Green hydrogen production: Lhyfe and the industry enter a new era!


Based in Nantes (Atlantic France), Lhyfe is a pioneer in the production of green hydrogen from renewable energy sources. In 2023, the company is experiencing accelerated growth and embodies the progression that the hydrogen industry is currently experiencing. Ghislain Robert, the company’s sales director for France, takes a look back at the company’s recent successes and its current trajectory.

Expédition du premier conteneur d’hydrogène vert.

Lhyfe has started producing green hydrogen in Vendée. How far has this first site got?

Since September 2021, we have been producing green, renewable hydrogen in Vendée, at our Bouin site. At the time, it was the first plant of its kind in France. The site is equipped with a 1 MW electrolyser that can produce up to 300 kg of green hydrogen per day. But we had initially designed the plant to produce more, so in 2024 we will increase its capacity to 2.5 MW. To do this we have to stop production for a few days, so we are waiting until the new facilities are up and running so there’s no disruption to supply.

You recently announced that two new production sites are to be opened. Where will they be located and what will their production capacity be?

At the start of December, we inaugurated a new production site, Lhyfe Occitanie, near Toulouse, because we won a call for projects from the Occitanie region to build a site with a capacity of 5 MW, which will enable us to produce two tonnes of hydrogen per day. A few days later, we inaugurated another site with the same capacity in Brittany, at Buléon (Morbihan).

Lhyfe will therefore be able to produce several tonnes of hydrogen per day. What does this represent in practical terms?

To put this into perspective, a light vehicle such as a Hype taxi uses about 1 kg of hydrogen to travel 100 km. A daily production of 2 tonnes therefore corresponds to a range of 200,000 km, which means that a taxi could travel around the world five times with the hydrogen produced in a single day at one of our plants in Occitanie and Brittany.

This is a big step forward for your company. How do you feel about it?

While Lhyfe had a production capacity of 1 MW in 2023, we are set to reach 11 MW at the start of 2024: that’s a really significant increase! We’re delighted to be able to set up production sites in different regions of France, responding to local needs, in the areas concerned, with the support of the local communities. And the stakes are twofold: hydrogen will not only help decarbonise the economy, it will also contribute to reindustrialisation through the creation of production sites, with all the economic repercussions that this entails.

What about your international development?

We are also present in Germany, (with three production sites under construction -21 MW in total), and in Sweden. We are also working on major projects in the UK (England and Scotland) and Spain, where we recently received a €14 million grant to develop a site with an installed capacity of 15 MW. We also launched the world’s first offshore hydrogen production pilot in 2023 at the Centrale Nantes SEM-REV offshore test site off Le Croisic (Atlantic France) to demonstrate the feasibility of producing hydrogen at sea. This enabled us to win a contract in Belgium with the Port of Ostend to build a 10MW offshore production facility.

What is your medium-term business outlook? Will growth continue to be exponential?

In just two years, Lhyfe has grown from a startup to a recognised industrial company with seven production sites. This is no mean feat. Our growth will continue to be very, very strong, partly because there are huge industrial needs and partly because we expect the freight transport sector to gradually move towards green energy. What’s more, we have just been selected by the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire in a call for expressions of interest to create a hydrogen ecosystem in the port area. The aim is to create a production site with an installed capacity of 210 MW, which will be operational by 2028.

Can we say that Lhyfe is on its way to becoming a ‘green unicorn’?

That is indeed the objective, but our goal is not to become a unicorn by being valued at one billion euros: we want to reach one billion tonnes of green hydrogen replacing CO2 thanks to our technologies! That’s our daily motivation.

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