Thermal power plant in Saint-Avold prepares its conversion from coal to hydrogen

Saint-Avold coal plant prepares conversion to hydrogen
Saint-Avold coal plant prepares conversion to hydrogen

The tallest tower, of 120 m, at the Emile Huchet power station in Saint-Avold (Moselle, France), was blasted out on the morning of 8 February. A symbolic step in the conversion of the site from coal to hydrogen, with local production to be connected to the cross-border gas pipeline between France, Germany and Luxembourg.

In a matter of seconds, 10,000 tonnes of concrete were blown up by dynamite. Over 200 pyrotechnicians were brought in to carry out this highly symbolic blasting operation. Located in Saint-Avold, Moselle, the Emile Huchet power station is one of only two coal-fired plants still in operation in France, along with Cordemais (Loire-Atlantique).

“This destruction is in fact a renaissance, since we are destroying the cooling tower so that we can build a major hydrogen production project instead, which will be the future of the site,” Jean-Michel Mazalèrat, Chairman of GazelEnergie, told AFP.

The operator intends to turn it into an “eco-platform”. Through the “Emil’hy” project (for Emile Huchet and hydrogen), the plant will produce low-carbon, renewable hydrogen by 2027, using water electrolysis.

56,000 tonnes of hydrogen yearly

Camille Jaffrelo, a spokesperson for GazelEnergie told AFP that engineering studies are currently being finalised, and public consultation is due to begin at the end of February 2024. By the year 2030, the project will have a total capacity of 400 MW and will produce 56,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year.

The initial phase will be to supply the German steelmaker Saarstahl Holding Saar (SHS) as a priority. The investment is of around 780 million euros.

Hydrogen will be able to pass through the infrastructure deployed as part of the MosaHYc project.

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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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