The hydrogen sector in Hauts-de-France

With a great deal of infrastructure and networks already in place, and a political will to make the region a hydrogen pioneer, the Hauts-de-France region is well-suited to mass production of hydrogen in the years to come. An opportunity for companies in the sector that wish to expand.

The hydrogen sector in Hauts-de-France

With a great deal of infrastructure and networks already in place, and a political will to make the region a hydrogen pioneer, the Hauts-de-France region is well-suited to mass production of hydrogen in the years to come. An opportunity for companies in the sector that wish to expand.


The French hydrogen development strategy

France has embarked on a vast plan to become a leading player in the field of green hydrogen, with three main goals in sight by 2030:

  1. Achieving mass production of hydrogen by electrolysis
  2. Promoting heavy-duty mobility powered by low-carbon hydrogen
  3. Developing a fully-integrated, competitive sector 

To make this ambition a reality, France is dedicating a €7 billion financing plan to accommodate all the companies involved in the Green Hydrogen sector.

France's objectives, by the numbers

  • 10% green H2 to replace grey H2 in 2023
  • 40% in 2040
  • 7 billion invested by 2030
  • of which €2 billion by 2022

Operational objectives to 2030

  • 6.5 GW of electrolysis to decarbonize the economy
  • 6 MtCO2 avoided by the development of clean mobility

The Hauts-de-France region: The place to be for hydrogen companies

A strong ambition for green H2 in an industrial setting

The Hauts-de-France Region is a major energy and industrial platform for Europe. It has some of the most efficient industrial sites in Europe, but also some of the highest emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • The Hauts-de-France region is the leading French region in CO2 emissions
  • It represents 25% of industrial emissions (excluding energy) in France
  • Industry, mobility and logistics account for 2/3 of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result, the decarbonization of its industry is a key issue for the Region. Green hydrogen will play a major role in this conversion to the low-carbon economy.

Political engagement to build a whole hydrogen industry

Since 2013, the Hauts-de-France Region has been moving towards its 3rd industrial revolution through a major future project called REV 3. Government agencies have built this plan to take into account companies, academia, researchers, and residents in order to build a low-carbon economy based on decentralized energy production and managed by intelligent networks.

This political and economic will confirms the role of hydrogen in the local energy transition.

One objective, four tools to achieve it

The objective:

Developing a complete, 100% renewable hydrogen supply chain in Hauts-de-France:

  • Production
  • Storage
  • Distribution
  • Valorisation

Four tools:

  1. Structuring the sector, facilitating it, and financial engineering
  2. Supporting projects for the production of decarbonized hydrogen
    and the recovery of unused hydrogen
  3. Leading the way in injecting hydrogen into the grid
  4. Developing the use of decarbonized hydrogen

You have a development project related to Hydrogen? We can help you !

Strengths that will make Hauts-de-France a major producer of green hydrogen

hydrogen networks in Hauts-de-France

A strategic location central to European projects

All of Europe is structuring itself to develop a hydrogen industry.

The Hauts-de-France region has several advantages:

  • Close proximity to major European projects
  • Existing hydrogen networks: 240 km connected to Northern Europe
  • Total annual transit capacity estimated at 250 million Nm3.

Additionally, Hauts-de-France is an entry point for mass-imported gas and an interconnection point for incoming and outgoing electricity flows in Europe: Two arguments that strengthen the Region’s position as a major player for the injection of hydrogen into gas networks and therefore for power-to-gas projects.

Powerful energy networks and infrastructure

The availability of decarbonized electricity is very high in Hauts-de-France:

  • 2019 production: 5 TWh of electrical energy
  • 2019 consumption: 5 TWh of electrical energy
  • High share of renewables: wind – solar – bioenergy

High production of natural renewable energy

  • #1 region in France for wind power,
  • Major development of renewables: 4900 MW of electricity and 350 MW of biomethane installed
  • 600 MW offshore wind farm off Dunkirk planned for 2026

Dunkirk, the leading industrial-energy platform in Europe

  • A 900 MW decarbonized nuclear power plant,
  • 5 GW of competitive decarbonized energy
  • 8700 km of electrical transmission networks connected to Europe,
  • 4200 km of natural gas transmission networks,

With a great deal of infrastructure and networks already in place, and a political commitment to make the region a hydrogen pioneer, the Hauts-de-France region is well-suited to mass production of hydrogen in the years to come.

biomethan in Hauts-de-France

Immediate commercial opportunities

The region can count on an advanced industrial ecosystem that makes it capable of hosting major players in the field.

Historically a leading industrial region, Hauts-de-France has the most diversified industry in France.

Industries using hydrogen in Hauts-de-France

  • Glass
  • Chemistry
  • Mechanical and metallurgy industry
  • Railways
  • Logistics
  • Freight
  • Aeronautics
  • Automotive
  • Agriculture and biogas
  • Food processing

Located at the Northern European interconnection for the flow of goods and people, the region is the national leader in mass distribution. Several very important logistics platforms are located there. The very dense transport networks with seaports, waterways, motorways, and railways allow for the distribution of goods to major consumer markets. Hydrogen as a fuel for logistics and freight transport will therefore increase its decarbonized role in this market segment.

An ecosystem of potential partners and qualified subcontractors

Turnkey sites for your facility in Hauts-de-France

The region has many turnkey sites. They benefit from direct access to road networks, are located in the heart of talent pools, and offer very attractive costs.

Hauts-de-France also has large land reserves at very attractive prices. Feel free to visit our real estate and land costs comparison tool to find out the average cost of renting buildings and buying land.

Examples of greenfields and brownfields available immediately

Innovation and training that drive the development of the hydrogen industry

UCCS: The Catalysis and Solid State Chemistry Unit

14 research teams and 90 researchers

Expertise: Hydrogen from renewable sources, biogas, biomass, high-voltage electrolysis; storage in hydrides, amides, imides, fuel cells

LRCS : The Reactivity and Solid State Chemistry Laboratory

30 experienced scientists and 40 young researchers

Expertise: Solid and reversible storage of hydrogen by formation of hydrides (metallic, intermetallic, complex)

Synergies between academic and industrial training

Hauts-de-France is a populous, young region, with 6 million people, a third of whom are under 25 years old. The region trains 9% of all French students and 10% of all French engineers. The 29 engineering schools in the region train 15,800 students.

To supplement this academic education and offer companies the operational skills they need, the AFPI (Professional Training Association for Industry) training centers provide more than 300 training courses in industrial trades to nearly 12,500 students, for both initial and continuing education.

A unifying cluster for the Energy sector: Pôlénergie

PÔLENERGIE brings together about a hundred members along the entire energy value chain (production, transport, distribution, operators, heavy users, equipment manufacturers), as well as local governments, non-profits, and academia.
Its role is both to help facilitate the energy sector in Hauts-de-France and to be a catalyst for networking between its members. Pôlénergie promotes its members’ solutions and equipment, offers its members technical or economic partnerships, and identifies gaps in the sector while also proposing solutions.

A pioneering region for hydrogen in France

4 experiments and pilot projects in the hydrogen mobility sector.

bioeconomy ambitions in Hauts-de-France

Dunkirk - 1st power-to-gas demonstrator in France

GRHYD demonstrator: Engie – Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque – GDF Suez

  • Green hydrogen injected into the natural gas network
  • Hythane® – production of innovative fuel (20% H2 – 80% natural gas) for city buses

Houdain - France's first low-carbon hydrogen bus line

Syndicat Mixte de Transports Artois Gohelle

  • Line of six hydrogen buses running 13 km (70,000 km/bus/year)
  • Green hydrogen production and refueling station
  • Made in France: SAFRAN bus – Engie H2 station – McPhy

H2V Green hydrogen mass production unit using water electrolysis

Dunkirk: One of the two largest French projects for a hydrogen production plant using electrolysis

  • Industrial production of green hydrogen by electrolyzer in the Port of Dunkirk in 2022 from renewable electricity
  • 28,000 tons of hydrogen per year

Vendin Le Vieil - First logistics base for H2 forklifts in Europe

Carrefour – Air Liquide

  • Hydrogen refill station for STILL forklift trucks
  • Logistics operated by 137 hydrogen trucks