The French government recently launched a €7bn national hydrogen strategy, which aims to build up capacity for hydrogen from non-fossil sources by 2030.
Michelin has championed this announcement, and as such has accelerated its hydrogen development projects.
The tyre maker says its work in the hydrogen field will mean a “significant share” of its business will be non-tyre related by 2030.
Michelin is already involved in hydrogen mobility through Symbio, its subsidiary co-owned with Faurecia. Fabio Ferrari, co-founder of Symbio, is tasked with leading the development of Michelin’s hydrogen mobility strategy and supporting its deployment.
With regard to large-scale regional hydrogen hub projects, Michelin says it intends to accelerate its development with industry stakeholders. The group is a pioneer with Zero Emission Valley, the first European initiative to deploy hydrogen mobility on a regional scale (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes).
This project provides for the installation of 20 stations powered by green hydrogen and the deployment of 1,200 hydrogen vehicles for business use by 2023. For this project, Michelin become a shareholder of Hympulsion, the company in charge of installing and operating the 20 stations, alongside Engie, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the Caisse des Dépôts, and Crédit Agricole.
Michelin is also taking a number of other actions to facilitate the deployment of hydrogen mobility, including motor racing, which the group says is an essential laboratory for innovation and technological showcase.
In June this year, Michelin and Symbio became partners of the Mission H24 project which aims to apply hydrogen technology to endurance vehicles competing in the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Florent Menegaux, Michelin CEO commented: “The announcement of this plan is a major step in the development of a French hydrogen industry of excellence.
“Michelin is convinced that hydrogen mobility will be one of the essential components of clean mobility, complementary to electric batteries. However, hydrogen reaches far beyond mobility: it is a very interesting solution for combating CO2 emissions and air pollution.”
He added: “Through its flexibility of production and use, hydrogen is becoming essential to the energy transition. In particular, steel production, chemicals, district heating, and of course transport can now be carbon-free thanks to this element. It is also, by far, one of the few technologies promoting industrial and energy sovereignty for Europe.
“For all these reasons, hydrogen is a strategic growth area for Michelin. A significant share of the group’s business will effectively be non-tyre related in ten years’ time.”