Interview: Etienne Vogt, General Manager, Utilities Services, Engie
Categorie(s) : Education, Innovation & Society, Interviews, MINATEC
Published : 3 December 2018
Etienne Vogt, General Manager, Utilities Services, Engie: “Our renewable hydrogen costs less than hydrogen produced using fossil fuels.”
You have been supplying hydrogen produced via water electrolysis to the CEA and the hydrogen filling station at GEG since October. What is the story behind the innovation?
It all started with the HyWay hydrogen-powered mobility demonstrator project, which needed a partner to produce renewable hydrogen. Engie was already supplying the CEA with hydrogen at the time, and demand from the cleanrooms was growing. So, we built our first local renewable hydrogen production unit in France. The unit produces hydrogen using water electrolysis and supplies industrial users and vehicles.
Is the innovation in the concept or in the equipment itself?
The innovation is in the concept. All hydrogen is produced on-site for combined use, and hydrogen is only produced using fossil fuels for the backup supply. The equipment we use (alkaline electrolyzers, a 200-bar compression unit, a gas purifier) is proven. Above all, our goal is to provide a continuous supply. We are currently producing around 70,000 cu. m per year.
What have you learned from the experience?
From a technical standpoint, the construction process went very well. However, we did fall a year behind schedule bringing the unit up to code in terms of safety. Safety regulations are still a significant obstacle to the development of hydrogen energy.
At this point, the unit has reached cruising speed and my team has operation under control. We are pleased to be producing hydrogen─and renewable hydrogen at that─locally and at a price that is lower than the hydrogen produced using fossil fuels delivered in tanks.