ImagHYne: A hydrogen valley project to unite the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region

ImagHYne Project Hydrogen Valley
ImagHYne: A hydrogen valley project to unite the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region

During a webinar, the region presented a major project that would scale things up. Consequently, a massive production that will cover the needs of the industry.

During the Hyvolution Show, we interviewed Thierry Kovacs, Vice President responsible for the environment and positive ecology and he told us about the project ImagHYne. On the evening of the 12th of February, he moderated an online presentation from the Rhône-Alpes Regional Council. In attendance were Valérie Bouillon-Delporte, Co-Prsident of France Hydrogène and representative of Michelin, which is a “long-standing partner”, as well as a number of players from the region.

A strong presence of key players

For starters, Thierry Kovacs pointed out that the region had been committed to hydrogen since 2017, with the Zero Emission Valley (ZEV) project in particular, which is deploying the first stations*. It is also bringing together 154 companies involved in the hydrogen industry (20 of which are 100% committed to hydrogen), as well as 3 competitive clusters (namely: Axelera, CARA and Tenerrdis) and 40 labs (CEA, CNRS). The region’s assets include dams to produce green electricity and thus renewable hydrogen. Moreover, there is a strong potential demand for hydrogen to replace gas, given the region’s position as France’s leading industrial region.

The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region positioned itself very early on in the ImagHYne project (Investments to Maximise the Ambition for Green HYdrogen iN Europe), which is part of the hydrogen valleys. The project is funded by the European Union, though the Clean Hydrogen Partnership (whose representative, Philippe Binet, took part in the conference). By the year 2029, the objectives are to produce 8,000 tonnes of low-carbon hydrogen per year (half of which will be 100% renewable, with 57 MW of new electrolysis capacity), to store more than 40 tonnes of hydrogen, and to finance more than 250 HGVs (203 road vehicles and 63 off-road vehicles).

Super powers connecting public and private

The project involves over 40 partners, including 34 direct partners and nearly 20 observers from 6 countries: France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal and Germany. The online presentation was also an opportunity to unveil the logo.

imagHYne logo

As pointed out by Valérie Bouillon-Delporte, a Hydrogen Valley connects the links between production, storage and uses. “It boasts superpowers, as it brings together the public and private sectors.” Local players (CNR, HYmpulsion, Michelin) or established in the region (Engie/Storengy, Vinci for Lyon airports) are also taking part in the project, along with Lhyfe and Arkema for electrolysers, GRTGaz for a pipeline in the Chemical Valley, and Hyliko for heavy mobility.

*4 stations are in operation (Chambéry, Moutiers, Lyon St Priest and Clermont-Ferrand), 2 stations are due to open (early 2024 in Lyon Vénissieux and Grenoble-St Egrève) and 6 stations have been ordered (in Lyon St Exupéry, Annecy, Salaise sur Sanne, Valence, Aubenas and Malataverne near Montélimar).

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Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

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Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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