, the EDF Group is accelerating its development in this field, with the aim of becoming a major European player in the sector, mainly in the industry and mobility segments.
For EDF, electrolytic hydrogen will help to decarbonise both the economy and regions
Hydrogen produced through electrolysis can contribute to the decarbonisation of the two sectors of the economy that emit the most CO2, namely industry and mobility.
Hydrogen is both an energy form and a fuel, and is also a raw material for several industries, such as agri-food, glass, metallurgy, etc.
Today, about 95% of hydrogen is manufactured from fossil fuels. The process is therefore very high in CO2 emissions: to produce 1 kg of hydrogen, 10 kg of CO2 is emitted. However, there is a way to produce hydrogen with no CO2 emissions, namely electrolysis, provided that the electricity used in the process is itself decarbonised! This is the case for 95% of the electricity produced in France by EDF.
By replacing hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with electrolytic hydrogen, France’s total CO2 emissions would be reduced by 1%!
Tomorrow, hydrogen could contribute to the decarbonisation of:
- Transport (which represents 20% of current CO2 emissions) and in particular heavy transport (diesel trains, buses, inland waterway transport, refuse collection vehicles, etc.);
- Industry, by making new processes possible (for example, the replacement of blast furnaces by direct reduction furnaces).
Hydrogen offers considerable energy benefits
In 2015, COP 21 triggered a series of reforms to limit global warming to 2° by 2100. Among these measures, low-carbon hydrogen is a major tool to achieve this objective.
As a follow-up to COP 21, France launched an ambitious "Hydrogen Plan" in June 2018, in view of the considerable energy advantages provided by the lightest of all the chemical elements:
The long history of EDF and hydrogen…
The EDF Group’s interest in hydrogen is not new. Through its R&D Division, EDF has developed expertise in the field over many years, both for production and use, particularly within Eifer, a laboratory shared between EDF and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, based in Germany. This expertise materialized in 2019 with the publication by EDF's R & D of the White Paper on Low Carbon Hydrogen published by Lavoisier.
In 2018, EDF consolidated its interest in the emerging low-carbon hydrogen market by acquiring a 21.7% stake in McPhy, a manufacturer and marketer of electrolysers and a player committed to low-carbon hydrogen since its creation in 2008. By also signing an industrial, commercial and research partnership, the two companies aim to create a synergy between McPhy’s technological expertise and EDF’s knowledge of electrical systems and low-carbon electricity production.
Hynamics by EDF, a new step towards low-carbon hydrogen
On April 2nd 2019, the EDF Group strengthened its commitment to the energy transition by creating Hynamics, a subsidiary developed by EDF Pulse Croissance, the Group’s start-up incubator. With Hynamics, EDF’s ambition is to become a key player in the hydrogen sector in France and around the world. Its aim is to produce and market hydrogen with zero CO₂ emissions to mainly serve two markets:
- industrial clients, for whom hydrogen is a necessity (refinery, glassware, agri-food, chemistry etc.);
- mobility providers, both public and professional, by helping to link up different areas with service stations to provide hydrogen to recharge fleets of commercial vehicles, like trains, buses, utility vehicles and means of waterway transport.
Working with industry and different regions by supporting their decarbonation projects is a challenge that Hynamics plans to embrace with a solution for producing hydrogen without CO₂ emissions with multiple uses and in an economically efficient way. We are focusing in particular on industry and mass mobility, two sections of the economy that produce a lot of CO₂, with a view to nurturing partnerships "