HDF Energy (Hydrogène de France) is delighted to announce the start of construction work on the world’s first mass production plant for high-power hydrogen fuel cells.
Representing a major technological and industrial breakthrough, the plant, which has been pre-notified as an IPCEI, will supply the French domestic and international markets in heavy marine and rail mobility and electricity generation for energy grids. Located on the site of the former Ford factory in Blanquefort near Bordeaux, the new plant will contribute to the reindustrialisation of France and Europe, the creation of local jobs and the exportation of French technology.
The foundation stone ceremony for the high-power fuel cell plant took place on Friday, 24 February 2023 in Blanquefort near Bordeaux (France) in the presence of Damien Havard, CEO and founder of HDF Energy, Hanane El Hamraoui, VP Industry, and local public authorities.
HDF Energy is building its 7,000 m² plant on a four-hectare plot of land located on the site of the former Ford factory. Delivery of the building is scheduled for late 2023, after which the Company’s headquarters will be transferred to Blanquefort.
When production begins in 2024, HDF initially plans to manufacture 1.5 MW fuel cells before gradually ramping their unit capacity up to 10 MW. Blanquefort will be the world’s first mass production plant for high-power hydrogen fuel cells. 80% of production volume will be exported.
In 2024, production capacity will reach 100 MW of fuel cells per year, representing over 100 direct jobs. HDF plans to establish 70% of its supply chain at regional, national and European level. As such, the HDF Energy plant will contribute to the industrial renewal of this regional landmark by installing cutting-edge technology.
The high-power fuel cells manufactured here will serve the markets in heavy marine and rail mobility and electricity generation for energy grids. The Company has already signed a number of strategic partnerships for projects involving hydrogen-powered freight locomotives and large vessel propulsion and auxiliary power systems.
To coincide with this occasion, HDF Energy also signed a memorandum of understanding with Teréga Solutions and Hype to cooperate on the development of hydrogen mobility in the Bordeaux region. Under the agreement, the parties will review the possibility of launching a joint venture tasked with deploying green hydrogen distribution stations in order to accelerate and scale up the use of heavy and light hydrogen mobility in the region.
In October 2022, after two years of cooperation with government departments, the French government selected the HDF Energy project as an IPCEI and pre-notified the application to the European Commission. The Company is awaiting the Commission’s approval due this summer in order to step up its industrial project and transform the plant into a gigafactory, thereby generating over 500 jobs in this regional industrial area.
Moreover, HDF Energy has received since 2018 significant financial support from the Regional Council of Aquitaine which allowed the Company to start its industrial activity.
For its construction and operation, the plant is subject to BREEAM certification, an international standard for assessing the environmental impact of a building in order to promote greener architecture. The following criteria will be monitored during plant operation: energy management, water management, waste recovery, access to sustainable transport and occupants’ health and well-being.
Moreover, the fuel cell is a clean technology whose sole emission is steam. Fuel cells have a 20-year lifespan and the Company has already provided for their future recycling.