Oil major Total and energy provider Engie have applied for subsidies which, if obtained, would allow them to build the largest green hydrogen facility in France that will use only solar power to produce hydrogen.
Total and Engie have signed a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build, and operate France’s largest renewable hydrogen production site, which will be located in southern France and will meet the needs of Total’s La Mède bio-refinery, the supermajor said on Wednesday.
The companies plan to put the facility into operation in 2024, subject to obtaining subsidies from the French and European Union (EU) authorities, for which they had already applied.
The green hydrogen facility will be powered by solar farms with a combined capacity of more than 100 MW. The 40 MW electrolyzer will produce 5 tons of green hydrogen per day to meet the needs of the biofuel production process La Mède biorefinery, avoiding 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
“This renewable hydrogen production facility, combined with our expertise in solar energy, is a further step in our commitment to get to net zero by 2050,” Philippe Sauquet, President Gas, Renewables & Power at Total, said in a statement.
Total is the latest oil major that is stepping up efforts to develop a green hydrogen economy. Shell is also developing several projects for renewable hydrogen production, including a plan to build the largest European green hydrogen project in the Netherlands by 2040, NortH2.
Last November, BP created a partnership with offshore wind giant Ørsted to develop an industrial-scale electrolyzer project for green hydrogen production in Germany. Italy’s oil and gas major Eni and utility giant Enel announced last month they would work together to develop green hydrogen projects.
At the end of last year, the UK and Scottish authorities announced they would fund the world’s first pilot project for heating homes with green hydrogen. While proponents of green hydrogen cheer this world-first trial, the structure of the project’s funding offers a glimpse into what green hydrogen desperately needs to become a feasible solution to emission reductions—solid government support.