Mon.
Oct 18
2021
hydrogen station

McPhy, the manufacture of hydrogen-focused equipment, announced today it will start operations in March 2022 at a new plant to increase hydrogen station production.

The facility in Grenoble, France will combine separate manufacturing teams into one site for greater efficiency. It will also allow hydrogen station production to increase to 150 units per year from 20 currently, according to a company release.

The new facility will be an “important milestone in McPhy’s history and in our transition to industrial scale,” CEO Laurent Carme said in the statement.

The European Union has tabbed clean-burning hydrogen as a green source of energy storage and fuel, in a push to reduce carbon emissions. Target areas for hydrogen use mainly concern hard-to-electrify sectors such as heavy-duty transport, maritime or air transport, and steel manufacture among other industries.

McPhy aims to mass-produce a new range of stations for refueling all types of vehicles: light vehicles, buses, trucks or trains. The Grenoble location puts manufacturing in a pioneering region for hydrogen development.

McPhy announced last month that it would build a new “gigafactory” for alkaline electrolysers in Belfort, France. Electrolysers are used to produce hydrogen.

McPhy has submitted an application for EU funding for the Belfort project as part of the bloc’s effort to scale up hydrogen R&D and industrialization of, in particular, the “electrolysis” technology brick. This is planned to accelerate the development of the sector and the competitiveness of low-carbon hydrogen, it said.

McPhy aims to take a final investment decision on the Belfort electrolyser plant by the end of 2021, contingent on preliminary studies, authorizations and financing. It aims to start electrolyser production from that gigafactory in the first half of 2024, with a gradual ramp up to 1 gigawatt (GW) a year of output. That would come in addition to 300 megawatts (MW) of capacity at McPhy’s San Miniato site in Italy.

With the new sites, McPhy appears intent on taking part in expected growth in the green hydrogen sector.

Growth expectation certainly contributed to an across the board boom in hydrogen-linked share prices through the end of last year. And by all indications, the hydrogen market will continue to grow. That said, shares of manufactures in general have slumped from recent highs and remain volatile. It remains difficult to gauge the pace of growth, the ultimate size of the new market or the ability of any specific company to capture it.

By Stephen Bierman

Stephen Bierman is an energy markets journalist and the editor of New Economy Observer.

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