The hydrogen industry in France, still in its infancy, has a bright future in the coming years. The boosting plan announced by the French government foresees 7.2 billion euros of investment in this energy between now and 2030, including 2 billion in 2021 and 2022.
The objective? To provide the national territory with a network of filling stations with sufficient hydrogen supplies to enable the use of hydrogen vehicles. This would involve the creation of refuelling stations associated with production and storage units to cover the hydrogen needs of road (cars, buses, coaches, trucks), maritime and rail transport.
The French hydrogen industry still faces many challenges to make the use of hydrogen fuel in heavy mobility profitable: more competitive prices, validation of fuel cell technologies for heavy-duty vehicles still at the prototype stage in several specialised manufacturers, etc.
With no pollutant or carbon dioxide emissions, hydrogen vehicles fit perfectly into the current ecological transition. They are thus exempt from the traffic restrictions that have been tightened over the years in France, as part of the energy renewal of fleets in circulation.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles offer the same performance as their combustion counterparts, but are much quieter than their combustion counterparts. They therefore ensure quiet driving in urban areas.
As an indication, the average fuel consumption of a hydrogen engine in a light vehicle allows it to travel about 100 kilometres on 1 kilo of hydrogen with a range of between 600 and 800 kilometres, which would put it on a par with diesel-powered models.
In France, there are currently 29 hydrogen filling stations open to the public.