French oil major Total and utility Engie have inked an agreement to design, build, and operate France’s largest renewable hydrogen production site near Total's La Mede biorefinery.
The Masshylia project at Martigues, west of Marseilles will include 100MW solar, 40MW electrolyzer 5mt/day green hydrogen from 2024 subject to necessary financial support and public authorizations.
"We believe in the future of renewable hydrogen, and we are working with our partner Engie to make it happen," said Philippe Sauquet, Total's head of gas, renewables and power.
The green hydrogen produced at the facility will be used to meet the needs of the biofuel production process at Total's nearby biorefinery, avoiding 15,000 mt of CO2/yr, the companies said in a joint statement.
The construction of the project is expected to start next year following the completion of advanced engineering study and the production could begin by 2024 provided the companies secure the required subsidies and funding.
The project has already applied for subsidies from the French (AMI) and European authorities (IPCEI, Innovation Fund).
“The Masshylia project paves the way for a multi-usage renewable hydrogen hub in the near future, strongly rooted in the region and with an international outreach,” said Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Engie's deputy CEO and head of renewables.
The companies will also implement solutions for the production and storage of hydrogen to manage the intermittent production of solar and biorefinery’s need for continuous hydrogen supply. These solutions include digital piloting system, optimizing the integration of several solar farms supplying the electrolyzer to minimize energy losses and limit grid congestion and hydrogen storage.
France plans to spend EUR 7 billion ($8.4 billion) towards decarbonized hydrogen economy with a 2030 target of 6.5 GW electrolyzer capacity, as per the National Strategy presented by the government last September.