ENGIE and Total Join Hands to Build France’s Biggest Green Hydrogen Plant

‘Masshylia’ will be powered by a 100MW solar plant; to produce 5 tonnes of green hydrogen daily

Energy giants ENGIE and Total have agreed to develop and run a 40MW electrolyser in South France to produce green hydrogen. Dubbed ‘Masshylia’, the project will be France’s largest hydrogen production plant producing 5 tonnes of green hydrogen every day. The plant will be located in Total’s La Mède biorefinery in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and powered by a 100MW solar farm. Masshylia will enable the La Mède biorefinery to cut down on 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Masshylia is poised to be at the heart of several pioneering technologies. Solar electricity production will be digitally monitored in real-time, enabling Masshylia to stabilise electricity supply efficiently. In addition to this, several solar farms will be integrated to supply the electrolyser with continuous power, thereby limiting grid congestion and energy losses. A DC link will also be set up between the solar farm and the electrolyser. Hydrogen storage will enable the solar plant to produce uninterrupted electricity, which will in turn ensure uninterrupted hydrogen consumption. Lastly, 3D digital models will be used for each component of the installation, bolstering Masshylia’s industrial safety standards. This unique design makes Masshylia a symbiotic part of the La Mède biorefinery.

The project’s unique approach of cutting carbon emissions by producing commercial renewable hydrogen while being closely connected to the local ecosystem has evoked considerable interest. Gwenaëlle Avice-Huet, ENGIE’s EVP in charge of Renewable Energies, said: “The partnership between ENGIE and Total, by its scale and its very ambitious integrated approach, embodies ENGIE’s renewable hydrogen development strategy to reduce our clients CO2 footprint. It also paves the way for a multi-usage renewable hydrogen hub in the near future, strongly rooted in the region and with an international outreach.”

An advanced engineering study for the project has commenced, and the project partners have applied for subsidy support from the French and European authorities. Once the financial support and clearances have been secured, Masshylia will begin construction by 2022 with an aim to be operational by 2024.